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Drew Bryce is a contributor to "The Hudsucker". When he isn't slaving away over a hot computer at work, he's playing with computers at home. Drew is an Android Lover and an Xbox gamer, and it is entirely possible that he bleeds 1's and 0's. He is a music freak, and is rarely seen without headphones on. Drew lives in Edinburgh, Scotland, eats a lot of haggis, and wears his kilt as often as possible.

iOS 6 Review

iOS 6 has finally launched, and I’m sure that for Apple fan boys and girls the world over, it must be like Christmas morning.

iOS6I’m an Android fan through and through, but I have to admit that I was looking forward to trying out Siri on my iPad, and seeing how Apple have managed to do Maps without Google.

Siri
As a primarily Android user and app developer, I was really interested to see how the latest version of Siri would compare against Google Now in Android Jellybean. To be honest, I’ve found the voice search function part of Google Now to be the part that I use the least (I’m far more likely to use the navigation or sports information that pops up on its own). So I’m not really sure if Siri will become much more than a gimmick for me. To try and keep the testing fair, I’m sticking just to voice searching, and ignoring Google Now’s other features.

In side by side tests of the voice searching:

Playing Music – Asking Google Now to “Play The Killers” allows me to direct the query at apps installed on my device. I choose Spotify, and a moment later, my phone is blaring out Mr Brightside. Unfortunately, Apple seem to have opted only to allow searching Apple content bought on iTunes, so this played no music.

General Knowledge – General knowledge questions like “who is the President of the United States” seemed to give fairly similar responses on both devices. Google Now seemed to respond faster, while Siri seemed to give more secondary information (like date of birth). More general questions like “how do you make an omelette” left both devices making a web search. The advantage of Google Now though, is that the search was performed straight away in app. In Siri, I had to click a button to say that I wanted an external web search to be performed, and then was kicked out to Safari from then.

Location – Asking both devices “Where am I” lead to a firm win by Apple, with Siri responding with my current street address, while Google Now had to revert to a web search.

Maps
Apple seem to have done a pretty solid job of their new Maps application, replacing the previously installed Google Maps app. I haven’t had a chance to try out the navigation yet, but the whole app seems to be an improvement over the (fairly limited) Maps app that was available before.

YouTube
One of the obvious casualties of the Google-Apple wars is the removal of the YouTube app from the default Apple lineup. I can’t imagine even the more hardcore of Apple fan elite will be too happy to see this go.

Facebook and Twitter Integration
The latest iOS comes with social network integration to allow faster sharing of content to your stream. While this is a welcome change, it seems a shame to lock this down to Facebook and Twitter, rather than the “Share to App” features of Android that allow you to share to any app you want.

FaceTime
FaceTime users will be happy to see that it can finally be used over 3G, so you aren’t locked down to times that you have a WiFi hotspot nearby.

Overall
All in, iOS 6 is easily the best release that Apple has made, and no doubt it will be a big part of selling the iPhone 5. I can’t really be too down on it, because it’s good to see the improvements coming in. I guess the main complaint seems to be that many of the features are playing catch up to features already available on Android and Windows Mobile. It would be great to see something truly revolutionary.

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