Monday, October 1, 2012

Favorite under-the-radar iOS 6 and iPhone 5 features

I just wanted to post a few thoughts of my first week with iPhone 5 (2 weeks with iOS 6). Overall, I like them both. The features they advertise are always nice, but I always appreciate the silent updates - the things that generally go unnoticed, but add to (or detract from) the user experience.

Spellcheck Improvements
I have noticed spellcheck improvements in every major release of iOS. This time, Apple addressed a nagging issue that always bugged me - punctuation handling. Spellcheck in iOS 6 recognizes quotation marks and apostrophes much better than previous versions. For example, in the message:
She said "shut up." So I stopped talking.
iOS 6 recognizes the period inside the quotation marks ended the sentence, and auto-capitalizes the next word. Another example is the recognition of possessive proper nouns. When typing the name "Jay" iPhone always wants to correct it to "Kay." However, when I was addressing something that belonged to Jay (i.e Jay's), the apostrophe would cancel spellcheck. Now, it will display "Kay's" as a suggestion...which is mildly annoying, considering I don't know anyone with that name, but I'm still impressed with the functionality. It also catches multiple-word proper nouns like "App Store" and "iTunes Match" and applies the proper capitalization.

Streaming iTunes Match
I was an early adopter to iTunes Match. In iOS 5, it was nice, but definitely not ideal. Actually, to be frank, it was hell on my data plan. I'm part of the AT&T Resistance, holding on for dear life to my grandfathered unlimited data plan. At some point, they decided to throttle users who consumed more than 3GB of data. Pretty much saying, "yeah, use all you want...if you can stand these slow ass speeds ::snicker snicker sneer sneer::" Every month since I subscribed to iTunes Match, I was reaching this 3GB data cap within like the first week of my billing cycle.

Previously, I would have to download music from the cloud to my device - it wasn't true streaming like Pandora. So I'd download music I wanted to listen to, play it for a while, then when my device filled up, I'd delete stuff and download again. The new way iTunes Match works is very similar to Pandora - but with my own music library. I haven't seen any official bandwidth usage numbers, but I know it's small. When I updated to iOS 6, I was already being throttled for the month, but was able to stream my music without a problem, even at prehistoric speeds. 

New Emoji
Lots of new colorful icons that I can string together to tell stories which would be much quicker to just type out. Or just annoy my Android friends with 😄😄😄. That's always fun. Now I can do stuff like this:

Don't judge me

Ok, this isn't completely under the radar. I like it. But I think I'm the only one. Even Apple admitted it's bad lol. Granted, I don't use it much, but for my purposes, it works fine. I loved the fact that it showed the map, live, on my lockscreen.

AND I got LTE on 7 Mile. #pow
Apple struggles sometimes with launches, but iteratively makes things better (e.g iPhone, Siri, and iTunes Match). Maps will mature. I'm not worried. And if it doesn't, hopefully Google will save us lol. That's the beauty of this platform - third-party developers can step in and fill the void. They are very resourceful, and looking to capitalize on this shortcoming. Either Apple will step up, or some other developer will create an app to satisfy the need.

One-Tap Updating
In the App Store, what's the point of having to enter my password just for updating an app? I guess Apple thought the same thing, so now you don't have to enter your AppleID password to update your already-purchased apps. I would like if they would do this for ALL free apps, but they probably won't.

I Don't Like
FaceTime over Cellular Racket

They advertised that you can now use FaceTime over cellular with iOS 6. I noticed that at the announcement, there were very few details about it. The real is that FaceTime over cellular is "incompatible" with the unlimited data plan. I'm straight. I'll just wait a couple months

Charging/ Cables Debacle 
Battery life leaves a lot to be desired. Since its inception, iPod has always had the same connector. Being that I've had numerous iDevices, I have lots of the 30-pin connector cables. They're literally everywhere I am - home, car, work. Now, I'm starting over, and have only one Lightning cable, that I have to carry with me everywhere, which increases the likelihood that I'll damage or lose it. They even made it difficult for the bootleggers, so I probably won't be able to get the $10 joints from the gas station anymore. That's that [stuff] I don't like.

Keyboard Flicker
Sometimes I notice a flickering in the keyboard. I'm not the only one.

The ability to adjust the old-resolution apps' position on my screen. I've had some mild difficulty going back and forth between typing on full-res apps and the old-style. The old-style apps are centered vertically on the iPhone 5's taller screen. This renders the keyboard slightly higher than in apps designed to utilize the iPhone 5's full display. I think it'd be cool if we were given the option to move this up and down on the screen to suit our preference. 

If I could slide the entire app down to the bottom of the screen, that would make typing consistent across all apps using the built-in keyboard.

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