Going Solo

Apple products no longer come with Google apps. Should you still upgrade to iOS 6?

Written by Pranay Parab | New Delhi | Published: October 7, 2012 12:12 am

Apple products no longer come with Google apps. Should you still upgrade to iOS 6?

Spotlight

MapMyIndia Don’t Panic iOS MapMyIndia launched Don’t Panic,a map application for iOS that stores all map data on a user’s device. The company says it gives users access to maps even in remote areas.

Just three weeks before the launch of the first iPhone,Steve Jobs told his engineers that he wanted a maps application. After that,every subsequent Apple phone and tablet came pre-installed with Google Maps and YouTube. Eric Schmidt,Google’s CEO,in 2007,was also a member Apple’s board of directors. He was present on stage during the launch of the first iPhone. With the release of Android-based phones,the Apple and Google relationship soured. Apple’s latest mobile operating system — iOS 6 — is testament to its frosty relationship with Google. So let’s look at what’s new in iOS 6 and how it is faring without Google.

Maps

The most prominent feature in iOS 6 is the new Maps application. Apple has replaced Google Maps with its own service. It boasts of several features such as turn-by-turn navigation and a 3D view,but most of these do not work in India as of now. Many users across the world have reported that Apple Maps are not as accurate as those of Google. Do not be surprised if you find your favourite restaurant two blocks off the location shown on Apple Maps. To make things worse,the Google Maps app is not available for iOS 6. If Google Maps is critical to your iOS experience,it would be wise to stall plans for an upgrade to iOS 6. You can access Google Maps via the Web browser,but the experience is not as good as the native app.

To be fair to Apple,Tim Cook issued a public apology for the below-average maps and the company no longer refers to Apple Maps as “the best in the world” on its website. Like Rome,Google Maps was not built in a day and like wine,map applications get better with age. Every time you look for a place on map apps,you add to the database. The company stores all this data to give you better results. Google has,over the years,refined its data to the point that new apps don’t stand a chance. To improve Apple Maps,use the “report a problem” link.

User interface

There are several minor changes to the user interface. Some of these are purely cosmetic,like the Share menu. Every time you want to share a picture or song,you will see icons of the mail app,Facebook,Twitter,etc,instead of just text. Additions have been made for incoming calls as well. There is a “Reply With Message” option when you get a call. You can decline the call and send a message,which used to be a two-step process earlier. Another useful feature is “Do Not Disturb”. You can programme the iPhone to reject calls and silence all alerts for specific time intervals. You can also silence specific contacts,using the same feature. The feature “Can’t Talk Right Now” lets you send an “I’m busy,will call later” SMS,to everyone who calls. It also allows you to set a reminder to call the person back in an hour. iOS 6 has improved Facebook integration. Sharing on Facebook has now become a two-tap action. App Store and iTunes have been redesigned and both feel more polished,in tune with other user interface improvements.

Camera features

The most discussed camera feature in iOS 6 is Panorama. All you need to do is pan your phone from left to right while taking a picture and your device will click multiple shots,and stitch them into one high-resolution panoramic photograph. Another new feature is Photo Streams. This feature allows you to share your photos via Apple’s cloud storage service — iCloud. Your friends can see the pictures and leave comments.

To upgrade or not to upgrade

Great in-call features like ‘Do Not Disturb’

Facebook integration

Better camera features like Panorama

Apple Maps not as good as Google Maps

Indian users will not have access to key features in Siri,Maps and Passbook.

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