Apple today kicked off its Worldwide Developers Conference in San Francisco, and after talking a bit about new MacBooks and OS X Mountain Lion, the company introduced iOS 6. There's said to be over 200 new features in iOS 6, including some changes to Siri. Some of the additions that Siri is gaining with iOS 6 include the ability to look up sports information, including scores, as well as integration with apps like OpenTable for restaurants and Rotten Tomatoes for movies. Apple also announced Eyes Free, which will bring integration with Siri into a number of new vehicles. iOS's voice assistant will also be gaining the ability to launch apps, which is feature that's been oft-requested since Siri's debut last year. Finally, Siri will be making its way to the new iPad in iOS 6.
Next up is a feature that's been heavily rumored for iOS 6: Facebook integration. Yes, the next version of iOS will be integrated with the 'Book. Integration with the social network that Zuckerberg built will be similar to what Twitter users have been enjoying since last year, allowing users to do things like post images directly from the iOS Photos app. A new feature coming in iOS 6 will be dedicated post/tweet buttons in the Notification Center. Facebook will also be integrated with the App Store, allowing you to "Like" things like apps and music, as well as your contacts list, bringing Facebook events and birthdays into your calendar.
Despite adding new features related to Siri and Facebook, Apple didn't forget that their iPhones are actually phones, and the company announced some new phone features for iOS 6 as well. If a call comes in that you can't answer, iOS 6 will allow you to respond to the caller with a message selected from a list of pre-sets, and users can also add their own message to the list. iOS 6 will also bring the ability to make FaceTime calls over cellular networks. Since its release in 2010, FaceTime has forced users to stick to Wi-Fi for their video calling needs, so the new cellular support is welcome. Finally, Apple is adding a "Do Not Disturb" option to the iOS 6 Settings app, allowing users to receive notifications but keep their devices light and noise-free.
Another feature that's been the subject of a number of rumors is Maps, and Apple confirmed many of those reports by announcing that it's got a new mapping application in iOS 6. The new app will include turn-by-turn navigation and can analyze traffic data, sharing up-to-date ETAs and also offering a real-time reroute if necessary. Flyover is another new feature in the new Maps app, giving users "photo-realistic interactive 3D views" of their chosen locale.
A new app making its debut in iOS 6 is Passbook, which stores things like boarding passes, tickets and loyalty cards. Cards can feature QR codes that are scannable, and the Passbook app can also automatically display passes on your lock screen based on things like your location or the time of day. For example, if you walk into a coffee shop for which you've got a loyalty card saved, the app can pop your card up so that it can be used to pay. The Passbook app can also show alerts for things like flight delays.
Other new iOS 6 features detailed by Apple today include Safari enhancements such as iCloud tabs and full-screen view, the ability to set up a VIP Mailbox for quick access to email from certain senders, Guided Access for disabling hardware buttons or locking the iDevice to a single app, and Shared Photo Streams, which allows users select images from their Photo Stream and make them available on other users' devices. Apple also announced that the App Store is home to 650,000 apps total, 225,000 of which are iPad-specific, and that there have been 30 billion App Store downloads to date.
On a quick non-software note, Apple also introduced a new iPad Smart Case in its online store after the keynote wrapped up. The case features the same folding front cover of the iPad Smart Cover, but the case also protects the backside of the iPad. The iPad Smart Case is made from polyurethane and is available in light grey, dark grey, blue, green, pink and red. It's compatible with both the iPad 2 and the new iPad and is priced at $49.
Apple will be launching iOS 6 this fall, with a beta available to registered developers today. iOS 6 will be available to the iPhone 3GS, iPhone 4, iPhone 4S, iPad 2, new iPad and the fourth-generation iPod touch.
Apple Previews iOS 6 With All New Maps, Siri Features, Facebook Integration, Shared Photo Streams & New Passbook App
Available to iPhone, iPad & iPod touch Users This Fall
SAN FRANCISCO?June 11, 2012?Apple® today previewed iOS 6, introducing over 200 new features to the world’s most advanced mobile operating system, and released a beta version to iOS Developer Program members. iOS 6 will be available to iPhone®, iPad® and iPod touch® users this fall as a free software update. New iOS 6 features include: an all new Maps app with Apple-designed cartography, turn-by-turn navigation and an amazing new Flyover view; new Siri® features, including support for more languages, easy access to sports scores, restaurant recommendations and movie listings; Facebook integration for Contacts and Calendar, with the ability to post directly from Notification Center, Siri and Facebook-enabled apps like Photos, Safari® and Maps; Shared Photo Streams via iCloud®; and Passbook, the simplest way to get all your passes in one place.
“iOS 6 continues the rapid pace of innovation that is helping Apple reinvent the phone and create the iPad category, delivering the best mobile experience available on any device,” said Scott Forstall, Apple's senior vice president of iOS Software. “We can’t wait for hundreds of millions of iOS users to experience the incredible new features in iOS 6 including the new Maps app, expanded Siri support, deep Facebook integration, Shared Photo Streams and the innovative new Passbook app.”
iOS 6 includes an all new Maps app with vector-based map elements that make graphics and text smooth, and panning, tilting and zooming incredibly fluid. New turn-by-turn navigation guides you to your destination with spoken directions, and the amazing Flyover feature has photo-realistic interactive 3D views. Real-time traffic information keeps you updated on how long it will take to get to your destination and offers alternate time-saving routes if traffic conditions change significantly. Additionally, local search includes information for over 100 million businesses with info cards that offer Yelp ratings, reviews, available deals and photos.
Siri, now available for the new iPad as well as iPhone 4S, includes language support for English, French, German and Japanese, and adds support for Spanish, Italian, Korean, Mandarin and Cantonese. Siri is optimized for use in 15 countries and helps you get even more done with just your voice, whether it’s finding the latest sports scores or making restaurant reservations. You also can ask Siri to update your status on Facebook, post to Twitter or launch an app. Additionally, Siri takes hands-free functionality even further with a new Eyes Free mode, enabling you to interact with your iPhone using nothing more than your voice.
Built-in Facebook integration is the best ever in a mobile device, allowing you to sign in once and post from Notification Center, Siri and Facebook-enabled apps, including Photos, Safari and Maps. Your Facebook friends’ information is kept up to date across all your iOS devices, automatically updating details in Contacts when they change, and scheduling events and birthdays in your Calendar. You can also “Like” content directly from the App Store™ and iTunes® and see what your friends recommend.
With more than 125 million users already enjoying iCloud, iOS 6 introduces new ways to share photos with friends and family using Shared Photo Streams. Simply select the photos you want to share, pick which friends you want to receive the album, and the Shared Photo Stream album is instantly available on their iOS devices, iPhoto® and Aperture® on their Mac®, via the web or even through Apple TV®. You and your friends can leave comments on or “Like” any photo in a shared album.
The new Passbook app is the simplest way to get all your passes in one place, such as boarding passes and baseball tickets. Passbook lets you scan your iPhone or iPod touch to use a coupon, get into a concert or check into your hotel. Passbook automatically displays your passes on your Lock Screen based on a specific time or location, so when you walk into your favorite coffee shop your loyalty card appears and you can scan it to buy a coffee or check your balance. Passbook can even alert you to last minute gate changes or flight delays at the airport.
Building on Apple’s commitment to provide innovative solutions for education and accessibility, iOS 6 introduces Guided Access. This new feature allows a parent, teacher or administrator to disable hardware buttons to lock an iOS device into a single app, especially useful for test taking or helping someone with a disability stay focused on learning. Guided Access also includes the ability to confine touch input to certain parts of the screen.
Additional new iOS 6 features include:
- enhancements to Safari, the world’s most popular mobile browser, such as iCloud tabs, offline reading lists, photo uploads and full screen view;
- support for FaceTime® calls over cellular networks;
- the ability to set up a VIP Mailbox, making it easier to quickly view messages from important people you designate as VIPs;
- the option to decline incoming calls with a quick message, set a callback reminder and enable a new Do Not Disturb option; and
- a whole new set of improvements and services specifically for iOS users in China, such as improved text input and built-in support for popular Chinese services including Baidu, Sina Weibo, Youku and Tudou.
The iOS 6 beta software and SDK are available immediately for iOS Developer Program members at developer.apple.com. iOS 6 will be available as a free software update for iPhone 4S, iPhone 4, iPhone 3GS, the new iPad, iPad 2 and iPod touch (fourth generation) this fall. Some features may not be available on all products.
Apple designs Macs, the best personal computers in the world, along with OS X, iLife, iWork and professional software. Apple leads the digital music revolution with its iPods and iTunes online store. Apple has reinvented the mobile phone with its revolutionary iPhone and App Store, and is defining the future of mobile media and computing devices with iPad.