Yesterday, Apple released the latest beta of its iOS 6 software, iOS 6.1 Beta 3, which is the third Beta for the company’s upcoming iOS 6.1 update for the iPhone, iPad and iPod touch. The update will most likely represent the biggest update to date to Apple’s iOS 6 software following in the footsteps of iOS 6.0.1, a bug fix update that rolled out earlier this year.
With the arrival of the iPhone 5 in September came Apple’s latest piece of mobile software, iOS 6, an update that offered over 200 new features from the earlier version of iOS, iOS 5. A few of those features included an improved Siri, Do Not Disturb, Apple’s new Maps software, Passbook, and a host of other features that made it Apple’s most advanced mobile operating system to date.
I’ve used iOS 6 since it arrived on my iPhone 5 back in September and when iOS 6.0.1 was released, I immediately downloaded and installed it. iOS 6.0.1 though was a bug fix update and didn’t really bring anything new to the table. iOS 6.1 figures to change that.
While it won’t be as massive of an update as iOS 7, it still looks to bring some new features to the table, patch some of the lingering issues up from iOS 6.0.1, and hold iPhone, iPad and iPod touch owners like myself over until the next iOS update and iOS 7’s likely arrival at WWDC 2013 next summer.
And because the iPhone 5 and iPad third-generation are my daily drivers, I’ve given a bit of thought to Apple’s upcoming iOS 6.1 update, even if it’s going to be a relatively small piece of software.
Here are my thoughts and expectations about iOS 6.1, Apple’s first big update since September’s release of iOS 6.
February Release Date Likely
With the release of iOS 6.1 Beta 3, we can take a closer look at when exactly the official, final version of the update will be released to iPhone, iPad and iPod touch owners. Apple has yet to announce any sort of release date for the iOS 6.1 update and it likely won’t given its past. Generally, the update will just start rolling out unannounced and I expect the same to happen with iOS 6.1.
As for its release date, February appears likely and here’s why. On January 9th, Apple released iOS 5.1 Beta 3. That release came after iOS 5 arrived in October with the iPhone 4S. Apple released iOS 5.1 to iDevice owners just under two months later on March 7th.
Assuming Apple follows this pattern, iOS 6.1 will likely come in 2013 and more specifically, around the end of January or at the beginning of February. So approximately two months from now.
Apple Maps Needs All the Help It Can Get
One of the known features of iOS 6.1 is a more prominent place for the “Report a Problem” feature contained within Apple Maps. And while it’s not going to fix Apple Maps over night, it’s certainly a welcomed feature because Apple’s Maps application needs all of the help it can get.
Over the past couple of months, I can probably count on two hands the amount of times I’ve knowingly opened and used the application. Ever since Google added Street View to its Google web application, I’ve used it without hesitation. I don’t think we’ll see any massive improvements until iOS 7 but I think the inclusion of this feature in iOS 6.1 will encourage people, myself included, to send in some of the more prominent errors that they find.
Still Won’t Use Siri
Apple is going to be outfitting Siri with a new feature that allows iPhone, iPad and iPod touch owners to purchase tickets through Fandango. Even with the new feature though, I still won’t use Siri.
I find it to be too unreliable and impractical. For instance, my San Diego State Aztecs were playing UCLA in basketball over the weekend. It took me three attempts to track down the box score and even then, it didn’t offer me anything beyond the score. To me, that’s useless and it’s much more practical to open up the ESPN ScoreCenter application and tap to find the box score and the in-depth stats.
The addition of movie purchases is a nice touch but it’s not going to sway me into using Siri on a consistent basis.
Make the Random Reboots Stop
One of the big issues I’ve had with my iPhone 5 is a random reboot issue. The issue is not as sporadic as the random reboots that HTC ThunderBolt owners had to endure last year but it’s still frustrating nonetheless.
What happens is, my iPhone 5 will very suddenly take me to the boot up screen with the white Apple logo. Very swiftly, it will move from that screen and it will then bring me to the lock screen. The process takes about 5-7 seconds but it’s happened when I am doing an assortment of things including responding to messages or looking at sports scores within an app.
I’m really hoping that iOS 6.1 puts a stop to the issue though I’m not holding my breath.