Mobile // Mobile Devices
10:22 AM
Eric Zeman
Eric Zeman

iOS 6: 5 Features We Didn't Get

Apple revealed a preview of iOS 6 during its WWDC keynote. As great as the improvements are, Apple didn't deliver everything we wanted, such as a mobile wallet.

New iPad Teardown: Inside Apple's Tablet
New iPad Teardown: Inside Apple's Tablet
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The next-generation of Apple's mobile platform, iOS 6, looks like it will be the most successful yet based on the preview Apple offered during its WorldWide Developers Conference keynote address. The new mobile platform, which will be used by iPhones, iPads, and iPods Touch, adds more than 200 new features and should be available to the general public by this fall.

Of the new features, stand-outs include FaceTime over cellular, Passbook, Facebook integration, expanded Siri powers, Eyes Free, and the all-new 3-D mapping app from Apple.

As great as these are, Apple didn't answer all our prayers. Here are five iOS 6 wishes that did not come true.

1) Redesigned UI.

iOS has looked more or less the same since its January 2007 debut. Five and a half years is a long time for a mobile platform to look exactly the same. Though it appears Apple has tweaked the look and feel of iOS 6 a little, the overall behavior of the operating system is mostly unchanged. It doesn't look bad, but it is starting to show its age.

[ Are developers heading for iOS's greener pastures? Read Apple iOS Still Charming More Developers Than Android. ]

2) Dynamic home screen content.

One of Android's core strengths are the widgets available for the home screen panels. Even Microsoft's Windows Phone platform offers Live Tiles, which aren't as powerful as widgets, but still provide fresh content and data to the home screen.

3) Near-field communications (NFC) or Mobile Wallet.

iOS 6 includes something called Passbook. This tool can be used to collect movie, bus, and airline tickets and use them in lieu of paper tickets. Neat, but a bit limited. Apple didn't announce plans to support NFC within iOS 6, not did it show off any specific plans to offer a mobile wallet-type product. Of course, Apple could be holding back and reserving those features for a "one more thing" appearance when the next-gen iPhone is announced. For the moment, though, iOS 6 doesn't look like it will usher in the era of painless, paperless payments.

4) File management system.

One of the incremental improvements in iOS 6 is the ability to add photos or videos to emails from within the email application. Previously, you had to do this from the photo gallery application. This is a great new feature, but stops well short of offering iOS device owners full access to the files on their devices. Instead, users still must open files and folders through the application in which they were created. As much as I hate dealing with folders, better access to files--at least from the email app--would have been great.

5) Full backward compatibility.

Apple tends to keep its newest operating systems from its oldest hardware, and this year is no different. iOs 6 is compatible with the iPhone 3GS, the iPhone 4, and the iPhone 4S. Still rocking an iPhone 3G or, merciful fates protect us, an original iPhone? Time to upgrade your hardware, my friend. The only iPod Touch compatible with iOS 6 is the fourth-generation model. As far as iPads go, the new iPad and the iPad 2 get iOS 6 gain access to iOS 6, but the original iPad does not.

Developers can download the beta version of iOS 6 and associated APIs from Apple's developer Web portal.

InformationWeek is conducting a survey on Windows 8 adoption. Upon completion of our survey, you will be eligible to enter a drawing to receive a 16-GB Apple iPad. Take our InformationWeek 2012 Windows 8 Survey now. Survey ends June 15.

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User Rank: Apprentice
6/13/2012 | 5:39:54 PM
re: iOS 6: 5 Features We Didn't Get
No one offers full backward compatibility for Mobile devices. This is not a good thing. A well-made phone is viable for many years; users should not have to throw it out prematurely just to get new OS/software/connectivity features.

But it's It's an unrealistic expectation that Apple can or would single handedly buck this trend, especially when we keep pushing for core level improvements in the OS and complaining when they don't happen.

When iOS 6 comes out, likely with the next iPhone, the 3GS will likely be almost 4 years old. Yet it'll have all the new OS features that its hardware can support. In effect it's being given another year's lease on life at least and who knows where the cutoff will be for iOS 7?

Android users have four year old phones too but most of them are still running Android 2.x and the app store is a bit of a minefield for them. Not actively Google's fault; it's inherent in the open source model where each mfr differentiates itself by tweaking the inerface of the OS. Still there it is.

There have likewise been breakpoints for Palm devices (when they mattered), Blackberries and Windows Mobile when major OS changes happened. Nokia has flopped all over the place.

Bottom line plenty to pick on Apple for including the fact that I can't choose whether to open a single .pdf file in DataViz, Pages, AirSharing, Good Reader, etc. But within the current ethos, they are exemplary in the backward compatibility universe.
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