Tuesday, June 12, 2012

The New iOS 6

Besides the new OS X, the new MacBooks, and the next generation "retina display" MacBook Pros, Apple's WWDC opening session showed as the new iOS 6 as well.

And, without further ado, here's what Apple has showcased:

Smarter Siri

Siri has been one of the most touted iOS features, and Apple didn't let go of that, opening the iOS presentation with a better and smarter Siri. Siri can now answer to sports questions, showing stats for players, and even answer is a NBA player is taller than other. Sport's buffs will surely be giving Siri a spin.

But, it's not only sports. Siri also gets smarter restaurants integration, in which you can even make reservations thanks to Open Table.

But, for movie buffs like me, the one that caught our attention is Rotten Tomatoes integration.

You can now ask Siri for movies, and even ask which movies have a particular actor or director, and even ask for movie times in specific movie theaters.

Eyes Free

You can truly appreciate Siri whenever you're driving, and Apple knows it. So, iOS 6 will come with a Eyes Free mode, which will work together with several major car manufacturers (BMW, Mercedes, GM, Toyota, Audi, Honda, etc.) that will provide a button in the steering wheel for instant access to Siri without having to take your eyes off the road.

Facebook Integration

As expected, the new iOS also comes with system-wide Facebook integration - just like Twitter on iOS 5. However, Facebook goes a step further, as you will be able to "like" Apps and iTunes store content, seeing what your friends like, have conctact integration, birthdays and events showing up on your iOS calendar, etc.

Sending tweets and Facebook updates is also easier and easily accessible from the notification center..


One might even forget it sometime, but the iPhone is a phone as well, and in iOS6 we get some interesting new features: like being able to answer with preset messages when you're unable to answer the call; or setting up a reminder for later (either by time or by location: for instance "when you leave the office").

Do Not Disturb

And if you're tired of waking up in the night due to impromptu notifications chiming in at the worst possible time, we get a Do Not Disturb mode where you can set up the time you wish to be left alone.
Don't worry, you can still set it up so a group of important callers can still reach you, or define that multiple calling attempts in a short time should still get through.

Facetime over cellular networks

At last, Facetime will prove useful when you're out on the street. No longer you'll have to be in a WiFi network to use it... and now, all that is missing is the long forgotten promise that the FaceTime protocol would be open for other to use (allowing for cross-platform FaceTime, and more).
C'mon Apple... what are you waiting for?

Improved Mobile Safari

Safari also gets an update. You get synchronized tabs over iCloud, offline reading list, a fullscreen mode (apparently just in landscape mode?)... and you can now upload photos in web forms!

Other stuff

Photostreams gain a social dimension, as you can share it with friends and "like it"; you get a VIP email section, that makes sure you'll never miss an email from selected people (as well as a flagged section for important emails).

Even more important, you can now insert photos and videos right from the composing email area, as well as open password protected docs.

Also, one of my long "wishlist requests"... the mail apps gets the pull to refresh! :)

For special needs users, iOS also improveson the accessibility department, allowing you to mask out parts of Apps you don't want people touching by mistake; as well a a single-app mode that makes iPads a prime contender for kiosk use (as well as many other scenarios... like quizzes at schools?).


Making its way into a digital wallet, Passbook will be the place where you can add your digital tickets, passes and vouchers. The most interesting bit of it is that those tickets can be "live". For instance, your plane ticket can warn you there's been a delay or flight change.
Although useful and a glimpse of the future, I thinks such systems should be based on open source/standard  technology that made it accessible to every other platforms as well. That would be the best way to make this sort of stuff more appealing. Or else... what good it will be if this only caters for iOS users?

The new iOS 6 Maps

Last but not least... the new iOS maps that mark the end of the Apple-Google relationship in the iOS.

The new iOS maps look a bit different and come from TomTom. You'll also get crowd-sourced traffic info, and... the thing most where hoping for: turn-by-turn navigation (with Siri integration as well). A curious nice detail, you get the navigation screens even on the lock screen.

If anyonde still doubt it, the end for paid GPS navigation apps is nearly here - all that is missing is some sort of offline mode, like Google is adding to its Android navigation.

As for the revolutionary new 3D mode, you get two. One is similar to Google Maps 3D mode, where you can see rough sketches of buildings in maps... The one most people were eager to see is the "Fly By" mode, that renders cities in amazing 3D life-like detail.

A feature I'm afraid os more spectacular than... useful. Although we might use it to impress friends, how many times will we be actually using in our daily lives? I sure find it much more useful to have Google' Streeview, that allows me to see where stores are located, or where a particular door number really is. I surely hope that Google doesn't leave iOS users hanging, and that will offer a iOS Google Maps App (or even one with navigation built in!)

Also, don't forget than navigation and Fly-by is only available to iPhone 4S and iPad 2 (and above) users... which is also kind of annoying...

These are just the highlights of the new iOS 6, which will came in the fall - and surprisingly, it will still support the iPhone 3GS (albeit at the expense of reduced features, I'm sure...)

Just a ending handy feature for anyone losing their iPhones: the Lost mode, that allows you to send a phone number to a lost iPhone, so that whoever founds it can contact you with a single touch. Nice... but it won't turn a thieve into a honest person... So, you're better of not losing it! :)

[photos via theverge]

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