Weeks before the launch of the iPhone 5, there was a video floating around teasing the mad crowds that all they were going to get this time was a camera, almost a point-and-shoot. The mockery was on many of us who have iPhones, and use it largely to take pictures and reject the 700,000 or so apps in the store or the seamless software experience.
I can’t be apologetic for the number of images I shoot on my iPhone 4S. And until today, I also had some substantial cribs. One, I could never share the images I shot easily. And two, I missed a panorama layout.
The iOS 6 update delivers smartly on both counts. You don’t have to open up Facebook, and then choose images you want to upload. That reverse engineering process is dead. Now simply shoot and share – to Facebook, Twitter, SMS, etc. And in the iPhone 5, you can shoot a still image as you shoot a video. You can also share a stream of pictures with a smaller group of friends.
The Do-Not-Disturb feature is also a welcome addition. In the past, the silent mode, truly silenced your iPhone. You couldn’t make the distinction between phone calls, emails, or Facebook notifications. Now you can. You can shut out drunk friends serially uploading images through the night, but answer a call from someone who might be sick.
For me the jury is still out on maps. With this update, Apple has replaced Google maps with its own version. It gives you multiple options from point A to B, with voice instructions. What will take a little getting used to for regular Google map users is the dramatic zoom in and large labeling. The maps though are clearer and less cluttered than the Google experience.
If a software update is fundamentally about making features you already use a lot better, and introducing a few that will be used instantly – this update is certainly a winner.