Free iPhone 5/iOS 6 user guide ebook from Apple; Alternate maps app

In my experience, ebook guides to iOS can be very helpful, such as the one I bought that covers all aspects of iCloud. And now for the lucky owners of the new iPhone 5, Apple has released the free ebook iPhone User Guide for iOS 6. You can download it from the iBook Store or via iTunes. You can also access this book in your browser as a pdf file. Note that the focus of the book is on the iPhone 5, and it's likely somewhat less useful for those running iOS 6 on another device — but is still worth downloading. After all, it's free. 

It's substantial, at 33 chapters. If you print it out for handy access, it comes out to 153 printed pages.

Like any manual, it begins with an overview explaining the buttons and accessories. Then it goes into the things you need to do to get started, such as installing the SIM card, setting up and activating, setting up iCloud, syncing with iTunes, etc. The chapter on the basics goes over such things as typing, dictation, voice control, sharing, security features and much more. After covering this initial ground, the book then dedicates a chapter to each of the main functions and apps, such as Siri, the phone features, Mail, Music, Safari, Messages, Photos, Calendar, Passbook, App Store, Game Center, etc.  It concludes with a chapter on the Settings.

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If you're an iPad owner and are feeling left out, check out Gizmo's The Best iPad Tips and Tricks. This page has a wealth of tips, including some that are specific to iOS 5 & 6. The categories of tips include Apps, Browser, Editing, Screen & Wallpaper, and more.

Also, speaking of tips, in an earlier post I mentioned alternative maps apps for those disappointed in Apple's effort. One that I didn't mention is discussed in a great article on Business Insider: Nokia's web app for maps. Just point your mobile browser at The article says that Nokia's mapping solution is second only to Google Maps. It offers features missing in Apple Maps, such as publici transportation directions and local search. The article uses screen shots and walks you through using Nokia Maps, including creating an icon for it on your home screen for easy access.

I think this is an excellent option and definitely worth a try.

If you're curious why Apple pulled the plug on Google Maps, check out a post on CNN Money. It explains that basically all maps use crowdsourcing to compile their data. As you use the app, it's gaining valuable information for the database that feeds it. The post says that for five years Apple fed that information back to Google, but that it was now important for Apple to build its own database. In an interesting note, the article says that the aforementioned maps app by Nokia cost them $8 billion to develop. No wonder it's a good option to Google Maps. 

My feeling is that for now, you may want to check out alternatives to Apple Maps. But I'm confident that once Apple works out the bugs and continues to refine its app, it will be the best. 

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Jim Karpen holds a Ph.D. in literature and writing, and has a love of gizmos. His doctoral dissertation focused on the revolutionary consequences of digital technologies and anticipated some of the developments taking place in the industry today. Jim has been writing about the Internet and technology since 1994 and has been using Apple's visionary products for decades.