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iOS 6 gets over 200 new features, including new Maps app

updated 03:18 pm EDT, Mon June 11, 2012

Passbook app keeps digital passes in central spot

At today's WWDC 2012 keynote, Apple formally unveiled iOS 6, its next-generation mobile OS. In all the firmware is said to have some 200 new features, foremost of which is a new Maps app. The software severs ties with Google, and has several major new features including local business search, and 3D map views in some cities, using vector and/or aerial imagery. Turn-by-turn navigation has been introduced, which also supports Siri commands such as navigation and point-of-interest requests. Traffic data is based on real-time anonymous data from iOS users.

Siri functionality is being expanded in several other ways as well, such as movies, sports, and the ability to launch apps. The technology is coming to the third-generation iPad for the first time, and new language options include Spanish, Italian, French, German and Korean, as well as Canadian English and French, Mandarin for Taiwan, Cantonese for Hong Kong, and both Mandarin and Cantonese for mainland China. A platform called "Eyes Free" will see buttons appear on car steering wheels, letting people trigger Siri without having to pick up their device. BMW, GM, Mercedes, Land Rover, Jaguar, Audi, Toyota, Chrysler and Honda are all promising support in next 12 months.

Facebook support is now being integrated throughout the OS. Similar to the way Twitter integration works, this involves a one-time sign-in, and sharing options like posting images from Photos, URLs from Safari, and locations from Maps. Users will also be able to post status updates via Siri, however, and sync contacts.

Another focus area is the Phone app. During incoming calls, for instance, people will be able to slide up to be reminded of the call later, or send a message back; buttons will present quick message options such as "call me later." Smart reminders can be set to trigger based on location, for instance telling the user to call someone after leaving the office. Call screening has also been implemented, letting people block select numbers or everyone. Users can toggle whether or not they want to let numbers through after multiple attempts.

FaceTime now works over both Wi-Fi and 3G/4G connections, and providing a phone number and an Apple ID will permit users to pick up on multiple devices. Safari has seen several changes, such as access to desktop tabs via iCloud, quick photo upload to sites like Shutterfly, and a mostly developer-oriented feature called Smart App Banners. These will trigger when Safari users visit certain webpages, redirecting people to an App Store page to download a related app.

An entirely new app is the Passbook, which gathers together boarding passes, movie tickets, and other similar material into a central location. Fandango, United, Amtrak, Starbucks, and Apple retail stores are among early participating companies. The data in passes can update dynamically -- for example changing the gate on an airplane ticket -- and it can be made location-aware, popping up the app when near a venue.

The Mail app now highlights "VIP" messages in the app and on the lockscreen. Photos and videos can be inserted directly into the app's composition window, and password-protected Office documents can be accessed. Some other changes include pull-to-refresh, and separate personal and work signatures.

Miscellaneous upgrades to the OS entail Photo Stream image sharing, a Do Not Disturb mode, support for Chinese services such as Baidu, Todou, and Youku, and Xbox Live-style achievements in Game Center. A Guided Access option can temporarily remove the ability to leave an app, while a new Lost Mode displays a notification people who discover an iPhone can tap to contact the owner. "Made for iPhone" hearing aids are being supported, providing access to certified hearing assistance.

The final version of iOS 6 will ship sometime in the fall. The beta is available to developers today; users must have at least an iPhone 3GS, second-generation iPad, or fourth-generation iPod touch.




by MacNN Staff

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Comments

    Comment buried. Show
  1. testudo

    Joined: Dec 1969

    -30

    maps?

    Seriously, "foremost of which is a new Maps app"? There's got to be more of those 200 features that spark interest and buzz than 'maps'. "Wow, aerial views! Now I'll know what that bird up there sees!"

  1. facebook_Steven

    Via Facebook

    Joined: Jun 2012

    +10

    Yeah maps

    Location-based services and mapping are an important element of iOS to a great many users and the new version represents a huge change so it is obviously going to be called out in that way. Why would you assume that your apparent lack of interest in maps should be indicative of anything to everyone else?

  1. Jeronimo2000

    Joined: Dec 1969

    +12

    @Steve

    You're trying to counter insanity with reason. You can't win.

  1. kdogg73

    Joined: Dec 1969

    +1

    Testudo

    You are not seeing the forest for the trees. The big picture is not so much the maps app itself, but rather it's that Apple is breaking ties with Google. I suspect an Apple search engine is being kicked around.

  1. global.philosopher

    Joined: Dec 1969

    +10

    FaceTime

    FaceTime now works over both Wi-Fi and 3G/4G connections,

    THAT is a big feature. Carriers must have caved because people use more bandwidth hungry video apps.

    Comment buried. Show
  1. testudo

    Joined: Dec 1969

    -17

    Re: Testudo

    You are not seeing the forest for the trees. The big picture is not so much the maps app itself, but rather it's that Apple is breaking ties with Google. I suspect an Apple search engine is being kicked around.

    And only Apple and the apple elite (who take offense at everything that is a slap at apple - you know, the type that will boycott samsung or google because they think they've done apple wrong, without even caring if Apple ever did them wrong in life) will care.

    The rest of the iOS populace will only care if the new maps aren't as correct or as good. And then Apple will be blasted for letting stupid pettiness get in the way.

    Comment buried. Show
  1. testudo

    Joined: Dec 1969

    -10

    Re: FaceTime

    FaceTime now works over both Wi-Fi and 3G/4G connections,

    THAT is a big feature. Carriers must have caved because people use more bandwidth hungry video apps.


    See, that's a 'big' feature compared to 'maps'.

    But I will correct you on one thing. Carriers did NOT cave on this. Carriers WANT this. Why? Because they don't do unlimited data anymore (except for the holdovers of the long-gone iPhone 3gs era). So the more you facetime, the more likely you'll blow your cap and pay huge overage fees! Cha-ching!!

  1. facebook_Timothy

    Via Facebook

    Joined: Jun 2012

    +3

    Looks Nice

    Will be interesting to see how the iPhone user base responds to the switch from Google-supplied Maps to Apple's new Maps feature. Smooth and seamless will be the key here. If I were a DeLorme, Garmin, or TomTom employee though, I'd be pretty worried right now. How long can dedicated GPS devices hang on?

  1. global.philosopher

    Joined: Dec 1969

    +4

    DeLorme, Garmin, TomTom

    I think they have been worried for some time now.

    What is good is Apple have shown, and continue to show, that they focus on what they do best and work with partners to such as TomTom to provide the best solutions. Google on the other hand are trying to go it alone (just like MS in the last 25 years) and supplant established players. Can Google sustain developing and supporting their own services.

    Apple are cutting ties with Google because Google have shown they will willingly cut partners free and take them on in their own market. This is what Google are doing to Apple in mobiles and hand game consoles and music and video, etc. Apple are "replacing" Google for that reason alone and eventually Google will run out of partners just like MS did.

  1. BurpetheadX

    Joined: Dec 1969

    -6

    Features?

    There's NO WAY the first incarnation of Apple Maps will have any database of information. How could I trust Apple's measly database compared to Googles - say - when conversing a foreign city, getting bus directions & times, bike directions, or street view? How will Apple know about every gas stain & coffee shop in every city before Google? I really see a fail here, hopefully Google will release their own Maps App.

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