This week, Apple launched the latest and greatest iteration of its renowned and much vaunted mobile operating system – iOS 6. It is currently in beta and available for download to developers only (end users will get it by October), but that didn’t take away the typically tangible sense of excitement that preceded (and followed) its launch.
iOS 6 has a number of headlining features, and has a bit of everything for everyone this time. Navigation, casual reading, voice assistance, social network integration, and a lot, lot more, are well and truly accounted for by Apple this time.
Read on to find out about some of the most noteworthy features announced by Apple in iOS 6.
Apple’s voice assistant software was arguably the primary factor that drove the incredible sales of the iPhone 4S. Apple eventually went on to disappoint a lot of people by curiously choosing to omit Siri from the subsequent launch of the new third gen iPad earlier this year. iOS 6 will be bringing Siri to the new iPad after a protracted wait (though the iPad 2 and original iPad won’t be getting it).
Siri’s a lot smarter too this time – you can launch apps, find out the filmography of your favorite movie star, watch trailers of any upcoming movie, and a lot more.
It’s not a secret that Apple and Google aren’t exactly fans of each other – just have a look at the Cupertino company’s proxy wars on the latter through litigation after litigation against Android device manufacturers (like Samsung and HTC). But it didn’t help that the most comprehensive (and yet free) navigation option for mobile devices was Google Maps, and the iOS Maps application essentially used the Google solution as a backend for all these years.
Now, post an acquisition or two, Apple is ready with a snazzy Maps app of its own. The new and improved homebrewed app offers turn by turn navigation, a stunning 3D Flyover mode and intelligent integration of live traffic data.
The social stuff – Facebook Integration & Shared Photo Streams
Until iOS 5, Apple had chosen to not integrate social networking features directly into iOS (unlike Google’s Android OS). iOS 5 brought about a deep Twitter integration, and its successor to the iOS mantle has Facebook baked right into it.
Photo Streams has been tweaked a bit as well. With Shared Photo Streams, you can now choose photos in your Stream to share with your friends, with the usual perks of Photo Streams still applicable.
Do Not Disturb
Anyone with a smartphone or tablet has encountered a problem along these lines – every time you wish to be left alone doing what you want (or just trying to catch up on a few winks), your device will invariably ring/vibrate/light up/act annoying. Do Not Disturb is a nifty new feature in iOS 6 that effectively renders your iDevice non-existent. That’s right, now you will have no more unnecessary notifications for tweets/messages from casual acquaintances (or anyone at all, if you so choose) you couldn’t care less about at that point of time.
Safari & Mail
Safari has had Offline Reading Lists added to it. For most casual users, this does away with the need of getting one of the several paid clients that do practically the same thing. From the looks of it, the likes of Instapaper et al. may just have reason to be worried.
The iOS Mail app remained barebones as ever till recently. But with iOS 6, it gets a much needed option to refresh the inbox (and hence check for new mail). Moreover, you don’t need to go all the way back to your Photos app to send just a single photo or video. Instead, you can just add it while you’re composing an email in the Mail app.
iOS 6 rectifies a lot of the issues iPad and iPhone users had had with the basic functionality of iOS. Now it is a lot easier to post to Facebook or Twitter from anywhere in it; the Mail app doesn’t seem to be as archaic as it once did; while features like Maps and Do Not Disturb go on to simply add more shine to an already polished OS on the whole.