by James A. Martin

3 Things to Love about iOS 6—and 2 to Hate

Sep 20, 20124 mins

After spending some time with Apple's new iOS 6 iPhone software, blogger James A. Martin found a few things to love—Bluetooth is free at last!—and a couple of things he wishes he hadn't found at all.

I’ve had a couple of hours to poke around in iOS 6, the iPhone OS update Apple released on Wednesday. It didn’t take long at all to form some initial impressions. Here’s what I love—and don’t love—so far, based on my initial experiences using iOS 6 on my iPhone 4 and current-generation, Wi-Fi-only iPad.

Let’s start with the bad stuff.

Hate: No turn-by-turn directions on some iOS devices.

For a while now, Google has given Android users spoken turn-by-turn directions for free. With iOS 6, Apple gave Google Maps the boot and replaced it with its own free Maps app.

But turn-by-turn navigation is only available on the iPhone 4S, iPhone 5, iPad 2 or later and the fifth-generation iPod touch. Honestly, I don’t see any logical reason why my iPhone 4 couldn’t handle Apple’s turn-by-turn navigation, especially since I’ve been getting spoken directions on the device for a while now using Magellan RoadMate USA (a $50 iOS app). This is an obvious Apple ploy to motivate people to upgrade to a newer device, which, of course, I’m planning to do anyway. And there you have it: a veritable microcosm of life in Apple’s walled garden.

My current-gen Wi-Fi iPad won’t give me spoken turn-by-turn directions either, not that I expected it to. You need an iPad with cellular wireless, as those tablets also have GPS technology built in and the Wi-Fi-only models do not. The footnote on Apple’s Maps page, however, doesn’t specify that turn-by-turn directions work only with cellular-enabled iPads and not iPads connected to a personal hotspot.

Hate: Siri is still ‘beta’

The guy that cuts my hair, Gene Hays, is just that: a guy. His name is not “Jean Hayes.” And so, when I asked Siri to give me directions to Gene Hays’ work address, she couldn’t find “Jean Hayes” in my address book—and Siri was, therefore, stumped.

So I tried a different route, asking Siri to “give me directions to Mes Amis 193 salon,” which is the name of Gene’s salon in San Francisco. Siri’s response: “I couldn’t find any places matching “Meza me.” On a second try, she couldn’t find any places matching “Amazing me.” On the third try, well, you get the idea. Siri is still sorry a bit too often. And she’s not available on my iPhone 4, either.

Siri on iPad

Now for some good stuff.

Love: Bluetooth is now its own menu item in Settings.

Once buried under Settings > General, Bluetooth has come out into the light of day. It’s now easily accessible in Settings, right under Wi-Fi, where it should have been all along. Hallelujah.

Love: The new Privacy setting.

Speaking of settings, here’s a new one: Privacy. App developers now have to ask your permission to access personal data on your iDevice. Using the new iOS 6 Privacy setting, in the general Settings list of items, you can see the information that’s being accessed by certain apps. You can also easily turn that access on and off.

iOS 6 Privacy settings

Love: Reply With Message and Remind Me Later.

When someone calls at an inopportune moment, iPhone users with iOS 6 now have four choices. Decline or accept the call, as always; decline and send a text message to the caller (messages are pre-written but you can customize them); or decline and set a time- or location-based reminder to call back. When you later receive the reminder, it gives you an option to click to call that person back, which is nice. These new decline-call options alone will save me time—and perhaps prevent me from getting into trouble with my friends for not calling them back.