Pixel Envy

Written by Nick Heer.

A Week with iOS 6

Chuck Skoda has written the thing I would have written if I didn’t feel encumbered by this pesky NDA. On Siri:

Clearly a big deal to Apple, the humble virtual assistant is more valuable for users than ever. First up is sports. You’re now just a phrase away from stats, scores, rosters, and schedules. I’m not qualified to comment on whether this is a strong offering of sports information, but the few questions I asked were answered as expected.

Annoyingly, Siri does not yet support Formula 1, the only sport I care about. What they do have works as advertised, and is decent if you care about football, or football 1.

On the new store apps:

[T]here is an “Update History” item that let’s you peruse the release notes from previous versions of the app. This gives good context for the activity of the developer, and is a welcome change.

This is a really subtle thing that I enjoy. Not mentioned is the ability to continue playing a song sample in iTunes while browsing other sections of the store, and a similar history feature.

On FaceTime over 3G:

iOS 6 brings FaceTime calls over the cellular network with no tricks. This is a good boost to one of the great features of the iPhone, but only on rare occasions have I wanted to use FaceTime while away from WiFi. It doesn’t seem like the ideal way to communicate while out and about. It’s bound to come in handy sometimes, but it likely won’t come up every day.

I can think of very few situations where I wouldn’t have WiFi access, and wouldn’t feel like a fool for using FaceTime outside. It’s not bad of a data hog, for short calls. As I found out earlier this week, it uses about 3.2MB per minute. It’s pretty smooth over my 3G connection, but I imagine AT&T customers should stay clear of this.

On Mail:

Finally, and I mean finally, you can insert a photo or video attachment directly into a message. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve typed half an email only to remember that I need to start in the Photos app if I plan to attach an image to my message. This ranks as one of the most significant changes for me since copy and paste.

It’s weird that Skoda mentions copy and paste, and yet hasn’t realized that attaching photos midway through a message has been possible by the same means since iOS 3. In fact, due to the way attaching photos is buried in a popover menu, I still find it more convenient to use copy and paste.

Skoda’s post is a great summary of what has been updated and tweaked. I think it’s an update that addresses a lot of remaining concerns without introducing a lot of new features. It’s great.

  1. See what I did there? ↩︎