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How iOS 6's flagship features compare to past versions, and to Android 4.1, BlackBerry 10, and Windows Phone 8

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Editor's Desk: WWDC videos, Windows Phone 8 updategate, Google IO, features, and more!

Editor's Desk: WWDC videos, Windows Phone 8 updategate, features, and more!

It's a public holiday in Montreal and the rest of Quebec -- St. John the Baptiste day or National Day, which is basically a provincial version of Canada Day or Independence Day. As with any summer holiday, I care only so much as it means barbecue and beverages, and I have an excuse to keep tonight's column brief. Ish.

First a quick congratulations to my friend Anthony who got his black belt in Jiu-Jitsu yesterday. It took him 11 years, during which time he got married, had a couple kids, won numerous medals, overcame numerous injuries, and transformed himself from student to competitor to teacher to so much more. Renzo Gracie once said, "a black belt is just a white belt who never quit". The truth of that statement applies to everything. To be great all you have to do is persist until you're great. The only secret is hard work.

WWDC videos

Speaking of hard work, we started posting the developer interviews Leanna, Seth, and I shot at WWDC 2012. Fantastic apps don't just make themselves, and the minds and eyes behind them are as fascinating to us as any director commentary or DVD extra, so we tracked them down and got them on video.

We have a few more to get up this week, but make sure you check these out if you haven't already:

Windows Phone 8 and updategate

Microsoft had an interesting week. The beginning saw the brief introduction of the all new Surface -- laplet? tabtop? -- and the end saw the unveiling of Windows Phone 8.

I've already written about the Surface, and how it needs to beat the iPad for Microsoft to remain relevant in the tech world, so let's turn our attention to Windows Phone 8 for a moment.

The software itself looks good. It's still extremely constrained by the tile and panorama metaphor, and that still makes it more app than OS, but a lot of the technology they showed off was well thought out and highly polished.

Not that existing Windows Phone users will get to use it.

That's right. In case anyone missed it -- current Windows Phones won't be getting Windows Phone 8.

What the hell is Microsoft thinking? They've been in the platform game for decades -- for longer than anyone with the exception of Apple. They know how to manage platforms, and they're the best company in the world when it comes to moving install bases from version to version. Or they were.

If you go out today and by a brand new, flagship, 2012 Nokia Lumia 900 or HTC Titan 2, you won't be able to upgrade it to Windows Phone 8 this fall. It's not that it won't get all the features of next generation Windows Phone 8 phones -- it won't get the new OS at all (it'll get a Windows Phone 7.8 update instead.)

Original iPad and iPod touch 3 owners are pissed enough that iOS 6 won't run on their 2010 devices. Can you imagine what the reaction would be if Apple announced that the 2011 iPhone 4S or 2012 iPad 3 wouldn't be getting iOS 6? There'd be shortages of torches and pitchforks the world over.

Yet because Windows Phone 7 has a small install base, it's suddenly okay for Microsoft to screw over those users passionate and loyal enough to form that install base? And yes, "screw over" is exactly the right way to put it.

Like it or not, OS updates are table stakes in a post iPhone world. API compatibility is necessary for any and all devices to enjoy next generation apps. And as I've said numerous times before, user confidence is a currency easy to spend but incredibly hard to earn back. Once it's gone, it's gone, and likely your business is gone with it.

There's absolutely no excuse for this, not from a company as big and smart as Microsoft. It's one thing to break compatibility going from one OS to another -- from Windows Mobile 6.x to Windows Phone 7, or from BlackBerry 7 to BlackBerry 10. But to do it again just one year into the new OS?

Given their relative position in the market, it's something Microsoft should have planned and prepared for and taken even greater pains to handle properly for Windows Phone users.

And a stink needs to be made about it so that, in a year or two from now, Lumia 1200 and Titan 4 owners aren't being told they can't update to Windows Phone 9.

Micro dock

Apple could be getting ready to ditch the traditional dock connector

iMore back on February 23:

TechCrunch on June 20:

Looks like Apple's going for it.

Google IO and Android 4.1 Jellybean

Google IO and Android 4.1 Jellybean

This fall is set to be a mobile blockbuster, what with iOS 6 and iPhone 5, Windows Phone 8, BlackBerry 10, and Android 4.1 Jellybean all competing for our gadget affection. Two weeks ago we saw iOS 6. Last week we saw Windows Phone 8. Next week at Google IO, it's Jellybean's turn. And maybe the fabled Nexus Tablet.

Our Mobile Nations sibling site, Android Central will be there, and Phil, Jerry, and Alex, along with party-crasher Kevin Michaluk will be there bringing us back all the action.

Podcasts

This week we started answering your questions on iOS 6, talked to former Apple iTunes designer Louie Mantia, and discussed the differences between Apple and Microsoft keynotes. Check them out.

Features

And here's what the week that was brought us in written form:

Recommended reading

Now back to that barbecue...

Have something to say about this story? Share your comments below! Need help with something else? Submit your question!

Rene Ritchie

Editor-in-Chief of iMore, co-host of Iterate, Debug, Review, Vector, and MacBreak Weekly podcasts. Cook, grappler, photon wrangler. Follow him on Twitter and Google+.

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Editor's Desk: WWDC videos, Windows Phone 8 updategate, Google IO, features, and more!

