Apple’s iOS 6 adds new Maps app, Siri updates, Facebook integration and more
As expected, Apple unveiled the latest version of its mobile operating system – iOS 6 – at Worldwide Developers Conference 2012 (WWDC 2012).
iOS 6 brings improvements to Siri, the introduction of Apple’s own Maps app, Facebook integration, as well as various tweaks to the Phone app, FaceTime, Safari, Mail, Photo Stream and more.
Let’s run down some of the more notable iOS 6 announcements.
Siri will soon be available on the iPad 2 and the new iPad. Siri now supports new languages including Canadian French, Spanish, Italian, French, German and Italian dialects for Switzerland, as well as a few Asian languages. Update: According to TechCrunch, Siri isn’t coming to the iPad 2.
You can ask sports and movie questions now, while OpenTable integration enables restaurant reservations. Siri can also launch apps and dictate tweets, while a new “Eyes Free” feature will appear in cars later this year and let you access Siri by pressing a button on your steering wheel.
Apple announced that it is ditching Google’s maps in iOS 6 in favor of its own solution. Among other features, the new Map app will offer Yelp integration, crowd-sourced traffic reports, turn-by-turn navigation that works even with your phone locked, and a “Flyover” mode, which is basically satellite view but includes a 3D photographic model of several cities.
Apple’s Map app is also backed by Siri, so you can ask questions like “are we there yet?” for an estimated arrival time.
This time last year, Apple introduced iOS 5 with Twitter integration, and the company has now added deep Facebook integration into its OS. Users will be able to post to Facebook directly through iPhone apps, including images from the Photos app.
Apple’s Facebook solution is integrated with Siri as well as the Calendar app allowing events to be synchronized. Also, the company will provide an API, so third-party applications will be able to pull information from or post information to Facebook.
Despite making significant changes to its operating system over the years, Apple has left the Phone app largely untouched. With iOS 6, you’ll be able to automatically reject a call and reply with a preset text message, such as “I’ll call you later.” A new Do Not Disturb mode lets you mute notifications (it won’t even light up your screen), yet it can filter important calls.
Users will soon be able to make video calls over 3G. Apple is also unifying device IDs, so when someone sends a FaceTime request to your phone number, you’ll be able to answer it from your iPad or Mac. This will also work with messages.
Safari/Photo Stream: Apple’s browser will gain fullscreen support in landscape mode, as well as live tab syncing with OS X 10.8 Mountain Lion via iCloud, and an offline reading mode that lets you access an article you marked to read later, which currently requires a third-party application.
The update will also let you upload photos to popular sites from directly within Safari, while Apple’s Photo Stream service will let you select people who will receive a notification whenever you post a new image.
A new “Passbook” app will house and provide information about all your tickets, boarding passes and coupons. For instance, it can display a gift card’s balance after you use it and it can update your gate number in real time. The Mail app will gain inline video and photo support as well as VIP and pull-to-refresh functionality.
A developer beta is available today, while everyone else (dating back to the 3GS for iPhone and iPad 2 for the iPad – sorry iPad 1 owners) will have to wait until later this fall.
What’s your favorite new feature(s) from iOS 6?