iOS 6, the next-generation software for Apple’s iPhone, iPad and iPod touch devices is packed full of goodness with more than 200 new features.
Here’s six of them we can’t wait to get our sticky little fingers on:
1. Totally redesigned Maps with 3D Flyovers and turn-by-turn directions
One of the biggest changes coming in iOS 6 is Apple’s brand new native Maps app. The app will replace the existing iOS Maps app (which uses maps from Google) and will offer spoken turn-by-turn directions that dynamically update in real-time as traffic conditions change (to do this Apple is using anonymous crowd-sourced data from iOS users), fast-loading vector-based maps with additional interactive 3D views, a cool Flyover feature which takes you on a virtual tour over landmarks and major metro areas, built-in Siri (for finding a fuelling station on your route) and perhaps most importantly, local search -- which is not just limited to the US -- with built-in search results and ratings from Yelp. While Google might be reeling from the announcement of Apple’s native Maps app, it will be a boon for developers and users alike.
2. Enhanced Siri with added local support
Apple’s intelligent personal assistant Siri just got smarter. She’s been busy learning new languages, brushing up on her sports knowledge, keeping up to date with the latest movies and discovering the best local restaurants near you. Up until now Siri has provided limited support for people living outside of the USA. In iOS 6 Siri will be available to people in 15 countries (and even more languages) and will be able to find local restaurants in those countries by cuisine, price and location. Siri will also be available on the iPad. Additional Siri features in iOS 6 include the ability to launch an app and Eyes Free -- Apple’s next generation hands-free solution for driving which lets you control the phone with minimal distractions.
3. Deep Facebook integration
Facebook sharing will be baked into iOS 6. Social networking fans will now be able to share photos, locations, links and game scores with their friends on Facebook (or Twitter) without having to open the app. They can also post a status update from within the Notification Center or ask Siri to update their status for them. Contacts, Birthdays and Calendar events from Facebook are integrated into the native apps on iOS 6 and there is now a “Like” button within the App Store so you can tell your Facebook friends how much you like the latest Gotye song or Johnny Depp movie.
4. VIP Mail and better web browsing on Safari
Mail and Safari have been given huge updates in iOS 6. Mail has been redesigned to offer a more streamlined and efficient emailing experience. There are new VIP email notifications so you don’t miss important messages plus new VIP and Flagged inboxes. Adding a photo or video to an email has also gotten easier with tap to insert editing. Apple’s web browser Safari has been given a huge makeover with the addition of iCloud Tabs so you can keep browsing the same pages on all your Apple devices, full-screen landscape view, and offline reading lists which make full-page web pages available to read even when you have no internet connection.
5. Do not disturb feature and phone-back reminders
There are times when you just don’t want to be disturbed by phone calls and notifications. On iOS 6 you can set your phone to “Do Not Disturb” to suppress all incoming calls and notifications either manually or at a scheduled recurring time. You can customize the feature to allow calls from contacts marked as favorites or specific contract groups so you don’t miss out on important calls from your family or work. With the new Phone app you can also dismiss an incoming call and send the caller an automated text reply (such as “Can’t talk now I’ll call you later.”) or have your phone to remind you to call the person back at a specific time or location (such as when you leave work).
6. Guided Access and improved Accessibility
iOS 6 brings important new updates and specialized features for people with vision, hearing, learning, and mobility disabilities. Guided Access enables a parent, teacher, or administrator to limit access to one app by disabling the Home button and removing the ability to access certain areas on the screen. In iOS 6 blind and low-vision users can now use VoiceOver within Maps, AssistiveTouch, and Zoom
iOS 6 is scheduled for a fall release and will be available as a free download for iPhone 4S, iPhone 4, iPhone 3GS, iPad 2, the new iPad (third generation), and on the fourth-generation iPod touch.