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Snippets of Apple iOS6, and thoughts on performance on the 3GS

Sunday, July 1, 2012

/ by Srikanth Eswaran

Apple recently updated their mobile operating system during the WWDC. As part of iOS 6 there are many new features which again are deeply rooted into the overall ecosystem. This post aims to explain in simple terms what changes are now part of this new operating system and also discusses some of the performance aspects of iOS6 on iPhone 3GS.

Facebook and Twitter deep integration

The iOS6 now comes with facebook and twitter more deeply integrated into the operating system. This means there is now an ability to quickpost to facebook right from the notifications area, and also sharing anything and everything to facebook or twitter from mostly anywhere on the iphone that originally allowed sharing as well as from some new places.

This not only means that sharing becomes more useful now, but also highlights the fact about the growing popularity of facebook that even a company like Apple recognizes that its no doubt a social behemoth already made by now. It also gives Apple an edge against Google who tend to copy all design and software ideas from Apple time to time and puts it totally out of sync with apple considering the latters association with Facebook.

Twitter was always Apples blue eyed boy and iOS 6 retains that sentiment in iOS6 as well.

Sharing of items changed to include more options

In the new operating system, you can now share across a variety of services from facebook, twitter, etc to even a printer. This has not only enhanced the scope of sharing, but has done away with buttons and has a page based icon system for different sources to share to. Its not practially significantly different but the deep integration is what the point is about.

 

Answering calls differently

This was one sorely missing feature in ios 5. Finally the hole has been plugged. Now with the new OS, one can answer calls differently. Along with the usual buttons, one can now also send a custom SMS message informing why you are declining a call. This helps for sure but should have made it in the earlier OS version itself !!

 

Do not disturb

Simple things matter. No one has thought about this until now. No phone had nothing more than a vibrator mode. The do not disturb ensures the phone doesn’t annoy you during those hours set by you as don’t disturb hours. What’s cool then? Well if some of your close contacts are desperate to reach you even beyond calling one time, a repeated incoming call can be set to ring and wake you up. Emergency responses assured thus. Good job apple. You can also add your favorites group to let the calls through. Don’t add your manager though

Custom ringtones 

This was always available as a very unlisted undocumented feature for apple since long. One could tailor an mp3 tune into an m4r ringtone file from iTunes in windows or mac and transfer it to the phone. Apple seems to have done away with that complexity and instead now will allow custom ringtones to be any mp3 file that you desire. I am sure apple will also provide options to trim them as well perhaps. Not a unique new feature but still welcome.

Camera

Some while before the iOS6 itself, the camera was made accessible from the home screen by a simple touch and drag up. What most people do not know is that you can also slide it back into place to close the camera without touching any hardware button. Perfection must come from within and be seamless to learn. That’s what apple is all about notwithstanding the fact that they do all this on a rather user unfriendly linux backend.

 

So is then everything hunky dory about the iOS update? well, yes and no. This is surely a major update in terms of giving things that are already 2 years old stuff. Only point then is about the deep integration of stuff which makes this whole thing so delicious. However the performance of iOS 6 on 3GS is almost close to pathetic. Menus take lot of time to load, graphics take lots of time to show up. Well I am not talking high resolution graphics. it’s the same things that used to be there in iOS4 & 5. I am not sure why Apple must make it take so long to load on 3GS considering I am not exercising any gaming capabilities on it!? Bewildering. Apple will have its own reasons why they do things in a particular way, but the bottom line is that iOS 6 is terribly slow on the iphone 3GS and hence though they practically support it, we must restrict ourself to iOS4 or at the most 5 on the 3GS. If Apple does make it any better by the time the actual release is out – remember, for the purpose of this review I am still using the first beta of iOS 6 – then it might be a tad bit better but don’t have too many high hopes on the performance.

A phone that cost me about 35,000 bucks, still might command anywhere between 8000 to 12000 and the iOS6 update working on this phone definitely ups its value to still be in demand. But it’s a matter of time before iPhone 5 is coming – roughly in exactly 2-3 months from now – and that is the hardware really meant to run such a software that is quite versatile, user friendly, seamlessly integrated and what not !!

So do I still miss anything in this update? Well, oh, plenty. How about switching on and off Wifi, Bluetooth, etc from the notification area? Is that too much for Apple to develop? No, not at all. One point to note is that bluetooth now finds a place in the main menu itself which is good unlike last time, when it was really buried deep down into some menu levels. I also miss the word helper during typing and I am not sure what is making apple not give this facility as its ages old already. I miss the panorama feature on the camera which would’ve been a great addition given the fact we know it was always in the works. Perhaps the iPhone 5 would feature it. Time will tell.

Still there is no way I can copy a video or audio file into the phone directly without iTunes. Still there is no way to stream it to a TV without apple TV, which is absurd. They are now bringing in AirPlay which is over and beyond normal DLNA. A monopolistic company cant go too far in dictating how the world must work. And this is precisely where google is slightly better.

Thankfully I do find a secure PDF file open feature which also was not there earlier on. Even Windows phone mango doesn’t have it. Shame!!

What the iPhone 5 needs is a serious boost in screen real estate. The browsing experience and the general handling experience will be so much more better if that happens.

Until my next post, I wish to conclude by saying the iOS 6 is definitely a refreshing update to facebook fans, and others who would not like to be disturbed during their sleep hours mainly!

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