Apple today announced iOS 6 at WWDC 2012. Again, the latest iOS update will pack many new features, such as Facebook integration, improved Siri functionality and a new app called Passbook. But the kicker of today’s keynote was the Maps application. iOS 6 is available as a developer preview today, but will be fully available this fall. More iOS 6 details after the break.
With more than 200 new features, iOS 6 is the new iOS update to look out for. Scott Forstall started his part of the keynote by telling something about how successful iOS has been so far. More than 365 million iOS devices have been sold through March 30th. One funny comparison was made by Scott. He showed two charts displaying that iOS 5 has been installed on 80% of all iOS devices, while Android’s Ice Cream Sandwich has been installed on only 7% of all Android devices.
Than Scott went on to start talking about the new features of iOS 6. The first feature being Siri. The personal assistant got a big update, adding 5 new languages and iPad support. It can now also tell sports scores and information about baseball, soccer, basketball, football and hockey games. Ask Siri to display the latest movie premieres or ask to show information about a restaurant. Apple has teamed up with a significant number of cars manufacturers to integrate a so called Siri button on the steering wheel. With one press on that button, the driver can use Siri without taking his eyes of the road. The biggest new features of Siri are local search world wide and the ability to launch apps.
Last year Apple introduced Twitter for iOS. A system wide integration. With iOS 6 you will be able to use the system wide integration of Facebook as well. Log in once and use Facebook whenever you want. Post locations or links to websites. Like apps, movies, tv shows and music. Facebook (as well as Twitter) is even accessible through the notification center.
The Phone app gets some tweaks too. If someone calls you, you can now decide to tap ‘remind me later’ or quick reply with a text message. This also works with geotagging. So when you tap ‘remind me later’ when you get an incoming call, the iPhone will remind you about the call when you get back home for instance. There’s also the ‘do not disturb’ option, which silences all incoming calls, messages and push notifications. So from now on you will not wake up due to the many ringing sounds you might receive through the night.
Previously FaceTime could only be used over Wi-Fi. With iOS 6 FaceTime will also be available over a cellular connection.
Last year Safari already got a big update. This year it gets another couple of handy features. You can use iCloud tabs. If you’ve opened some tabs in Safari on your Mac your iPad, iPhone or iPod touch can see those tabs in Safari for iOS. This works the other way around as well ofcourse. There’s also this offline reading list feature. With this you can safe an entire website on your iOS device to later read articles offline.
With photo streams you can share photo streams with others. Friends or family will be able to see the photos in such a shared photo stream and comment on them.
With iOS 6 Mail gets a so called VIP feature. E-mails from important people will be marked. They will also be displayed on the lockscreen like a text message. Adding videos and photos will also be easier.
Passbook is a new application which organizes movie tickets, airline tickets, coupons, gift cards etc. It’s location based, so when you arrive at the airport your ticket will be displayed. And if the check-in gate changes, you will be also be notified.
Apple seems to be caring a lot about people with some kind of handicap. With Guided Access a parent or teacher can set controls a person can use in a certain app. Other controls will be blocked. There’s also a single-app mode where the home button will be disabled.
The kicker of today, although not that big of surprise, is the new Maps application. Apple built the app from the ground up. The app has traffic information and local search can be used all over the world. There’s also turn-by-turn navigation with Siri’s voice telling you which direction to go. Siri can also be used to search for locations on the map. And Maps will be able to display the maps in 3D.
iOS 6 will be available as a developer preview first, but will get an official launch this fall.