Apple just took the wraps off of iOS 6 at its Worldwide Developers Conference in San Francisco. The company said that iOS 6 will offer more than 200 new features.
Siri in iOS 6
Siri has been updated with tons of new features including the ability to show detailed sports scores (including batting averages for each player from a baseball game, for example), improved restaurant search with reviews and OpenTable integration and movie times with Rotten Tomato reviews. The search results are incredibly detailed: the baseball scores, for example, look like a scoreboard and the movie time results provide ratings and even movie trailers for each results. Siri users can also search for movies starring specific actors or actresses or by director. Siri can also now be used to launch specific applications. Siri is also now supported on the new iPad.
A new “Eyes Free” feature in iOS 6 allows auto makers to integrate a hardware button into their cars that automatically activates Siri. That way users can launch Siri without having to look at their phone. GM, BMW, Mercedes, Land Rover, Jaguar, Audi, Toyota, Chrysler and Honda vehicles will soon offer this feature.
Apple’s iOS 6 will now feature support for tons of additional languages including Cantonese, Italian, Mandarin Chinese and Korean.
Until Monday, iOS featured tight integration with Twitter, but not Facebook. iOS 6 will feature integrated Facebook support which will allow users to quickly share their locations, Game Center notifications and much more to Facebook. The social network will also be tied into Notification Center. It’s even integrated into Apple’s iTunes App Store, where you can “Like” applications for your friends to see.
Phone App Improvements
Apple also improved the standard phone application within iOS 6. Users will have the option to “remind me later” or “reply with a message” when a phone call comes in. An automatic message, such as “I’ll call you later” can be sent out to the caller or you can be reminded to call back in an hour, when you leave work, when you get home or when you get to work. A new “do not disturb” option allows you to put your phone to sleep so that it doesn’t play a sound for messages or light up the screen when new ones come in. You can also only allow calls from favorites or block repeated calls.
Facetime over Cellular
Until now iPhone users could not place Facetime calls over cellular networks, instead, they had to rely on a Wi-Fi connection. That changes in iOS 6. Users will now be able to place a Facetime video chat call over cellular networks.
Safari in iOS 6 has been updated with iCloud tabs and the ability to read articles offline and save them in a comprehensive list, which includes headlines and a snippet of each saved story. Photos from Safari can also now be quickly uploaded to other websites. Apple also introduced “Smart app banners” for apps like Yelp which allows you to quickly open the application from the website or download it if you don’t have it installed already. Landscape view is also fully supported for those features.
Shared Photo Streams
iOS 6 also introduces shared photo streams, an amazing new feature that allows friends to share their photo streams with one another. Your friend Jon, for example, might go to a Lakers game and snap a ton of photos and those pictures will automatically be integrated into your own photo stream. You can comment and like photos too.
VIP Mail and Other Mail Improvements
Apple said iOS 6 will also feature new VIP Mail options that allow users to predetermine VIP so that those messages are highlighted with a star or are sent to your homescreen with a notification immediately. The mail application also allows users to password protect documents and even insert photos and videos right into a message — a feature that has been available on Android for quite some time now.
We love this feature. iOS 6 will feature a new application called “Passbook” that allows users to store shopper cards (Starbucks), movie ticket applications (Fandango), boarding passes (Amtrak or airlines) and much more. It’s location aware, too, which means it could bring up your Starbucks card on your lockscreen if you pass a nearby location. Or, if your gate changes on United Airlines, and you have your boarding pass saved in Passbook, it will automatically alert you of the change.
iOS 6 sports a new “Guided Access” feature that allows owners to disable some parts of applications. This is, Apple says, a feature that could enable parents to share their iOS devices with kids without them hitting the wrong application. It also enables a “single-app mode” for allowing only one application to run. A child, for example, could be locked into a story book and access only that application instead of the whole iPhone.
Apple also announced that it has ditched Google Maps and is now offering its own mapping solution in iOS 6. The maps support traffic view, 3D rendering, integrated Yelp, 100 million business listings, turn-by-turn navigation and much more. Maps also offers full Siri-integration. A user might ask “Where can I get gas” for example, and get a list of gas stations and then directions to those gas stations. Oh, and there are even 3D renders of cities around the world! We can’t wait to test this new app out.
Apple also said that iOS will feature tons of other new features including new privacy controls, “lost mode” and redesigned store fronts. We’ll bring you more of the iOS 6 details as we dig deeper into the new operating system… as soon as we can get our hands on it.