Apple Shows Off iOS6 With Improved Siri, Facebook Integration And Passbook

Apple has shown off its new version of iOS – iOS6 at the annual WWDC2012 Monday. Alongside new Macbook hardware, the next version of its mobile OS was demonstrated, with a long list of “over 200” new features.

Here are some of the key new features announced as coming in iOS6, we’ll keep an eye out for anything new over the coming weeks. All images courtesy of Gdgt.com

Siri Improvements

Siri has been updated – “In this 8 months Siri’s been studying up and learning a lot more.” The range of topics Siri can interact on has increased, Sports is the first example. Siri can now answer sports related news and statistics questions, and it also includes Yelp and OpenTable integration allowing you to search, find reviews and make bookings at local restaurants. There is also the ability to search local cinema listings and see what’s on.

Apple has also partnered with a wide range of car manufacturers (note the absence of Ford) to integrate Siri into upcoming car models – billed as “Eyes Free” Siri now enables you to perform various functions whilst driving, speaking commands and responses and enabling you to function without taking your eyes off the road.

Facebook Integration

iOS5 brought heavy Twitter integration, but left Facebook out in the cold. Now Apple has decided to bring Facebook into the accepted circle and iOS6 brings deep Facebook integration directly into the OS.

As with Twitter, Facebook on iOS6 is available from the core Apps, “Post photos from Photos, post location from Maps… we’ve also integrated it right in with Notification Center. Anywhere you are you can tap to post to Facebook and Twitter.” There is now also the ability to post an update to both Twitter and Facebook from the pull down notifications screen.

Apple has also opened up APIs allowing third party Apps to make calls into Facebook natively.

Phone App

There is now a new control to action when you receive an incoming call. If you’re unable to answer, instead of simply declining the call to voice mail there are now some actions you can take such as “Reply with Message” and “Remind Me Later”. Reply with Message lets you send a text/iMessage reply, with a canned response or a custom one, and Remind Me Later lets you set up a reminder to call the person back, either at a later time, or when you exit a geo-fenced area. Very smart.

“Do Not Disturb” is a new feature you can activate to prevent your phone displaying reminders etc. Events will still come in but they will not make a sound or light up your screen. Apparently there is granularity to still allow certain calls through. If someone rings repeatedly Do Not Disturb will over-ride and allow the call through.

FaceTime

Facetime, previously only allowed over WiFi connections, has been enabled to now work over 3G data connections. An interesting point here:

You can unify your phone number and Apple ID. So if someone calls your iPhone, you can answer that call on your iPad or even Mac. We’re doing the same thing with iMessage.

This could be very handy, although I’m not sure how you would answer an incoming call on your iPad? Assuming there wasn’t a handover delay sending the call to voicemail, you’d need to answer it handsfree, or scrabble around for some headphones? iMessage should already work this way in theory, but in practive it is extremely hit and miss which messages ge sent to your iPad and iPhone and which only go to your iPhone. Solving this problem is long overdue.

Safari Tab Sync

Safari desktop now has the ability to sync tabs with mobile Safari on your iPhone or iPad.

There is also a new “Offline Reading List” which allows you to add a page for reading later and Safari will automatically download and cache the page to be read later, offline if required.

VIP emails

VIP emails are a new feature in iOS6 – you designate certain contacts as VIP and their emails are flagged and in a separate section in the Mail App. Also mail from VIP people gets displayed in the lock and notifications screen separately, so there is no chance of missing it!

Also a *huge* change for the Mail App is the ability to now add photos and video from the compose window, which has been a massive pain for me. Having to go to the Photos App and “send via email” has been extremely limiting, meaning you can’t forward and email with a message, or add one to a draft email etc.

Passbook

Passbook is a new App that will store all the details of your various reward cards, loyalty cards or even boarding passes in a single place.

Apple is signing up partners to build integration into Passbook with as many services as possible, and if ubiquitous could become the one stop App for anything that requires a code or number to remember.

Guided Access

Guided Access brings improvements to Apples accessibility controls. No real specific info on this yet.

Maps

Leaked a while back, confirmation that Apple has dropped Google Maps in iOS6, bringing its own in house solution instead.

In iOS 6 we’ve built an entirely new mapping solution from the ground up, and it is beautiful. We’re doing all the cartography ourselves… this is a worldwide effort, we’re covering the world

The new maps are entirely vector based, and include traffic and turn by turn navigation. You can also speak your destination to Siri and have it locate and guide you there.

There is also a new 3D Mode called “Flyover” that gives you a birds eye view of the location you’ve set.

iOS6 will be available for 2nd and 3rd gen iPads, iPhone 3GS/4/4S and iPod Touch 4th gen. It will be released this ‘fall’ (autumn) and a Beta1 build is with developers for testing now.

Stay Up To Date?

Get news and deals from Tech on the Go straight to your mailbox, delivered once per week.

Exit mobile version