Apple has launched its new flagship phone, the iPhone 5, and at the same time has released its latest mobile operating system (iOS-6) to anybody who can't afford the upgrade. Any iPhone from the 3GS upwards can be upgraded, and here are the features that you need to be aware of.
The google maps app, present from the start of the iPhone, is gone. Apple maps now sits in its place, and is essentially the same product (despite numerous grumblings to the contrary). There are bound to be localised issues that need resolving, but this map tool from Apple promises to be more responsive and straightforward than its predecessor.
You can also get turn-by-turn directions, and some locations offer a 3-D view - although the recently added street view of Google maps is nowhere to be seen.
You can now extert a lot of control on how your apps are allowed to notify you. Well-written apps will be configurable to issue drop-down alerts (when you're currently using the phone), as well as the usual feed-style messages to your notification bar (accessible when you swipe down from the top of the screen). In your notification settings you can decide which of these notifications each app is allowed to perform.
It's amazing that this feature is only just arriving on the iPhone. You can now specify the hours of the day that you don't want apps to alert you (when you're asleep, for instance), to save you getting disturbed by incoming emails, texts, etc. This is quite different from airplane mode, though, as the phone is still 'on' and receiving mobile/Internet messages as they happen - ready for when you check your phone in the morning. You can also choose which (if any) incoming calls are allowed to disturb you; your Favorites list is the default.
YouTube is no more - but have no fear, video junkies! All you need to do is download the google YouTube app from App Store. Job done!
All the Apple Passbook appears to be, is a set of links to various travel-oriented "Apps for Passbook" in the App Store. Even though it is inside the App Store, the Passbook section can only be accessed from the top-level Passbook icon that iOS-6 so kindly dumped on your desktop (and which can't be removed).
The App Store has been given a bit of a revamp, making the browsing experience more fluid. The Genius Bar (nothing to do with the Genius Bars in the Apple Stores) is a way for you to be given app recommendations based on your current usage. Nice idea, but only available in the US at the moment.
Safari remains the default pre-installed web browser (DoJ and EU courts take note) and full-screen mode is just a little upgrade that it's been given. It's only available in landscape mode (ie, widescreen), and the bottom right double-arrow icon appears. Tap it for full-screen, and tap again to exit full-screen. My irritation with this feature is that the icon shoves the window-manager icon out of the bottom right position, so I often find that I'm entering full-screen mode when I actually want to enter the window manager. I'll get used to it one day, I guess.