iOS Country Restrictions

Recently my partner and I had a major change in our lives: we moved from Mexico to the US. Besides the fact that an international move has its major challenges in practically every area in life, there is one minor detail I didn’t count on: iOS’ country restrictions.

You see, Apple assigns you a “national” iTunes store according to your credit card’s country of origin. It doesn’t matter if you are now living in a new country, are an exchange student or what have you. Your iTunes store will not change countries unless your credit card does.

That wouldn’t be a major problem, except for the fact that I’m fairly new to the city/country, and don’t yet have a local credit card (though it’s on its way!). Therefore, cool services like Car2Go, Zipcar, and oh! Starbucks Rewards US, are beyond the reach of my crazy-for-iOS fingers. Bummer.

On the other hand, my partner decided to jump the Steve Jobs ship, and moved over to the dark side: Android. He now owns a shiny new Nexus, and as much as a I hate to admit, he has the full US-tech experience that I don’t. He doesn’t have the restriction I do. I’ve never personally owned an Android phone, but just the fact that he can find parking through a local app and I have to circle around for more than 15-min in downtown Seattle to find a spot, makes me want to have one too.

Fortunately, I don’t have to jump over to the dark side since it will be sooner rather than later that I can make the switch to the US iTunes store. But that just made me wonder, what about iOS users who are staying in another country for a short period of time, a few months or even a year? They will have to miss out on local experiences just because they won’t have a local credit card. Did Apple ever thought about this? Is that a deal-breaker for iOS users who want to enjoy what local apps have to offer?

I’ll ask around and tell you the answer soon enough.

The Pros and Cons of iOS 6

iOS6 Update
iOS6 Update

So it’s that time of year when Apple presented the new iPhone to the world with a unique keynote (others would call it a sales pitch). Aside from mentioning the new iPhone 5 now that everyone is talking about it, let’s focus more on the iOS update. Even though there are camping lines outside Mac stores in Asia and Australia to purchase the iPhone 5 , the rest of the world is updating iOS on their previous iPhone versions.

There are quite a few features that have changed in iOS 6. The thing that has stirred up a few loud opinions is Apple’s move to discard Google Maps and replace them with Apple Maps. Although indeed there is a 3D mode to view these maps, there is no street view and the UI seems a bit more austere when it comes to hybrid view.

Apple Maps vs Google Maps
Apple Maps vs Google Maps

Another move from Apple is to have removed the pre-installed YouTube app. Yet on the other hand, iOS6 now has a native Facebook app; among other things, this allows for you to directly share your media from your camera roll onto Facebook, as opposed to previous iOS versions in which you had to pull your media from the Facebook app. These changes have driven some to believe that there is an alliance between Facebook & Apple to try to keep Google out of the competition. Now if we all remember the part in which the late Steve Jobs vowed to crush Android because of its “stolen” technologies, well, there isn’t much room for doubt.

Another very interesting improvement is that now Siri speaks other languages, including Spanish. You can also include other voice commands, like Tweeting via Siri.

Tweeting with Siri
Tweeting with Siri

The App Store has a whole new UI and even has recommended apps for you to download. It no longer asks for your Apple ID password. There are plenty of other sutil changes you’ll notice as you navigate through your iPhone, iPad or iPod Touch. If there are any you like or I didn’t mention, please drop me a line and I’ll make sure to include it in this post.

What is your opinion of iOS6? Would you stay with the previous version if you knew beforehand?