HOUSTON – We’ve seen the lines of people waiting to spend hundreds of dollars for the new iPhone 5, but if you already own an Apple device, you probably can get something free out of the company.
On Wednesday, Apple released iOS 6. This is the software that runs its iPad, iPod Touch, and the iPhone. If you have an iPhone 3GS or later, you can download the update, but there are several changes and complaints to be aware of. Once you upgrade, you can’t go back!
== Google Maps ==
It’s gone. Several weeks ago Apple announced it created its own maps app, further separating the company from Google, which makes Android. The good news is Apple’s map app offers turn-by-turn directions – great for navigating in the car. The bad news is there are reported glitches the company needs to work out. There have been reports that some map data is missing or heavily distorted.
== YouTube ==
It’s also gone, for the same reasons above. iPhone users can download the YouTube app from the App Store, but Google hasn’t yet released an app for the iPad.
== Siri ==
Nothing bad to report here, except it still is not available to any users prior to the iPhone 4S. New features for the iOS 6 version of Siri include linkage with Facebook and Twitter. Yes, you can post your thoughts online just by speaking them out loud. You can also ask Siri for movie reviews and sport scores.
== Photos ==
iPhone 4S users and iPhone 5 users will really like iOS 6. A new feature will let you create cool 360-degree panoramic photos. The iPhone does all the work, stitching the photos together. iCloud users will also like the ability to immediately “stream” their photos to the web as soon as they are taken. This is a great way to immediately back up all the photos you take, but of course it comes with an iCloud service fee.
== E-mail ==
The e-mail app has a handy tool called VIP. You can mark any sender as “important,” and anytime you get a message from them, the e-mail will be put in a special VIP folder, and you’ll be alerted to it.
== Passbook ==
Passbook is a new app that captures all your store membership discount cards, tickets, and coupons. This way you don’t have to carry around a bunch of paper. As a warning: check with the venue or store you intend to do this with. Some places, still, only like their coupons in paper.
== Clock Lawsuit in the Works? ==
A Swiss clock maker says the new iOS 6’s clock design is a direct knockoff of the design it’s been using since 1944 to make real clocks. The design is very unique, and when put side by side, they are very much alike. Switzerland’s federal railway, which owns the trademark, says it will take legal action against Apple.
Having said all that, if you want the update, it’s easy to do: Just go to the “Settings” app on your device and look for the updates section. Owners of older devices may need to plug it in to their computer and iTunes to perform the update, something I recommend anyway so you can do a backup at the same time.