iOS 6 is the major story of WWDC 2012: at its keynote this evening, Apple has given its mobile operating system for iPhone, iPad and iPod touch a huge update, packing in a truckload of new features (More than 200). iOS boss Scott Forstall took to the stage to detail all the new features – read on for the scoop on all the big changes.
Here are the new features we can expect in iOS 6 when it’s released in the “fall” (Autumn to Brits)…
Until now, Apple has always used Google Maps as iOS’s default mapping service. But, with Apple seeking to reduce its reliance on Google’s services, that’s all changing for iOS 6. The new mapping solution has been developed in-house at Cupertino (Apple has acquired several mapping companies in recent years) and now includes slick 3D maps, Yelp integration, turn-by-turn navigation and live, crowd-sourced traffic, including incident reports. Siri integration is built in, so you can ask it where to buy petrol, or even “Are we there yet?”
Also on the way…
- Siri is getting a major boost in iOS 6, bringing it closer to becoming your ideal personal assistant. It now provides sports results, although how it fares with “soccer” remains to be seen – Apple only demonstrated its baseball and basketball knowledge, although a slide suggested it will work with Premier League results as well.
- Siri can also show restaurant review ratings, and has been integrated with OpenTable so you can tell your iPhone 4S to book you a spot at an eatery. Rotten Tomatoes meanwhile gives Siri movie know how, as well as the ability for it to serve you trailers.
- Perhaps more importantly, Siri can now launch apps: “Play Temple Run” will open the game on your iPhone. Simple.
- Siri now supports hands-free tweeting, something only previously possible with an SMS workaround, as well as local search internationally.
- Intriguingly, Apple is working with a range of auto-makers to create “Eyes Free” buttons on car steering wheels within the next year that let you launch Siri with a push.
- Siri will come to the new iPad (third generation).
- Facebook integration across apps, including, contacts, sharing and location. Options to tweet or update Facebook will now be visible in the Notification Center, which also sports a Do Not Disturb button first introduced in OS X Mountain Lion.
- You can now reply to a call with an automated-message from the lock screen. Not exactly radical, but a welcome addition to iOS nonetheless.
- FaceTime just became a whole lot more useful: iOS 6 brings support for video calls over 3G, not just Wi-Fi. You’ll also be able to pick up FaceTime calls sent to your iPhone from a Mac or iPad.
- The Safari browser in iOS 6 gets iCloud tab syncing, offline reading lists and pop up banners to alert you to possible apps you could be viewing a website with (A bit like what Android currently does, but integrated in the page rather than a pop-up).
- You can now share snaps from your Photo Stream with friends, who then receive an alert and can comment on your pics – very Instagrammy.
- Mail now provides an option to star important “VIP” contacts and have their messages appear in a separate mailbox – but still no full Gmail support. Sparrow users will have to stay put for now.
- Passbook, a new built in app, provides a one stop place to keep all your various passes with barcodes (virtual store cards, boarding passes etc) – this could help make QR code ticketing on your phone go mainstream.
- The iOS 6 beta is available now for developers.