Three days in purgatory

Well maybe not purgatory but three days of disappointment.

What on earth am I talking about? iOS 6, dear readers and how it’s the most disappointing piece of software I’ve used in ages. Before I get lambasted by the Apple faithful I’d like to state for the record that I’m still not comfortable with Android and I don’t see myself using an Android phone despite being tempted by the HTC One X. For me iOS 6 is the Cindy Crawford of mobile operating systems: really hot back in the day, still pretty hot right now but not exactly in its heyday. I’ve been using iOS 6 on my iPad for the past three days and it’s extremely mediocre.

Cindy Crawford in 2012. Still kinda hot but not as svelte as she used to be

The most apparent change is the removal of Google Maps for Apple’s own maps application that uses Tom Tom and various other providers. Google have been doing maps for years and have tons of street data that no one else can compare with. I understand the Apple disdain for Google but the simple fact that Apple maps couldn’t get me home (my address isn’t in the system) it’s totally useless. This might be a uniquely South African problem but it’s still a problem.

The next issue I have is the notification bar. It’s especially arb on the iPad how the notification bar takes up about a third of the screen when sideways. It’s an odd size and would make more sense if it took up the entire screen size. In addition it’s damn painful not having live information that Android and Windows Phone provide. It’s also a pain to clear the notifications as opposed to a simple “clear all” button. Getting information quickly off your device is what it’s built for, this is becoming a major problem with iOS.

The camera application still offers no major functionality besides for a grid view and HDR (iPhone only) when it should offer much more and can we all agree that Siri is a major gimmick currently? I could slate the OS further but I think you get the idea.

That said I do like the new App Store layout, the clock app is beautiful, the mail layout vastly improved and the addition of Facebook integration will be welcomed by many.

The original iPhone was released exactly five years and one day ago but the layout of iOS hasn’t fundamentally changed one bit. It’s quite dull now and frankly very staid. Pretty but also pretty dull. For Apple to describe iOS 6 as a major software release seems to be the biggest flaw. If what’s going to become iOS6 was released as, for example, iOS 5.5 then I’d be more than happy with the incremental update. Apple is about to be left behind unless they up their game and come up with something revolutionary rather than evolutionary.

One thought on “Three days in purgatory

  1. I agree with everything you’ve said except that layout is dated. From a design perspective, there can be no worse reason for changing an interface which works so well used known by non-techies (Our mothers) because it “looks dated”. That’s just plain silly.

    On another note, I think that you’ve forgotten that Apple’s biggest strength is NOT in creating bleeding-edge technology, but bring existing technology to the masses. You’ve not mentioned Passbook at all (and it’s implied NFC tech coming to the iPhone 5). It’s a game changer. What about the massively improved Siri? Even the little things.. My Samsung D900, vintage 2006, had a feature which let me reject calls and send a text to the caller. If I had no idea how to use it, how could I expect my parents to?

    The magic of Apple is seen best when you see ordinary people able to do the extraordinary things we do with our devices.

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