Books written by Ray Sullivan

Saturday, 10 November 2012

Is iOS 6 the iOS From Hell?

Operating systems are never popular subjects on the message boards.  If your OS is working well then you probably don't even notice, but when they play up, everybody notices.

Apple have had a busy quarter, what with launching a new phone and a mini tablet as well as a new notebook.  They've also launched a new version of their popular iOS, now in version 6. They are a predictable bunch, those guys over at Apple, and when they have decided to upgrade the iOS previously it was generally seen as a Good Thing.

But the release of iOS 6 seems to have raised the ire of a few users.  Like I say above, those not experiencing problems have no reason to say anything but it seems that there is a significant group, who may or may not be a minority, who have gripes about this release.

We have noticed at home that managing the data in iTunes has become a pain - dragging tunes and albums off a device so that other music can replace them used to be straightforward, allowing users to use the iPhone/iPad/Touch as a kind of jukebox.  Since loading iOS the process has become a real pain in the proverbial, requiring a lot of hoop jumping and much swiping of screens.  Now this could be just tardy software testing by Apple or it could be a sneaky way to make iTunes Match seem like a good idea.  If so, I hate to mention to Apple that screwing your customers around is hardly the way to get them to pay £22 a year.

But then again, the net is filling up with people who are using iOS 6 and iTunes Match that are running into problems such as zero length running times, so perhaps this is genuine cock up, not a cynical attempt to persuade users to start using the paid for service (which is about to be matched itself by Google for free).

Other users are reporting that their iPhone battery consumption has rocketed since downloading the latest version.  What is clear is that this isn't universal.  It is also apparently reversible by making changes to settings in iOS and with certain apps.  It could simply be that you have to ensure all your apps are updated to make them compatible with the new version; hardly sinister but then again hardly customer friendly either.

Another issue that keeps on rearing its head on the forums is WiFi connectivity, or rather the occasional lack of it.  It seems that since the new version was launched, some users have experienced flaky WiFi, with their devices losing the plot.  So much like real life.  There is a strong rumour that a feature that was in the beta version but didn't make it to the release, dropped at the last minute by all accounts, may be to blame.  The feature was called Wi-Fi Plus Cellular and it was designed to augment flaky Wi-Fi so that users could continue receiving data whenever the wireless got choked in public places.  The rumour is that part of the code is still in the iOS and some apps may be trying to use it, dragging down the Wi-Fi in the process.  If so, perhaps Apple could market it as iRony.

None of this is going to help you if you run into problems with iOS 6 - we spent a night trawling message boards for guidance on how to clear a few albums off an iPhone to replace them with three new ones and although we managed it eventually, we're really not sure which advice worked in the end.  It's the same with all the other potential issues, apart from a common thread about resetting - eek - and, of course, turning it off and back on again.  And that advice should only be dispensed by an IT professional, right?

What may, possibly, help is that the guy who oversaw the launch of iOS 6 and the abysmal mapping app that allegedly allowed one to start a journey on the Golden Gate Bridge and exit on the other side in Widnes, a good deal for those hoping to escape Widnes but a nightmare for San Franciscans  Anyway the guy involved, Scott Forstall, has been given the boot.  That won't help most of us day-to-day, I'm fairly certain he didn't get too close to the code anyway, but he's being replaced by the guy who is responsible for much of Apple's hardware designs.  Think sleek, unfussy and you might glimpse a fragment of his approach to design.  Whether he can tidy up iOS 6 into a less buggy, neater iOS 7 remains to be seen, but if the complaints on the net keep on increasing I guess we'll get the chance to judge sooner rather than later.


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