Commentary
9/20/2012
10:41 AM
Eric Zeman
Eric Zeman
Commentary

iOS 6: 5 Things That Disappoint

Apple's new mobile operating system offers some much-needed improvements, but plenty of things still need polish.



iPhone 5's 10 Best Features
iPhone 5's 10 Best Features
(click image for larger view and for slideshow)
Apple made some great improvements to iOS 6 with its Photo Stream syncing, Safari syncing, Facebook integration, and Do Not Disturb. Unfortunately, Apple didn't go far enough in revising some apps, and falls completely on its face with others.

Here are five things about iOS 6 that Apple could have done much, much better.

1. Apple Maps: It's horrid. I've been unimpressed with Apple Maps throughout the beta period of iOS 6. I was hoping that the company would make some refinements along the way, but it didn't. Apple Maps is a complete face-plant for Apple. It's missing streets, cities, and significant points of interest, it is slow to load, and maps are rather pedestrian-looking when compared to the rich Google Maps. Some of Google Maps' best features, such as Street View, are missing from Apple Maps entirely. This app needs fixing ASAP, Apple. At the very least, let us put Google Maps back on our devices while you fix this mess.

2. Email: Apple gave its native email application a few new features, but didn't fill in some of the biggest remaining gaps. I like that Mail for iOS finally allows users to add photos/videos after they've begun composing an email, adds the ability to sort through flagged emails, and builds in support for multiple email account signatures. Still missing? The ability to mark all as read or delete all messages; support for additional fonts and/or styling within emails; spam filters for the device itself; and support for group emails. Other features are still absent, but these are the most glaring. For Gmail users, as an example, the browser-based application is still far superior to Mail in iOS.

[ There's still a lot that's good in iOS 6. See iOS 6: 5 Things To Like. ]

3. Delete Apple Apps: Apple still doesn't allow iOS users to delete the stock Apple-developed apps. For example, I don't use Newsstand at all. Not only can I not delete this unwanted application, I can't even add it to a folder to hide it from view. It irks me every time I see it. This and other apps are forever stuck on the iPhone, iPad, and iPod Touch. Grrrrr.

4. Siri: Siri has come a long way since its fall 2011 debut, but it hasn't come far enough. Apple still lists Siri as a "beta" application, but it still has the feel of an "alpha" app, if you ask me. Some of the best new Siri features include the ability to look up sports scores, check movie times/reviews, and even find local restaurants and make reservations. The problem is Siri's voice recognition remains quite poor. Siri translates my dictated speech accurately only about 50% of the time. That means 50% of the time, the app doesn't work properly. C'mon, Apple. Google's voice recognition has yours beat by a country mile.

5. Minor Annoyances: Other features missing and/or not updated that aren't a huge deal, but still register on the scale of annoyances include: not enough font support; old and stale notification alerts/tones; no widgets/dynamic home-screen content; lack of support for Adobe Flash (just kidding, making sure you're still reading); and lack of visual flair or pizzazz. The operating system received plenty of new features, but looks and feels just like it has since 2007.

Despite these admittedly picky issues, there's still plenty to like in iOS 6, which is a decent upgrade from iOS 5.

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