Apple iOS 6: Maps Mayhem and What’s New

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Of course, not everything is peaches and cream. Even Apple is prone to the occasional misstep. Here are a few of the biggest misses (and in turn, opportunities).

Maps -

Let's not beat around the bush: Maps is downgraded in iOS 6. The new Maps application is devoid of Google. Instead, Apple has prettied up information from Yelp and TomTom, and what you're stuck with is a more beautiful application that is far less intelligent and functional. The POI database is inferior to Google's, and any logic you use for searching in Google Maps (people tend to learn tricks for searching for things nearby in places they live, etc.) may not work now.

TomTom is also a poor choice for a mapping partner in our opinion. In our experience, Garmin mapping units have outperformed TomTom. Furthermore, there are no mass transit directions at all on the new Maps. None. At all. Millions of iOS 6 users live in urban city centers, and they're suddenly without the bus and train data that was so easy to find using the Google-assisted Maps in iOS 5. Apple's probably working hard on patching this up, but for now, it's a huge hole. And, on top of that, Google has no standalone Maps app for iOS to cover up Apple's omission. (That's probably on purpose.)

The only major upside? Siri can now control Maps, so you can just say "Route me to 586 Redwood Circle in Santa Cruz" and it'll pull up turn-by-turn directions. Just don't expect it to get you there on a public transit option.

Siri -

Why is this a negative? Because Siri still isn't smart enough. Yes, she knows more about movies now, and she can make you a reservation down the street at your nearby Chinese eatery, but that's just not enough. There are no API hooks to allow third-party apps to have their vital functions controlled by voice. Why not? Being able to control all apps -- not just opening them, but using them -- via voice would be groundbreaking. Also, Siri's intelligence drops significantly in nations not named U.S.A. Tsk, tsk.

Lack of customizations -

Apple has never been one to really open things up for tweaking, but it's time. iOS 6 is looking a bit dated, and there are still no options for adding third-party keyboards, changing themes or colors, or controlling extras that show up in Notification Center. Why can't we turn Airplane Mode on or turn Bluetooth off from the pulldown menu?

Camera omissions -

Why put a world-class camera into a phone, and then give users no way to truly take advantage? The iPhone 4S and iPhone 5 have great sensors and optics, but Apple failed to turn advanced options on in iOS 6. No way to adjust ISO, shutter speed or aperture? Why not? Creative professionals would be happy to show off the iPhone's capabilities, but iOS 6 limits their abilities.

No live icons -

Why does the weather app still show 73 and sunny? Why doesn't it actively show the weather where you are? Why do the notification number bubbles have to be the same color on each app? Why isn't there a way to tweak that? Plus, there aren't any widgets in iOS 6 -- a missed opportunity.

Contact / NFC -

We can't fault Apple for skipping the mobile payments bandwagon; it's a real mess at the moment, with too many players and no clear roadmap. But, why not add NFC? If anyone could make bump transfers cool, it'd be Apple. Just look at what they did for short-form messaging with iMessage. They clearly have the foresight and marketing and coding skills, but the hardware's not there. It's not so much a knock against Apple for not copying Android and including NFC; it's a disappointment.

iPad omissions -

Have a new iPad? You can get iOS 6 as well! But, don't look for everything to be there. There's no Passbook, which is exceptionally strange given that Passbook even made the leap to the iPod touch. Also, there's still no calculator app. Why not? Makes no sense. (To Apple's credit, they finally added a Clock app to the iPad.)

iOS 6 is still brand new, and Apple has plenty of time to make updates and adjustments. We don't expect the next major iOS push until WWDC 2013 next June, but hopefully we'll get a few wishes granted in point releases between now and then.

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sevags 2 years ago

I am extremely disappointed.... I installed the update on our ipad2 and my moms iphone4 and was abou to update mine when I realized there is absolutely nothing new of importance and it's quite hard to notice any changes at all! For all intents and purposes nothing has changed about ios! It looks the same, feels the same, other than a few new ways to ignore phone calls nothing major has come. I'm one of those NORMAL people who no longer uses Facebook and never found the appeal of twitter so I have neither and even if indie I wouldn't want either one integrated into my phone especially so tighly, what's wrong with giving us the choice to download those apps or not rather than including them with no way of removing them from sight. FaceTime over wireless would be nice but I'm with AT&T so much for that.

After installing ios6 on 2 devices and not seeing a need for it I stopped the update on my own phone when unrealized it wouldn't be worth going from my jailbroken iPhone with lots of features not found in ios5 or ios6 just for a Do not disturb status for phone calls that I never make or receive.

Aoshi 2 years ago

Agreed, this one was a bit of a flop. The new maps with turn by turn was a necessary upgrade. However the maps done by Apple are very unspecific. I'm staying on iOS 5 for a while. I need the incredibly detailed maps.

magic1959 2 years ago

tell siri to open google maps and then tell her to pin it to the 'desktop'

MCaddick 2 years ago

And yet the apple-drones will still all lap it up and praise it for being revolutionary and innovative.


I updated my ipad3 and am regretting it just 1 day hence. Apple's map stuff is far inferior to google's and my device seems noticeably slower, especially in the app store section.

I have not noticed any benefits yet.

Travelluna 2 years ago

I like the new iOS 6 I like the travel boarding passes I will use thus one a lot. Not fond of the maps at all

JOMA 2 years ago

I'm holding off just to wait for some of the bugs to be fixed and to be sure my battery life isn't going to suffer.

dorkstar 2 years ago

Just wanted to say the maps app is still garbage. If you want to get within a 5 mile radius of a exact location, it works. If you want to find "a Walmart" it can do that, but don't think it will be the closest.

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