Apple today kicked off their WWDC 2012 with a keynote speech that heavily featured the announcement of iOS 6 and its many new features. This latest version of the software is already available in beta and expected for full release this fall, but here are some of the new features to look out for.
New map app with turn-by-turn navigation
It has been expected that Apple would replace Google Maps with their own maps application in iOS 6, and the highlight is their turn-by-turn navigation. The map application and navigation system will have Siri integration, so you will be able to ask Siri to take you to a location, or even ask “are we there yet”. The new map feature also includes traffic information, so it will be another blow to all the other third party navigation apps out there, not to mention the Satnav market.
I look forward to comparing the new maps features from Apple with the latest update to Google Maps.
System wide Facebook integration
Last time Apple announced iOS 5 with Twitter integration, after it was believed that relations with Facebook went sour. Those relations seem to be back on track now as Apple announces deep Facebook integration in iOS 6.
From what was announced today it looks like Apple is taking the relationship with Facebook even deeper than what they did with Twitter, integrating Facebook into calendar events, contact emails and phone numbers, and of course quick sharing functionality for links, pictures, apps, and maps.You can now even updated your Facebook status or send a tweet directly from the notification center, or you can ask Siri to update your Facebook status for you.
The integration also goes into iTunes and the App Store as Facebook “likes” have been integrated.
Siri gets update and iPad support
iPad owners out there will finally get to play with Siri as iOS 6 brings the much awaited voice support to the popular iPad. This is part of a wider update to Siri in iOS 6, including ability to launch apps, turn-by-turn navigation as per the maps app, sports scores and more.
However, it looks like the Siri update is only available to the latest version of the iPad, leaving out iPad 2 owners out there, which there are many of. Perhaps this is another way for Apple to try and get their customers to upgrade to the latest Retina iPad.
Facetime over mobile networks
Facetime video calling has so far been a wi-fi only service, but with iOS 6 they are opening up video calls over mobile network connections as well, although it is still unknown what mobile connections are required for the service to work, and work well. Of course the limitation will still be your data allowance on your network.
Apple has also unified your phone number and Apple iD, making it more straightforward to respond to Facetime calls, iMessages, or emails. This means that if you choose to merry the two up, if someone calls you on FaceTime or sends you an iMessage you can respond from either of your Apple devices that supports the services.
Passbook – the new integrated app for managing tickets, cards and coupons
Apple has added a new app in iOS 6 as well in the Passbook App, allowing you to scan your iOS device for tickets and coupons to give you easy access to things such as movie tickets you have bought, boarding cars, or for example your Starbucks payment app. It will also give you information around the associated ticket/coupon, such as expiry date, location etc. making it easier to manage and control.
Speculations are now that this is the start of Apple’s own version of NFC, as it become more and more apparent that Apple likes to come up with their own solutions instead of relying on existing technology, whether good or bad.
Finally, the compatibility
Last but not least, iOS 6 is available for the following iOS devices:
- iPhone 4S, 4, and 3GS
- iPad 2 and the new iPad
- 4th generation iPod Touch