Top iOS 6 features
We lay out the best features of iOS 6, including Siri, Passbook, VIP e-mail and more
By now, you probably have picked up an iPhone 5 or updated your iDevice to iOS 6 and after playing with it for a few days, we believe this updated operating system is Apple's best yet. Let's take a look at some fo the top iOS 6 features.
When Siri debuted on the iPhone 4S, it was seen as an interesting way to interact with your phone but it wasn't ready for prime time. It would often misunderstand what you're saying or it would just plain not work -- it was very unlike Apple to release such a beta product.
The Siri in iOS 6 is still probably not what Apple expects its natural language, voice-command system to be but it is vastly improved from previous versions. The Siri in iOS 6 allows you to do everything you could previously but it works better and it adds a few new features.
With Siri in iOS 6, you can now use your voice to get sports scores, find nearby restaurants, reserve tables, launch different apps and more. I'm not sure whether its the 4G LTE or the improved processor, but Siri in iOS 6 also works much faster than it did before. I look forward to seeing how Apple can improve this down the road.
If you're like me, you've probably set up multiple e-mail accounts on your iOS 6 device and it can be somewhat difficult keeping track of what's important. Thankfully, Apple has included an intelligent VIP Mail option, which creates a specific mail folder for your most important messages.
While I still think Google Priority Inbox does a better job of this, the Apple VIP mail option in iOS 6 is no slouch. It culls through my four e-mail accounts and does a solid job of picking out which messages are important to me. Apple should learn a lot about what people are doing with their messaging and this should improve with time.
Apple's solution to mobile payments is called Passbook and while it's not compatible with NFC-based solutions, it may wind up being more useful. Passbook is an app that acts as a repository for QR codes, mobile boarding passes and more.
We've been hearing for years that your phone will replace your wallet but there hasn't been a popular enough solution to get consumers and retailers on board. Apple and its iPhone 5 have enough clout and popularity to make it happen and we already have reason to believe that retailers will get behind Passbook in a big way. Sephora saw 20,000 Passbook usages within 24 hours of iOS 6 being released and major retailers like Target are also backing Apple's Passbook.
Passbook could also be successful because it's not just a proprietary standard, as the apps within it could use QR codes that are easily replicated for Android or Windows Phone.
Apple's Maps haven't been well received and we honestly think it's a rare misstep for a company that prides itself on delivering a great user experience out of the box -- but that doesn't mean it's all terrible. The 3-D flyover feature is a visually-pleasing feature that helps Apple's Maps stand out from the crowd.
The 3-D maps of a big city are just plain cool. Zooming through a major city can make you feel like you're there and in places like Manhattan, you get a stunning level of detail. Sure, the 3-D maps are somewhat limited and we're not thrilled with the rest of Apple's Maps, but it is definitely something that will inspire envy from your non-iOS 6 friends.
App Store makeover
For me, sometimes the best new features are subtle ones and that's why I find the App Store makeover to be one of the best things about iOS 6.
For years, I would go through the App Store wanting to quickly download a slew of apps and would get upset with how it would kick you to the homescreen when you downloaded a single app. This was an outdated metaphor that became even more painful when you're trying to update a ton of apps.
With iOS 6, you can download or update apps from within the App Store and you can remain in it to browse other apps. This is a seemingly small change but it makes the flow much better and it boosts the overall experience. I still think the App Store could use some better ways to discover apps that aren't on the top lists but I'll take what I can get.
Those are some of our top iOS 6 features, what are yours?