No new iPhone, but Apple did announce an upgrade to iOS this year at the WWDC – the all new iOS6.
iOS6 is packed full of new features – all new Maps with voice navigation, updates to Siri, deeper Facebook integration, Passbook for storing coupons and boarding passes and quite a few more.
Facebook is now fully integrated into the OS. You will be able to synch your contacts, share content, upload photos and update status from anywhere within the phone, no need to log into a separate Facebook app.
Apple are providing app developers access to this Facebook API. This means that your favorite applications will also be able to access your Facebook account just as easily. Not such a great idea as apps already have too much access to users’ Facebook accounts, and this will only make it worse.
Next big update is to the Maps application. Earlier versions used Google Maps like other devices, but now we will have Apple’s own Mapping services built from ground up with 3D rendering and accurate turn by turn navigation. Apple Maps also uses real time crowdsourced traffic data to reroute you away from bottlenecks. It doesn’t have an equivalent to Google StreetView yet, though we think it is probably a matter of time.
New Maps app has full Siri integration. You can ask for directions with your voice, it will guide you while driving and, if you ask her something like “Are we there yet?”, she will answer you with the estimated time of arrival. And tell you to shut up.
Finally Passbook – a place to store all your passes. So boarding passes, movie tickets, coupons, loyalty cards can all be stored in one place and will pop up at the time you need to use them. Even more useful is the real time update of your boarding pass with the latest flight details including any delays or changes. Ofcourse apps like TripIt do this already but you won’t be needing them anymore. On a sidenote, apps that duplicate existing OS functionality aren’t allowed in the App Store. Wonder what the policy is when the roles are reversed!
Siri is now on iPad and will understand more languages. Plus it will now start offering score updates and restaurant recommendations using third party providers like Yelp for recommendations and Open Table for bookings. We assume there will be some sort of local arrangements for different markets – in Australia we can only think of Eatability for recommendations, and nothing really for bookings. Many auto makers—including BMW, GM, Mercedes, Land Rover, Jaguar, Audi, Toyota, Chrysler and Honda—will also integrate Siri in their cars.
Some other updates worth a mention:
1. 3G support for Facetime (4G too, but not yet in Australia)
2. Updated phone app. Drop a message or set a reminder when declining a call.
3. Better Lost Mode. Set a lock code remotely when the phone is lost. Auto enables location tracking in Lost Mode.
4. Do Not Disturb. The phone won’t ring at night, yet allow specified callers and emergency calls through.
5. Shared Photo streams
To be honest, none of these features are really earthshaking, especially compared with the quality of apps released with the Samsung Galaxy S3 . Either Apple is saving the big announcements for when the new iPhone comes out later this year, or there really isn’t that much to show. We are going with the latter. The passing of Steve Jobs shook things up at Apple and it will take a while for the company to find its footing again. Take a look at this iOS6 vs ICS comparison over at Gizmodo.
The new will not be coming to an iPhone/iPad near you anytime soon, but the beta version is available to developers. The rest of us will need to wait until the new iPhone is released later this year.
Did You Know?
There are 365 million iOS capable devices in the market today
30 billion apps downloaded from the app store till date