WWDC - 2012 - iOS - 001

Apple’s iOS 6 announcements at WWDC 2012 excited some folks. But there are others who were less than wowed by what they saw. We already covered some of the new software’s top features, but perhaps as a counterpoint, here’s another take.

I know, I know — it has become such a cliché now, but there’s still a feeling that iOS 6 is “more evolutionary than revolutionary.” While the changes are welcome — as a lifestyle editor, there are definitely a few that I’m looking forward to checking out — none of them have greatly reinvented how we do… well, anything.

That’s not to say there weren’t some noteworthy things unveiled, such as:

  • New maps: Turn-by-turn directions (yay!), detailed 3D aerial maps (wow) and the evidence that Google Maps has definitively been kicked to the curb (whoa)
  • Siri delivering better, more useful search results now (nice), rocking out multilingually (yay!), launching more apps by voice (awesome) and arriving on the new iPad (double awesome)
  • Facebook integration (great for some, though not for those minimizing their Facebook usage, I guess. Erg)
  • VIP email inbox and photo attachments from within Mail (yes, please!)
  • Easier sharing between OS X computers and iOS devices (not on the edge of my seat waiting for it, but it seems like a handy thing for iOS 6-toting Mountain Lion users)

It may just be me, but the rest of the presentation — covering stuff like Photo Stream sharing and Pass Book — barely registered. Maybe it’s because I know that they’ll mostly sit dormant on my handset, just taking up room. And Do Not Disturb? I already have that — it’s called, “Just power the darn thing down” mode, or “Set it to silent, you forgetful doofus.” (Yeah, if I forget to put it on “silent,” what hope is there I’ll remember to set DND?)

As for the bigger changes spotlighted — such as turn-by-turn directions and Facebook integration — here’s the thing: As much as I look forward to getting my hands on them, I’m also well aware that these aren’t game-changing new features. They’ve been present in other operating systems for a while now. (*cough* Android *cough*.) Sure, Apple will have its own Applesque way of approaching them, and there are no shortage of iFans looking forward to experiencing the company’s spin/refinement/rip-off (depending on your point of view). But if this is the year that the iPhone’s hardware design gets a big change-up, it would’ve been great to see some radical new software revamps to go along with it.

And that leads me to what could be the biggest disappointment of them all: (*Ahem* clears throat) Where are my widgets?? After all, the company’s clearly not shy about taking cues from others, so why not this too? At least it would’ve freshened up the homescreen. Speaking of — what gives? Isn’t five years of app grids enough?

If all or part of that sentiment rings true for you, I have a small glimmer of hope: The iPhone 5 hasn’t been announced yet. That leaves many users wondering if maybe the best is being saved for later. Of course, we won’t know for sure until the fall, but take heart: If there’s more in store, there will probably be copious leaks hitting before then. In fact, you can bet that the technorati are hard at work, tearing apart the developer preview for clues. (There’s even a jailbreak for the beta already done.)

So that’s iOS 6, at least for me and at least so far. Of the major features (of the 200-some new tweaks), there were some good things in the announcements, some things that were even great, but “revolutionary” was in pretty short supply.

Final thought: I sorely missed the spice and anticipation that years of “one more thing” used to bring to these events. Of course, Tim Cook will need to find his own presentation style, and not call upon flourishes of the past. Still, “have a great week” just didn’t have the same panache.

What did you think of the iOS 6 announcements? Were they a rousing success for you, or was it a lackluster showing? And if it’s the latter, do you think Apple might be saving “one more thing” for the iPhone 5 event? Share your thoughts and impressions below.