Apple's iOS 6: What's New and What's Missing

iOS 6: What's Missing In Apple's Mobile OS Approach

We won't know for sure that iOS 6 is the complete package until the final version arrives in the fall, but the beta has a few gaping holes that we've been hoping to see fixed for years. Such as…

Keyboard Support -

We're now on the sixth iteration of iOS, and there's still no option to choose a different keyboard layout, style, etc. On Android, you can install entirely new keyboards like Swype and SwiftKey, which can greatly cut down on how long it takes to input messages. We're sure this is Apple's way of ensuring a consistent experience across all iOS-based devices, but giving users some choice for input would be welcome nonetheless.

Siri's Knowledge Base -

We understand that Siri is still relatively immature, but she's still misses more than we would like. Being able to open an app with one's voice is all well and good, but Apple needs to open up the API so that developers can allow Siri to talk to their apps. Imagine a situation where you could say: "Siri, open MOG and play my Pop Music playlist." Or, how about: "Siri, open WorldMate and tell me how long I have between my two flights today." Siri needs this deep app integration to be truly smart and immensely more useful. We also wish she had better access to internet databases. If we could say: "Siri, what is Larry Ellison's Twitter handle?" and get a real answer read back, or even better, automatically added to Twitter, that'd be a huge step. Why can't we say: "Siri, check in here on Foursquare, I'm at AT&T Park in San Francisco."? As she exists today, Siri is a hobbled assistant.

Offline Mapping -

While Apple may be sweeping Google aside with it own incoming map solution, the forthcoming update from Google has one major thing going for it: offline mapping. There are plenty of occasions where a signal drop or international excursions call for offline map usage, and Apple's own solution ignores it entirely. We need the offline solution, particularly if Google is providing it for its mapping app.

An Intelligent Lock Screen -

It's time for Apple to offer an intelligent lockscreen, especially since a jailbreak app in the Cydia app store has done this for quite some time. We need a lock screen that is customizable, and capable of showing the information you specify from all apps -- including Sparrow, Gmail and other alternative email applications. We'd also like to see a settings shortcut bar in the lock screen, with one-touch access to Airplane Mode, Bluetooth On/Off, etc. The lack of control is a killer in our opinion.

Data Usage Meter -
In the world of data caps, throttling and data tiers, offering a data usage meter is a no-brainer. Ice Cream Sandwich has a great data meter that even warns you when you're about to hit a limit that the user specifies; we hope Apple offers something similar.

All in all, it's obvious that iOS 6 offers many refinements and updates, and plenty of new things to enjoy. But now that we've been teased by Siri for a while, we're expecting much more. We hope that Apple makes a few more updates with future iOS 6 releases as it gets closer to launch. It's likely, however, that the major additions that we've mentioned here won't see the light of day at least until iOS 7's release… if at all. Meanwhile, we hope Windows Phone, BB 10 and Android continue to push their respective envelopes; the competition certainly isn't a bad thing for consumers. Whereas just a couple of years ago iOS represented the pinnacle of mobile OSes, it now trails in spots and is still playing catch-up in a number of key areas.

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