12 Comments

Happy National Day!
Re: "...the all new Surface -- laplet? tabtop? "
Slate 2.0.
Re: "Yet because Windows Phone 7 has a small install base, it's suddenly okay for Microsoft to screw over those users passionate and loyal enough to form that install base? "
They screwed over a far larger number of users and developers by killing off Windows Mobile 6.5 overnight. Nearly a year before Windows Phone 7's public release. With absolutely no upgrade path to Windows Phone 7 other than starting from scratch.
Every time Microsoft tries a major OS update, even a desktop OS, it's like watching somebody jump out of a plane and then start packing their parachute on the way down. As though MS does absolutely zero planning ahead.
It really smells like Microsoft wants mobile computing to be a brief, passing fad. One that they can "embrace, extend, and extinguish," then return to business-as-usual. Relentlessly milking corporate IT customers with legacy desktop Windows and Office upgrades. (Not sustainable because the "expensive software on cheap hardware" business model is fading fast, but that's another story...)

So the long section dedicated to Windows 8 was mainly to bitch about the backward compability ?! :roll:
I don't see any difference between that and how iOS 6 is ignoring some previous models.
Apple gets away with it cause the fanboys(and girls ) of Apple will simply solve the problem by buying the " new iPhone" .

Isn't upgradeability a feature that should be considered as part of any purchasing decision?
If a 2009 iPhone 3G will be able to run iOS 6 apps, but a 2012 Lumina 900 won't be able to run Windows Phone 8 apps, shouldn't that be considered as part of any purchasing decision?
If no one complains when Microsoft abandons binary compatibility 2 versions in a row, other platform owners might start to think it's acceptable.
That's no acceptable.
And I'm not sure what words like "fanboy" contribute to the discussion?

Microsoft hasn't figured out how to force carriers and hardware partners into the same compliance that Apple has. They just don't have the track record to be able to dictate whether updates will be delivered to users. Paul Thurrot summed up why it wouldn't happen back in April: "First, there's no economic imperative; Microsoft's partners have sold very few Windows Phones, and supporting a new platform on legacy hardware would be expensive. Second, the experience would be terrible; Windows Phone 8 is based on Windows 8, not Windows Phone 7.x, and requires headier, higher end hardware with two or more core processors. Third, handset makers and wireless carriers would never support this upgrade; they want to sell new phones. And finally, wireless carriers would never, ever, ever, ever deliver this update to users."

At least Microsoft is honest and not calling a half-assed update a whole next generation. iOS 6 should be more like iOS 5.5 and 5.6 for the iPhone 3Gs, iPhone 4, and the iPad 2. Only the iPhone 4S will support all the new features. Siri has no reason to not be available on the iPad 2 and the iPhone 4 but it isn't. Microsoft is giving Windows Phone 7.5 users some of the new features, which is exactly what Apple does, so stop trying to make it seem as if Apple doesn't neglect it's user base. People who bought a WP7.5 device with a 800x480 screen and single core processor should've known from the get-go that WP8 would be a significant update, logically (HD screen resoultions, multi-core processors, etc.). The people who actually cared (techies) would have avoided Windows Phone anyway. I doubt the majority of the people people who bought WP7.5 devices actually care, seeing that they bough 2010 spec devices in 2012.

The difference is, those apple models are well over three years old. My 3 year old 3gs will run ios6, but TODAYS windows phone will not run ver. 8. Do you see the difference now? Older hardware will not be supported forever with newer os versions, but the windows phone that you can buy today, is outdated, as far as ver.8 is concerned

Is iPhone 4 three years old ? ;)
iOS 6 doesnt give iPhone 4 users ALL the benefits that 4s and iPhone 5 will have . Much like Siri on 4S. If you keep releasing an update that pretty much allows older phones to do everything the new one does, it will hurt the sales of the new phones .
As cardfan mentioned below , those who werent planning on an upgrade of phone will be more than happy with the 7.8 update. And those gadgetboys who buy the latest , will buy the new phone with W8 installed.
Its all part of sales strategy, but frowned upon here at iMore when Microsoft does it. Much like MS fans bash anything and everything Apple does. :)

The Lumia seemed like a midrange/low end phone from the start. Low res screen, processor, with a windows just not ready enough to go up against the likes of iOS or android. It reminded me of the HTC G1 which really didn't get more than 1.5 or so of android. But moreso of where WP7 is in evolution.
Not that this excuses Microsoft but wp8 feels like the Droid in terms of this is where android started taking off. WP8 allows for higher speceed phones, higher res screens, and a more featured OS that is finally more compatible with windows 8 (and hopefully xbox) with the shared core. In addition, MS its own tablet hardware coming along for the ride this time.
Honestly with who MS & Nokia were targeting, I think 7.8 will be more than enough for those users. It changes the looks of things. The UI gets a makeover. That alone will be perceived more of a change than what some view iOS 6 vs previous. The enthusiasts with Lumias are likely to upgrade no matter what anyways and understood the Lumia was lacking.
Back to that perception thing, there's users all bent out of shape who are tired of the same iOS look. No doubt an iOS 6 that merely changed this look might have been enough for them.

The difference is wp8 is a whole new operating system apple hurts itself by keeping older models supported so long and not really using the new hardware to its full potential. IOS hasnt changed much since its start and yeah it works for apple but sooner or later something will have to change with these other os really stepping it up.

Not sure what the difference is between what Microsoft's plans and the iPhone 4 getting iOS 5 & 6, but not Siri or turn by turn navigation. Just because they didn't label it "iOS 4.x" doesn't make matters different.

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