Apple announced the newest version of its mobile OS at its WWDC conference yesterday. iOS 6 is due out this fall, and will include a number of new features and upgrades.
As previously rumored, Siri will be making the jump to the new iPad. Unfortunately, there was no word of the release of Siri APIs, but as TechCrunch points out, seeing as Siri can now be used to launch apps or post to Twitter and Facebook, we may not be far off from such a release. Aside from those new capabilities, Siri can pull up sports scores and stats, movie times at local theaters, and make reservations at local restaurants. Siri on the iPad will not take up the entire screen, but will rather be contained in a small pop-up window at the bottom of the screen. Interestingly, based on the pictures on Apple’s website, the size of this window appears to be the same as the iPhone’s screen, or about 3.5 inches.
As had been widely reported, Apple ditched Google Maps for iOS 6, and is rolling out their own proprietary Maps app. The new app enables turn-by-turn navigation, and provides real-time traffic updates (I assume only for U.S. roads.) Directions can be accessed directly through Siri, and, taking traffic into account, will direct you to your destination along the fastest route.
Facebook will be completely integrated in iOS 6. You can share photos to your Facebook account directly from the Camera app, post your location from the new Maps app, and post your game scores directly from Game Center (if you actually ever access Game Center and/or enjoy spamming your friends’ feeds.) A more useful feature is the integration of your Facebook events being integrated into the Calender app, and your Facebook contacts’ information being synced with the Contacts app. Hopefully this can be done on a selective basis, as I don’t think you’d care to have that friend from college whom you haven’t spoken to for six years added to your contacts.
As previously mentioned, I have never really used FaceTime, as it is not a feature I find particularly useful when I have Skype, which is used by more of my friends and family. The fact that it could only be used only over WiFi made it even more useless, so the fact that FaceTime can be used over 3G in iOS 6 might expand the number of users of the video-conferencing service (but I still probably won’t use it.)
Calls can be screened more effectively in iOS 6. When a call comes in, you can opt to reply to the caller with a text message. You can also set up a time- or location-based reminder to call back the caller at a different time. A new do-not-disturb mode suppresses all incoming calls and notifications, or you can allow calls from select contacts. This mode can be set manually or at a recurring time.
The new Passbook app stores your tickets, gift cards, and coupons. The app can be set up such that when you arrive at the theater or store for which you have a gift card or ticket, the card or ticket appears on the home-screen automatically and can be scanned. Also, automatic reminders relating to the expiration date of the coupons and tickets can be provided by the app. If the pictures on Apple’s website are any indication (though they may not be), the app currently works with Target, Fandango, Starbucks, Amtrak, and United. Of course, the integration with these and more retailers will determine the ultimate usefulness of this app.
On the whole, it appears as though iOS 6 will be quite the upgrade to the current version of iOS, with the upgrades having the potential to expand the applicability and usefulness of your iDevice. iOS 6 should be out in October, at the time most expect Apple to release the newest iteration of the iPhone.