iOS 6 – a personal perspective

While the tech press examines every detail of iOS 6 I wanted to present a personal view of key features from my own perspective.

iOS 6Now that the dust has settled after the WWDC keynote and I have slept on the announcements there are a few observations I wanted to make regarding iOS 6 whilst deliberately avoiding the arguments as to whether it is just playing catch-up with Android.

Safari

Firstly, there are a couple of glaring omissions in Safari that should really be low hanging fruit:

  • pull to refresh, and
  • a universal omnibar

Now that we have pull to refresh in the Mail app it would seem obvious to have a bit of consistency and introduce this for the browser.

It is now the expected norm for a browser to use a single combined location and search bar - iOS 6 would have been an ideal opportunity to streamline Safari and introduce this.

There are some "nice to haves" and other features which I personally will probably never use but here's what has me excited:

Maps

The new maps app looks great and you just know that the partnership with Tom Tom (and others) will bring a quality experience. While the 3D views look very impressive I can't envisage it being used that often so see it more as a curio than a really functional tool.

Native turn-by-turn is the big news here.

When I had made the decision to move to the iPhone from Android Navigation was the only feature I was concerned about losing. Consequently, I stopped using the native navigation in Google Maps and switched to the excellent Waze so that the transition from one platform to the other would be as seamless as possible. This has paid dividends and I have been happily using Waze on the iPhone ever since.

The introduction of native turn-by-turn navigation and the integration with Siri is going to completely turn that on its head. You can't beat going native for functionality if it is done well and you just know that this has been done well.

Tom Tom will have been getting worried about their prospects in a world where smartphones were rapidly making the company irrelevant; the deal with Apple to supply mapping data is no doubt massive so will ease the pressure significantly.

Siri - a beta no more

It's great that Siri is coming to the new iPad, it's also great that it will now be able to open apps and search for more things thanks to additional partnerships but that's not what's really important.

As a non-US iPhone user Siri was little more than a curiosity, something you'd use once in a while but never able to escape the feeling that the experience was being hamstrung.

So often those of us outside the US are made to feel like second class citizens by the likes of Apple or Google as functionality and services are introduced that we cannot use; expanding local search to more countries is the key feature to come out of this and will really propel Siri to the forefront in my opinion.

Facebook

I am starting to use Facebook a little more than I have ever done thanks largely to a new group of friends built up over the last 6 months thanks to our shop but I have no doubt that OS level linking of Facebook into iOS 6 will have exactly the desired effect and make me use it more.

The integration is going to be huge for both companies. It is obviously a huge boost for Facebook after the disappointing IPO and a ideal opportunity to really start making a mark on mobile. Apple gets the advantage of being able to leverage the social power of Facebook including Likes within the app store so that Ping can finally be swept under the carpet. While Twitter will probably have been expecting that the special relationship would come to an end at some point, there's no denying that the service is now playing second fiddle thanks to that little blue thumbs up button - such power in a single click.

As I have said before, I seriously doubt that Facebook is looking to build its own phone but I believe it is no coincidence that the App Center appeared just days before the start of WWDC. Even though Likes are going to be included throughout the app store itself and will help to serve the same purpose as the App Center I feel Facebook is making a stand here with regards to its independence from Apple.

What about you?

What excites or disappoints you with iOS 6. We're you expecting more? Discuss this over at Google+.