During the Worldwide Developers Conference (WWDC) we first heard about iOS 6, and now that the iPhone 5 has arrived we’ve got more details on iOS 6 than ever before. And so here we are to share the details about the latest version of the Apple’s new mobile operating system. The new iPhone 5 has shipped from Sept. 21 with iOS 6 preloaded, but folks who own an iPhone 3GS, an iPhone 4, an iPhone 4S, a fourth-generation iPod Touch, an iPad 2 or a third-generation iPad don’t get disappointed because they will be able to download the software. As we’ve heard during WWDC, iOS 6 will bring over 200 new features to customers. So iOS 6 has lots to talk about.
Here are the highlights of the new operating system…. it’s update time.
Facebook integration throughout iOS 6
When iOS 5 integrated social networks many of us wondered why there were no Facebook-friendly functions. Now with iOS 6 there are – and lots of them. Interacting with the world’s largest social network is now easier as Apple has kept the promise of “the best Facebook integration ever in a mobile device”. There’s now a neat “tap to post” option in the Notification Center. You can even share a photo to Facebook right from Camera or Photos. Maps are also integrated directly with Facebook, letting you send your location to the social network. Another important change is that Facebook is now integrated with the App Store. This means you can take a look at what sort of applications your friends are downloading and grab them yourself. Facebook is deeply integrated into the Calendar app as well, meaning that Facebook events (and birthdays listed on Facebook) will appear on your device’s calendar. And your Facebook friends’ profile information is integrated into Contacts, so when they update an email address or phone number you automatically stay up to date. Now that’s something to ‘LIKE’ about.
Siri is getting Smarter
With the launch of the iPhone 4S Apple announced Siri and now with iOS 6 Siri has gotten a lot smarter. Siri not only understands what you say, even it’s smart enough to know what you mean. Siri is proactive, so it will question you until it finds what you’re looking for. Siri has now been given a features boost. Siri has learned lots of new languages (Italian, Mandarin, Cantonese, and more) and has befriended with a lot of new services (such as OpenTable, Yelp, Rotten Tomatoes, and others). It figures out which apps to use for which requests, and it finds answers to queries through sources like Yelp and WolframAlpha. It plays the songs you want to hear, gives you directions, and wakes you up. ‘Siri knows about Sports’, and can provide scores and other data. Say who it’s for and how the message should read, and Siri writes and sends your text. With iOS 6, you can ask Siri to open apps. Just say something like “Play Angry Birds” or “Open iPhoto.” Apple is working with car manufacturers to integrate Siri into select voice control systems. Through the voice command button on your steering wheel, you’ll be able to ask Siri questions without taking your eyes off the road.
This is quite easily the most significant change added with iOS 6. Apple has totally redesigned the Maps app from the ground up, making it far more competitive with what Android has to offer in Google Maps. Apple’s own maps service uses over 100 million business listings and Yelp integration to provide more information. The first big talking point is a feature called Flyover. This is basically photo realistic 3D views for the maps application, making for the most detailed possible street view style mapping experience. Find your way to your destination using turn-by-turn spoken directions, a 3D view, and real-time traffic information. As you approach a turn, Maps speaks directions, so you can keep your eyes on the road. With Maps, you get real-time traffic information to calculate your ETA. Maps gives you details on what’s causing a backup, so you can tell if there’s a major incident or just a temporary slowdown. And if traffic’s a mess, Maps offers alternative routes to save you time. Siri now plays nice with Maps as well, so you can ask for directions
Well this was all the good. But now as more and more people are upgrading to iOS 6 and using the Maps feature the reviews are disappointing. Apple’s mapping and geolocation services are not anywhere near as extensive as Google’s. The Internet is now littered with the horror stories of how business, government and major infrastructure listings and map placements are inaccurate and that the built-in navigation in iOS 6 is deplorably inadequate. To worsen the matters, the new 3D features of Apple’s Maps software frequently provides distorted images of highways and well-known urban structures. This is happening majorly because of the lack of Google’s vast database. There’s no question that the Apple maps software in iOS 6 needs a ton of improvement and devalues a lot what people loved about their iDevices.
Given the harsh feedback that iOS 6 Maps has received, it is possible that Apple will have to begrudgingly allow Google to submit their Google Maps software as a separate app, much like as it has done with Chrome, Google Voice, and Google Plus, which had been de-coupled from the popular mobile OS.
A new app in iOS 6, Passbook is your boarding pass; movie ticket, retail coupon, loyalty card, and that too in one place. With Passbook, you can scan your iPhone or iPod touch to check in for a flight, get into a movie, and redeem a coupon. It is basically a mobile equivalent to OS X’s keychain, except with many more useful functions. Think of it like a means to store all your tickets and QR codes in one place. So, no more hunting through your wallet for gift cards, coupons, passes or tickets. Passbook keeps everything organized and handy. Thanks to location support, the app will even pull up the relevant card once you are near the place where you’d use it. This means that if you’re near a Starbucks, Passbook would pull up your Starbucks card automatically, if you’re at an airport, Passbook would pull up your boarding pass automatically, and so on.
Well, we suspect there will be some regional support issues here.
Apple has added new functionalities for those with disabilities which let you to control certain aspects of iOS -such as being able to lock parts of the screen so that users with impaired sight don’t accidentally exit an app. VoiceOver, the revolutionary screen reader for blind and low-vision users, is now integrated with Maps, AssistiveTouch, and Zoom.
It also means parents can load up your kids’ favorite app and then lock down the device so you know exactly what they are playing with, rather than jumping online or playing that adult game you are trying to complete. In short it will to make your device a bit more kid-friendly.
Improved Phone App
iOS 6 adds new calling features to your iPhone. Now when you decline an incoming call, you can instantly reply with a text message. This revised Phone app offers smart reminders, say for example you can reject a call leaving a message and you can also be reminded to call someone back when you leave your current location. So now incoming calls can be dodged with an auto reply message via one swipe, an there’s a swipe up to get a reminder about it later.
And when things are just too hectic, turn on Do Not Disturb: when new messages arrive, they do so silently and without the screen lighting up. If you wish, you can also tell your iPhone not to silence calls from a list of favorite callers, or to automatically silent repeat calls from the same person.
iOS 6 has FaceTime over 3G
FaceTime now works over cellular networks as well as Wi-Fi, so you can make and receive FaceTime calls wherever you happen to be. You can even make and receive FaceTime calls on your iPad using your phone number. That means you can use FaceTime wherever you are, on any device. And you don’t have to worry about whether you’re selecting someone’s phone number or Apple ID when placing a FaceTime call — because the two are now united. And this drew a big round of applause.
Safari now has iCloud tabs — which allow for browsing sessions to be synced across your devices so you can start browsing on one device and pick up right where you left off, on whatever device is handy. The offline reading list is a feature which lets you download and store articles from the web to read later even when you can’t connect to the Internet. When you’re posting a photo or video to eBay, Craigslist, or another site, you can take photos and video or choose from your Camera Roll — without leaving Safari.
The reminders app has been updated in iOS 6, adding the ability to set location based reminders which will chime in when you either leave or arrive at a certain address.
Above all Apple has also released the reminder API; this means other applications should be able to sync up with this reminders app.
It’s tough to cover all 200 of the new features found in iOS 6, so we have covered the highlights of this new operating system but still there are plenty more little tweaks and gems to be found in this new mobile operating system.