Wow, the iPad mini rumors are really heating up. I'm really looking forward to the announcement this month. Today AppleInsider shared the rumor that production of the mini has begun in Brazil. And the French website NWE has posted a ton of photos comparing a mockup of the iPad mini with other tablets and phones. It gives a clear picture of how the new device compares with the current iPad and with tablets such as the Kindle Fire HD and the Google Nexus 7.
Usage of Apple's new Maps app is way down, as users switch to alternatives out of frustration with the problems they're having with it. Earlier today Apple CEO Tim Cook apologized in an open letter: "At Apple, we strive to make world-class products that deliver the best experience possible to our customers. With the launch of our new Maps last week, we fell short on this commitment.
Ever since the release of iOS 6, there have been reports of problems with WiFi. At first it was thought to be limited to the iPhone 5, but then there were reports of problems among users of earlier iPhones as well as iPads. According to CNET, the reports of problems have filled up 93 pages on Apple's discussion forums. And while that sounds like a lot, the article acknowledges that there's not yet any indication of how widespread the issue is, and many users aren't having any problem at all.
All Things D reported today why Apple switched to their own maps solution from the popular Google app: Google refused to enable voice-guided turn-by-turn directions. A maps app without voice-guided directions is problematic, because you have to take your eyes off the road to look at your phone. I paid $50 this summer for the Tom Tom app and found the voice directions invaluable when I was traveling.
I got my first hands-on experience with an iPhone 5 today, and I couldn't have imagined how cool it is. I mean, I've been reading (and reporting) the rumors for months. So it should have been ho-hum. But once you hold it and see how much thinner and lighter it is, and how the new shape feels sort of elegant, there's just something inside that says, "Yes, this is cool, this is gorgeous design, this is what a smartphone should be." I just didn't think that I'd be wowed, but I was.
The reviews of the iPhone 5 are generally quite positive, and Apple clearly has yet another winner. BUT... if you get one be sure to get a case. As the iFixit video below shows, the new iPhone scuffs more easily than the iPhone 4S. While the test in the video below shows some pretty vigorous scraping and banging with a set of keys and a steel ring to produce the scuff marks, in real world usage you won't likely be treating your phone so harshly. Still, you can imagine that over time it could collect some signs of wear.
With the blogosphere buzzing with complaints about Apple's new Maps app in iOS 6, Apple responded with a statement to the website All Things D: "Customers around the world are upgrading to iOS 6 with over 200 new features including Apple Maps, our first map service. We are excited to offer this service with innovative new features like Flyover and Siri integration, and free turn by turn navigation. We launched this new map service knowing that it is a major initiative and we are just getting started with it.
Wow, it didn't take long for a flurry of articles to appear regarding the shortcomings of the new Maps app. My initial impression is that it's speedy and useful, and am confident Apple will work out the bugs. But it's clear there's a lot of work to be done. CNET has posted an article documenting some of the many errors in the app: giving the wrong names for cities, leaving out locations, putting locations in the wrong place.
Macworld has posted a hands-on guide to installing iOS 6. Installation is typically fairly simple and routine, but this overview is very helpful. It tells which devices can run it, and what features won't be available on all devices. It tells what you need to do to prepare to install (that is, make sure everything is backed up) and walks you through the two basic options of either installing "over the air" or installing by syncing with iTunes on your desktop computer. The guide also covers the option of restoring and then updating — wiping your iOS device clean and then installing iOS 6. You can then either set it up as a new device or restore all of your files from an iCloud backup.