Updated (July 13, 2012)
Spending some time on Apple’s iOS preview page, you can read about the details of it’s new featured updates. There are updates to the maps app, Siri and Facebook integration. Of course you will find more than that on Apple’s website.
I wanted to write just a quick review of some subtle updates and things that I have noticed while using my phone this past week since I updated to the developer version of iOS 6. I am using my phone like I normally would—I’m not forcing myself to try out these new big ticket updates. This is what I have found.
Turn By Turn Navigation
I have used the turn by turn navigation a few times now and I have been very impressed. I am really excited about this feature. The few times that I have had to use it, it turned out to be very reliable. I was impressed how well it updated the route that I was driving on. I ended up missing a turn (my fault, not the phone’s) and it quickly updated the route and sent me to my destination.
iOS6 Maps App turn-by-turn navigation
First off, the music app has had a make over. You will notice very quickly that Apple has gone with a light UI in place of the previous dark one. However, you will find a dark UI once you drill down to the song view.
iOS6 Music App
I haven’t decided whether I like the light UI or not. I’m not used to it and so every time I open the app, I am surprised.
The negative that I have noticed with the music app is that it is extremely slow. From the locked screen, I often double tap the home button to quickly access the music controls. I will push play and sometimes it will take up to 10 seconds to play the song. Then when I skip a song, at times it will delay a few seconds. I really hope this is fixed before the real deal is released.
The App Store
The next thing that I have noticed in iOS6 is the experience in the App Store. I have always been annoyed when I am looking at the featured Free Apps, find one that I like, download it and it closes the App Store app and shows me the new app being installed on the home screen. Then I open the App Store back up and certainly will have to scroll down and push the load 50 more apps a few times to get back to where I was.
Well with iOS 6, when you click Install, it doesn’t kick you out of the app. You see that the app installing and you can go back and be in the same spot as you were before. I did experience some bugs with this, where the screen would go blank and I had to start over from the top of the list.
If you already have an app installed on your device and you come across it in the App Store, you now have the option to open the app. I don’t see this as being all too helpful, except for some nice feedback to the user to let them know that the app is already installed on your device.
iOS 6 App Store App
The other good thing is when you are browsing the Featured Free Apps, the apps auto load once you start scrolling. You don’t have to push a button to load more. It works pretty well too. You have to scroll pretty fast to even see the pre-loader (which I only saw for about a second) before the next group of apps load.
A Hidden Gem In Safari
The last thing that I want to highlight is something I noticed in Safari while just browsing a website in landscape mode. In the bottom right hand corner, I noticed a new icon only when in landscape mode. It is definitely the full screen icon that you see in other apps like the Video app.
iOS 6 Full Screen Safari Mode
When you click it, the status bar and the bottom chrome of Safari hide off screen giving you more screen real estate for your browsing pleasure. You still have access to the back button which is fixed in the bottom left-hand corner. Also, you can always exit full screen by pushing the icon again which stays fixed in the bottom right-hand corner. If you pull the browser down all the way, the URL bar will still be available. But if you scroll all the way to the bottom, the chrome does not appear until you exit full screen mode.
iOS 6 Full Screen Safari Mode
This is a pleasant update to Safari. I can see this being very useful—I just wish it was available for portrait mode as well. The thing that you would need to be aware of is you could potentially cover up buttons on your page if you have a fixed button down in the bottom left-hand or bottom right-hand corner of your screen.
As I keep using the developer version of Apple’s newest iOS I hope to find more hidden jewels that make the experience much better for the user. So far the Maps have been hit or miss.