By now everyone has formed an opinion on the new iOS 6 that accompanies Apple (AAPL)’s iPhone 5. Admittedly, that opinion largely revolves around the new map application.
The upgrade to iOS 6 was an instant loss of functionality for many people who had come to rely on Google (GOOG) Maps and its public transit directions. Users around the world have been compiling screenshots (theamazingios6maps.tumblr.com
After upgrading to iOS 6 last week, I’m finding the commotion over maps to be overblown despite being well justified. In the last week and a half, I’ve also realized the new feature overshadows many other minor changes that have confused the iPhone experience:
Menu designs are a bit quirky. This is something I doubt many users will care about but that I find indicative of some important detail oversight. Music menus are a bit lighter, buttons a little less rounded, bars greyer, and text in a less familiar font is thinner, cheaper looking. Tabs at the bottom of the music player and apps store are less substantial.
Losing YouTube is a blow for those looking to sharing videos with friends. I found it frustrating when I couldn’t demonstrate Nicolas Cage’s acting skills in The Wicker Man.
Panoramas photos are fun for a few minutes but they are novel more than anything else. Photos are a lot easier to sort into albums and share but these, too, are bonuses and not integral.
Passbook. This new app appeared suddenly on my home screen. It remains unused.
On the iPhone 5′s release Apple’s stock price took a parabolic journey up to $700 and closing at $665.18. Hype and criticism over the new operating system has had a similar trajectory (ending in subtle disappointment).
What does this say about Apple’s strategy going forward? It’s obvious they are trying to encourage third party app developers to support Passbook, provide video content, create other public transit navigators, etc. The lighter menu designs and fragmentation of existing applications points at an ambition to encompass more and more functions, apps, and possibly widgets. This is a massive departure from my understanding of Apple as the user-friendly compiler of overwhelming possibilities into a singular chicly cased, modality. To have all of your core needs filled in as few apps as possible.
As the Apple/Google dichotomy continues heat up, users are the ultimate loser while each company is bound to lose users to competition.