Apple iOS6 is another yawn

Apple continued its post-Jobs technology faltering by releasing yet another yawn of a mobile operating system.

iOS6 is supposed to be positioned to waste Microsoft’s efforts when it comes out. Instead it follows the same tired lines that Apple has been offering since Cook took over.

Some corners of the press did their best to talk up the somewhat dull update. Instead of mentioning Microsoft, Reuters claimed that the OS was designed to give Google a good kicking by revealing a new mobile mapping service. Android’s map service is widely thought to be rather good.

If that is the case, then Tim Cook has made a strategic error by targeting the wrong enemy and deciding to fight Google instead of its potential real enemy.  After Microsoft’s Metro comes out Android will be king of the cheap and cheerful and Apple and Microsoft will be fighting each out for the more expensive end of the market.

The iOS update has improvements to Siri, which was a gimmick technology designed to make the iPhone 4S appear different from the iPhone4.

Fans did their best to enthuse about the operating system offering in-house mapping, beefed-up Siri software, and address-bar search on its Safari browser.

“The upgrades marked a bolstering of Apple’s arsenal as it tries to keep its top-down applications and hardware environment ahead of competition from Android device makers such as Samsung Electronics and Motorola Mobility,” Reuters buzzed.

Apple’s iOS6 will be available in the autumn, which is when Microsoft’s Metro arrives. All that Apple did to match it is a new mapping system which it says is “built from the ground up”.

So far the iPhone has used Google Maps as a pre-loaded app. Reuters claims this will be a “big blow to Google” which gets about half its mobile map traffic from Apple mobile devices, although we would love to see where it got those figures from.

Apple’s map service is not bad. It comes with three-dimensional images of cities called “Flyover” along with real-time traffic updates and also turn-by-turn navigation. Turn-by-turn navigation has been in Google Maps for a while.

The other big hope has been Siri, the voice-activated iPhone search-feature which is pretty much a chocolate teapot in the UK and has been slammed by those in the US as faulty and inadequate. It will appear on the iPad now.

Shareholders were not particularly impressed. Shares in Apple dropped 1.6 percent after climbing before the press conference.