iOS 6 has arrived!
Apple's brand-spanking-new operating system for the iPhone, iPad and iPod Touch was released yesterday. (Here's how you can download it). So far, most of what we've heard is griping about the system's default mapping service. In case you haven't heard, Apple has stopped using Google Maps as the built-in navigation tool for iOS and has switched to a Maps app of its own -- and critics are not impressed.
The swap from Google Maps to Apple's Maps app has been dubbed, among other things, "a turd in a very ornate punch bowl." Our own Jason Gilbert has lambasted the failure of the new Apple Maps app to give directions for subway and other public transport, writing that "iOS 6's Maps feels like a downgrade, not an upgrade." HuffPostTech's Bianca Bosker also takes issue with iOS 6, writing (from her iPhone), "With its new upgrade, apple, the company built on intuitive devices and an 'it just works' philosophy, has committed the ultimate sin of making our lives more difficult, not less."
But for those of you who can get along without Google Maps, iOS 6 could actually make your life a helluva lot better -- if only you give it a chance. Here are 5 ways the new iOS can make your life easier.
Obviously you'll need to tap on the touchscreen occasionally, but with the new-and-improved Siri that comes in iOS 6, you'll be able to do a lot more things that previously could only be done with your hands. Whether you're searching for sports scores and stats, looking up movie times and restaurant reviews, or posting to Facebook and Twitter, Apple's updated voice-command assistant is at your beck and call.
Siri can also moonlight has your navigator now. The iOS 6 update will give you turn-by-turn directions with traffic updates -- all spoken to you in Siri's soothing voice. Make a wrong turn? That's OK, Siri will tell you where to go next. (Now if only she could tell you which subway to take...)
Is your office calling you while lounging on the beach? Your iPhone won't tell you till later. "Do Not Disturb" is one of our favorite new iOS features. It lets you receive incoming notifications and communications, but it won't alert you until the "Do Not Disturb" feature is switched off. When choosing not to answer, your iPhone gives you the option of texting back a response or setting a reminder to call him or her later. Go ahead and order another mojito!
Maybe you're like the rest of us and need your breaks from the social networking. Nevertheless, Apple's made it super-easy to never ever leave the embrace of the Big Blue Giant. Facebook (like Twitter before it) has been integrated in the new iOS, meaning you can share photos, videos or links without ever opening Facebook's irksome (though improving!) app.
The Passbook feature in iOS 6 works, in theory, like this: Instead of carrying around boarding passes, coupons and movie tickets, you can store the barcodes for those items in your iPhone; airports, stores and box offices will scan to confirm that you've made a purchased or are owed a discount. (Only merchants who participate in Apple's new program will accept these scanned barcodes, and the jury's still out on how smoothly the process works in real life.)