iOS 6

iOS 6 is here! It is! Honest! It’s just the servers will be a little busy.

So first off let’s review some of the enhancements and why you should upgrade before we see how to upgrade (Spoiler Alert: It’s really easy).

Apple’s iOS (formally iPhone OS) has really just continued to mature with each new version being  a refinement, rather than a revolution. This seems to annoy the tech blogs quite a bit for some reason. A part of me wonders if that perspective is just based in the fact that most new version of Android are big shifts which aren’t really development, more, repair work.

Alas iOS has been a stable mobile OS that has set the bar for all others over the last 5 years. For the most part the lay out has remained the same and is not too dissimilar to the Mac OS X desktop software of which it is based. Home screen (desktop), Dock and a top bar. By now there’s more of a point of ‘if it ain’t broke…’ with the layout of iOS so don’t expect any major changes. The only one you may notices is a slight change of colour to the top bar and some built in apps to a more soft blue look.

Honestly though, iOS 6 feels more like an ‘iOS 5.5’

There’s a lot of things that aren’t stand out features or are refinements to were was so big with iOS 5. iCloud, now even deeper integrated, FaceTime (video calls) now over 3G, Facebook in the sharing options like Twitter was added last time, Siri is now useful in the UK! Oh, the ‘Apple Camera‘ now can take panoramas (wave by to the apps that did this).

The rest of the changes are skin deep (bar one that I’m coming too). The Music interface has had a complete overhaul and is all the better for it. It also seems to work at a proper speed with iTunes Match, where iOS 5 just seemed to struggle. The App Store and iTunes Store have both also been given a completely new set of clothes. The App Store also has a nice new extra, When installing updates, it no longer requires your password and it doesn’t boot you out of the app to do the updates!

The biggest change with iOS 6 is the one that is getting the most flack – Surprise, Surprise!

Maps. Apple now have their own maps solution. This has been introduced for many reasons, the first of which being Apple using Google maps was worth more to Google than they were bringing in with all of Android! Secondly, Apple want to use maps for more and more things. It’s in their web apps and in their desktop software, so having to use someone else’s and paying for it was not a favorable option in business.

So Apple went round snapping up mapping companies so that it had a war chest against Google and Nokia. I’m about to be controversial in the tech blog world – I LIKE MAPS IN iOS 6!

They are rather good. Firstly they are vector based. They load quickly and scale precisely. The satellite images are comparable to Google’s a year ago (Bare in mind, Google and Microsoft upped their images a few months back) but the 3D is great. seriously, when using iOS 6 load up London and have a look up Big Ben. Apple will be mapping the world for the next few years to develop their provision, so remember it took Google a long time to map the world and cut Apple some slack.

Over all, I do think that Apple design the next OS not for the device that is coming, but the device that is out. iOS 6 fells more like the OS for the iPhone 4S than iOS 5 felt. When I get my iPhone 5, I’ll enjoy installing iOS 7 on it next year.


Getting Started with iOS 6

If you already have iOS 5 on your device, be sure to back up. If you use iCloud for back ups, got to Settings > iCloud > Back up & Storage > Back Up Now. You’ll need to be on Wi-Fi and it’s advisable you have your device plugged in to the charger.  If you don’t use iCloud to back up, you can skip the next paragraph.

Next, go to Settings > General > Software Update. The iOS update should be there. You can download and install and follow the on screen instructions. When your device gets going again (it will reboot a couple of times) you’ll be good to go!

Right, if you don’t use iCloud for back up – firstly, you should!  Secondly it means you most likely connect your device to your computer to back it up and put content on it. Plug your device in to your computer and open it up in iTunes, there’s a good chance it will tell you that there is an update and will tel you what to do to download it and install.

This really is a very, very easy process these days, but should you have any issues, Apple’s support is here: