Now that the iOS 6 has seen its full preview at the World Wide Developer’s conference, we can take a look at the full array of features that we can expect to drop this fall. What has occurred here instead of a list of entirely new elements is the expansion of what has already been incorporated into the mobile platform and may even expand once the iPhone 5 sees its unveiling. Here is a look at exactly what is a part of the iOS 6 announcements.
Maps may be one of the most important new iOS 6 features around, especially since it takes such a departure from where it has been previously. The visual layout of Maps has a complete break from its previous connection with Google Maps and instead remains a lot clearer than before, maintaining a bright vector format that does not degrade upon zooming and is more readable. Turn-by-turn navigation has been incorporated, and a close up view is much more in line with traditional GPS systems that cars rely on. This may be an attempt by Apple to cut into the market share of GPS devices as this may prove to have an even more detailed look at this tool than separate devices.
The flyover feature is one of the more interesting aspects of the new Maps system because it utilizes a 3D modeling system that intends to be photo realistic. You can then interact with the visual model in a way that would seem like a tool in and of itself, though it is now embedded in the maps system. Traffic updates are done in real time and can actually begin accurately estimating your time. Pins themselves will also become beacons of information where you can find information like phone number, addresses, websites, as well as integrated apps like Yelp.
Facebook has also made its way into the new iOS 6 features in the same way that Twitter marked itself in the iOS 5. Inside Maps, Photos, Camera, and other areas, you will find the option to plug directly into your Facebook account just as you are now able to do with Twitter. This will just be a baseline function that will directly tie your device into another social networking avenue, which is likely to raise the usability of Facebook on a purely mobile platform. There is something fascinating about the fact that you can “Like” apps and songs, and it will likely become a base part of differentiating content on the iPhone. This is not to mention the fact that your Contacts will be fed information from your Facebook contacts and your Calendar will be synced with your Facebook events.
The Phone itself is finally seeing a more substantial update with the iOS 6 software, though this is something that really only affects iPhone users. You have a series of new options of how to detail with calls, such as to Reply With Message or set it to Remind Me Later. This is important as phone calls may not be easy to be dealt with immediately, but you want to find a way to manage the incoming contact. You can even send in automatic messages such as “I’m on my way.” There is even a Do Not Disturb option that allows you to set “Quiet Hours” where you will not receive phone calls, or to specify what group of numbers you want to receive calls from.
The Mail section is seeing a bit of an overhaul, but mainly in the basic menu design. As one of the new iOS 6 features, you will be able to identify VIP’s so that you can ensure to always see their messages. Media, such as videos and images, are made much easier to add as attachments and you will finally be able to do it in just a couple seconds.
One of the more exciting features for many users is that FaceTime is now usable over cellular data rather than just Wi-Fi, as it has been up until the iOS 6 update. You will now be able to utilize FaceTime no matter what you connection is, though for many users this will still mean using Wi-Fi in most situations since you will need to watch your data limits.
Social networking tools seem to be the name of the game now with iOS devices, and Photo Stream is allowing you to identify what photos you would like to share and exactly who your friends are. This will allow you to share with people on iCloud or Mountain Lion for their computer and have instant delivery through the right app, as well as Apple TV. This is not a dramatic change, but shows that Apple is consciously altering its tools to make them more user friendly and to follow a social networking model more closely.
One entirely new feature to the iOS 6 software is Passbook, which brings our need utilize different services on a consistent basis. This could be checking in for your plane, making sure specific coupons have not expired, looking up event seating, or more. What you can do is apply location and time reminders to different types of important Passbook places, such as Amtrak, United Airlines, or Target, and they will notify you in your Lock screen. This has the potential to become incredibly integrated since it utilizes common commercial vendors in line with useful Reminder tools, yet may be a little difficult for users to pick up right from the start.
Siri is seeing a major overhaul as well, and now it will be a little more knowledgeable than it was previously. Fist off, you can ask Siri questions about movies that will not just give you pertinent information like show times, but actually link you up to Rotten Tomatoes to find out if its any good. Restaurant questions will tie you into OpenTable to set reservations or Yelp! for reviews. And don’t worry, Siri has now read up on sports trivia so you can keep up on your favorite team. It will also be able to utilize Twitter and Facebook as well as launch apps, which really just expands its reach. More than this, it is not just going to be exclusive to the iPhone and will finally make its way over to the new iPad.
The most revolutionary part of the new Siri design is that it has found a way to integrate with car systems so that when it is docked in a car you can interact with it via a button on the steering wheel. You can then issue Siri commands without actually working with the iPhone, or even having it appear as if it is responding. This Eyes Free feature will allow you to do all the important Siri functions, like send a text message or make a phone call.
Safari’s update for the iOS 6 is similar to Mail’s in that it has seen a major face life while keeping the same basic design premise. It will save web pages in your Reading List and allow you to get right back on where you left it a lot quicker and easier than it is currently. You can interact with Camera Roll more easily since you can do it from right inside Safari, which is making it easier to use this mobile Safari for the more primary internet functions you used to have to head to an actual computer for.
In terms of importance, its new Accessibility options may give the newest round of iDevices a place beyond mere entertainment and distraction. Features for users with learning, hearing, and vision impairments have been included, all under the umbrella of Guided Access. This will allow for users to continue on content n a more focused way by doing things like limiting the device to a single app under the control of the person administering the device. This will allow for it to be used in educational settings more efficiently, and may enable special needs users to find a way to integrate the device into other tasks and goals. VoiceOver is, of course, in place for vision impaired users and is being used along side almost all areas of the device.
The space, or location, based social networking tools are starting to be centered on the iPhone and iPad, and the new Find My Friends tool is going to push this even further on the iOS 6. This simply allows you to show people your location, and eventually have a map that shows where people are located. Though it has some Orwellian aspects to it, this can help parents do things like utilize Reminders to see when their children are leaving school.
You can also expect that iCloud will take a more extensive role in Find My iPhone where the new Lost feature. This will allow you to set a passcode lock on it remotely and it will show a number that can be used to locate you if someone finds it. It will also keep a record of its movements so you can see exactly what has happened.
Beyond this there will be overhauls to the App Store, iBooks Store, and iTunes, though the extent of this is not entirely known yet.