It’s been an interesting software release, to say the least. The bugs that still haunt iOS users who try to upgrade are so bad that even Archos’ software looks good in comparison. That’s not the only way that Apple has dropped the ball with iOS 5 though, and I’ve counted 10 ways they screwed us users with this release. Read on for the list. There are probably more as well (I can certainly think of more minor ones), so feel free to add any you’ve found yourself in the comments.
1: It might break your device, or if you’re lucky simply not work. Yeah, that nightmarish update process has actually left devices requiring full blown restores, while in other cases it still doesn’t work. Considering how wide spread this issue is, there has to be a serious gap in Apple’s quality control to let this get out in the first place.
2: Siri is 4S only. No, it does not require the hardware the 4S has. Dragon Dictate speech recognition software has been running on iDevices for years without problem, and it’s not like Apple is offering it on the iPad 2 which has identical hardware as the 4S. It’s greed, pure and simple. Considering that Siri is as much an accessibility feature as it is anything else, I sincerely hope there’s a class lawsuit against Apple for this.
3: iTunes in the Cloud doesn’t work in all countries. iTunes Match, now that I can see there being licensing issues with, as it uploads music and so on. But iTunes in the Cloud, which only lets you access the music you rightfully bought and paid for, now that is not something you put a country lockout on Apple. My home country of Norway is one of the countries affected by this. Maybe I’ll just start using the right given to me by §12 in our copyright law, which basically says that I can copy music and give it away to close friends and family for free without breaking the law. How’s that for accessing what I paid for?
4: Location based reminders. iPhone 3GS and iPad users didn’t get this feature in the new task app, for reasons unknown. The 3GS has GPS built in, and so does many iPads. Worst of all, you can’t delete that ugly ass app from the device because nothing that Apple has made ever needs to be deleted, now does it?
5: Multitouch gestures don’t work on the iPad 1. Seriously, Apple? Are you just throwing darts at a feature list to see what you should arbitrarily remove for each device? I don’t really care much for these gestures myself, but I know iPad 1 owners that do, and you also can’t ignore the fact that this feature would make an ipad 1 usable even if the home button breaks – which does happen.
6: Multitouch gestures break wrist protection. Cocoa Box, the developer of Penultimate, wrote a blog post about this. Apple’s lacking API is the reason why wrist protection for handwriting apps doesn’t work well to begin with, forcing developers to use less than ideal ways of keeping those random pen strokes away from your notes. Then Apple decides to stuff multitouch gestures in there with no way for the apps to override those in order to keep using existing wrist protection systems. If you’re doing anything, Apple, improve the API – don’t make it even more of a pain.
7: Paint and iOS 5 = new iPod touch. At least according to Apple logic. They proudly presented an iPod touch at the iPhone even, but when the dust settled, nothing actually changed. They’ve made a white version and slapped iOS 5 on it, and that’s apparently enough to call it a new device. No A5 chip, no better camera, nothing.
8: 5GB included storage for iCloud. I thought this would be enough seeing as how it doesn’t count apps and such, but I was very wrong. I already got an email from Apply saying that my storage space was about to run out, because apparently application data adds up quickly when you use your iPad for something productive like studies. If you buy a hard drive these days you can easily get 20GB per dollar, so how Apple came up with a $20/year price for 10GB extra storage is beyond me.
9: TV rentals went poof. The new amazingly awesome iTunes in the Cloud lets users download their purchased content whenever they want, so why would anyone rent a TV episode anymore when they can pay more and buy it for later use? That was truly the logic that Apple used when this was first known.
10: We’re in October. The update cycle for the iPhone took longer than usual this time, by a third of a year roughly. I guess that’s why people expected something that’s an actual upgrade, rather than the A5 equipped iPhone 4 with better camera that came out. The iPhone aside though, iOS 5 was announced in June. The features I wrote about earlier are exactly the same features I listed on June 6th, more than 4 months ago. You screwed people out of an iPhone this summer Apple, the least you could have done was give them a new OS. Last year you did the same thing to iPad owners by delaying their version of iOS, and this year you extended the courtesy to everyone. Some would say that’s taking a slightly wrong turn somewhere. Between only software updates to the Nano and Touch, no update to the Shuffle, minor hardware updates to the iPhone and minor software updates to an OS that is running around breaking devices, this has not been a good month for Apple. Maybe this is what we have to look forward to now that Steve Jobs is out of the picture.