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iOS 6: The Best And The Worst Features

Today is the day iOS 6 arrives, and it’s going to make your iPhone better than ever. Here are all the reasons why you should upgrade to Apple’s latest mobile operating system.

The Good

Facebook

Maybe the best and most overdue addition. (Almost) everyone uses Facebook, so the deeper it’s stuffed into the soul of iOS, the better. Now, just like Twitter, you can directly link your Facebook account with your iOS, allowing your phone to talk directly to Mark Zuckerberg’s big beautiful brain. You can directly post photos from your photo album to Facebook, update your status from Notification Center, and sync your contact list with each person’s corresponding Facebook account. It takes a big step into the turf of Windows Phone — the current lord of social media integration. We want to see more of this.

Facetime Over 3G/4G

It took a couple years, but now FaceTime is as good as it could have been all along: make video calls from anywhere you have a mobile signal. It will kick your data plan in the shins, but the difference between mobile data and Wi-Fi is minor, and video quality is decent.

Power Privacy

This one’s simple: there’s now a list in settings of all the apps that have requested access to your location, contacts, calendars, reminders and photos. Turn access on and off as you see fit, or set a Do Not Disturb timer to keep your phone from ringing from all but the most important calls.

Sweet Rejection

Screening your calls and generally avoiding mankind is streamlined in iOS 6. Want to ignore someone? You can reject that person’s call with a reminder to hit back later, or you can send a pre-programmed “hey sorry man I’m busy what’s up” excuse text while simultaneously rejecting the call. All it takes is a quick swipe up on an incoming call, choose your method of avoidance, and with a couple of taps you’ve managed to dodge another call. You can also customise your reply messages with all sorts of zany excuses. It’s brilliant.

Remodelled iTunes Store

Talk about stale! The iTunes Store on your phone was never easy to get around: too many lists, too many sections, too much scrolling. In iOS 6 it gets a chic makeover, highly reminiscent of the glamorous Apple TV storefront. The new iTunes Store also adds clever horizontal scrolling through lists and categories, which is less of a pain, and allows for a more digestible spread of information on a non-television screen. Featured albums, apps, videos and the like are all sorted together with big eye-easy graphics. It won’t cost you any less, but you’ll spend less sanity on your downloads.

The Bad

Passbook

There’s no NFC in the new iPhone, but you’ll be able to use your screen as a scannable gift card, boarding pass or shopping voucher with Passbook, which creates a virtual bundle of all those annoying cards you cram into your wallet. Here’s an ideal little scenario for you: a free cup of coffee at some cafe because you’ve got a $25 credit built right into your phone. Hand it to the cashier, beep, coffee, slurp, bye. Or at least that’s the idea.

Right now, there aren’t really any apps available for Passbook in Australia. Airlines like Qantas and Virgin Australia are investigating the use of Passbook, but nothing is live just yet, making it a thumbs-down in our books. For now at least.

New Maps

Apple kicked Google out of its mapping party and made its own. It’s a very mixed bag. Flyover and 3D building support for Australian capital cities is…interesting, but right now it’s not much more than just another party trick.

There’s a huge amount of detail missing. Check out Sydney’s Bondi Beach, for example. Where’s the beach?!

There are a few positives though, like vector based vs bitmap graphics.

The new maps are not bitmap-based anymore. Say goodbye to the horrible and slow tile loading. Now they are vector based, which means faster loading-it still loads sectors, but very fast based in our hands on experience-and smoother, much better graphics.

But that’s not enough to save it.

Turn-by-turn navigation is also a disappointment. Why? Because we don’t have it. Apple’s Maps will provide turn-by-turn navigation, just like any other car GPS app. It looks quite good, but we wouldn’t know how it goes just yet. Australia will get this functionality in October.

Siri Functionality

She has a lot more stuff to do, but still doesn’t do much of it in Australia. Siri Directions isn’t available, which means she can’t tell you where you are or where to go, and while she can tell you all about the restaurants and cafés near you, you’ll still have to book them all yourself the old fashioned way. She can also tell you all about movies, but you’ll have to use Google if you want to know when and where they’re playing.

What else have you noticed? What’s good? What sucks? Tell us in the comments