Critics call Apple iOS 6 "catch-up" technology

Some surprising nuance from Android, iOS camps – along with plenty of old-style pitchforking

Apple's launch of iOS 6 yesterday at the Worldwide Developer Conference did a lot to wow the tech media world -- but some mobile users seem less than overwhelmed.

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An informal poll on the popular Mac Rumors forum shows that a surprising number of respondents -- 45% -- said that iOS 6 was a disappointment. While it's important not to read too far into informal, unscientific surveys like this, the discontent in the forum discussion that followed was palpable.

Many users expressed disappointment that some of iOS 6's new features, including turn-by-turn directions, Facebook integration, and SMS responses to missed calls, have been present in competitors like Android for some time.

"Very disappointed. Most of the additions have been available on my other devices for years. Playing catch up is fine, but they need to add features that other devices don't have in addition to the catch[-]up features," wrote user matttye.

A lengthy discussion of the iOS 6 announcement on the Android sub-reddit echoed many of those considerations, though others noted that Android has had to play some catch-up of its own over the years, in terms of features like pinch-zoom and a smoothed-out, easy-to-use interface.

"For those of us around for Eclair, pinch to zoom was a major feature that android had to 'catch up' on. Hardware accelerated UI is a more recent one," said redditor givequicheachance.

A couple, in fact, even highlighted that the "who was first" debate over features is more than an Apple vs. Android. More than one r/Android user pointed out that the reply-with-text feature had been a part of Windows Mobile since at least Version 6.1, for example.

While the new Maps app was generally agreed to be pretty impressive by both groups, some Apple users noted that many of the other new features of iOS 6 would only be available to those with the latest and greatest Apple hardware -- generally the iPhone 4S, iPad 2 and third-generation iPad.

Despite the thoughtful discussion from some parts of both user bases, however, many others seemed intent on engaging in the usual flame war, with Apple fans singing iOS 6's praises to the rafters, and Android partisans accusing them of being uncritical zealots.

Nevertheless, just as many -- in both forums -- were quick to denounce the most heated examples of partisanship.

Email Jon Gold at jgold@nww.com and follow him on Twitter at @NWWJonGold.

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