iOS 6 Upgrade Is Relatively Painless and Potentially Rewarding

NEWS ANALYSIS: While iOS 6 is actually pretty nice, it still has a number of quirks such as the way the Facebook integration works and because Siri still gets confused at times. But it is still worth the time required to download the upgrade.

I started my quest to get iOS 6 running on my third-generation iPad shortly after midnight Sept.19. However, I was perplexed when I got the message that my software was up-to-date when I selected the Software Update choice on the settings menu. I tried a couple more times with the same results. This didn't seem to be a good sign, and I had promised my editors that I would have a column about what you got with the upgrade.

Finally, it occurred to me to check when Apple would actually make iOS 6 available. That explained everything. Since 1 a.m. was still a little while off, I watched another episode of Storage Wars and tried again. I still had no luck. This time I checked more closely. The right time was 1 p.m. EDT, which explained a lot.

When 1 p.m. finally rolled around, I tried to do the update. I wasn't expecting much, since the last time I had tried an iOS update, it had taken hours to get the download started. But apparently Apple had found a way to do it better, because the download started on the first try. About 50 minutes later, iOS 6 was installed and ready to be set up. This required my Apple ID password, confirmation that I agreed to the terms of use and I had to tell iOS 6 whether I wanted to use Siri.

When that's done, the first thing you'll note is that iOS 6 looks just like iOS 5.1. There's a new icon for the world clock and a longer list of items in the settings menu. Siri pops up when you press and hold the home button and lets you provide voice input when you touch the microphone button.

The mapping program is one of Apple's big deals. It's supposed to let you do turn-by-turn voice navigation, and show you details on restaurants along with satellite and map views. It replaces Google Maps, and while some features are nice, some are missing, including walking directions and mass transit information. On the other hand, when I asked Siri where I was, it gave me the right address on the first try, which is more than Google Maps ever did.

Siri, as you probably know by now, has been upgraded with information about restaurants and sports. So when I asked Siri, "What are the Nationals' standings?" Siri showed me the National League standings and replied that the team was in first place.

Wayne Rash

Wayne Rash

Wayne Rash is a freelance writer and editor with a 35 year history covering technology. He’s a frequent speaker on business, technology issues and enterprise computing. He covers Washington and...