WWDC: Apple Announces iOS 6, Shows Off In-house Maps App
June 11, 2012 2:45 PM
Apple brings new Maps app with turn-by-turn navigation, but it's limited to iPhone 4S, iPad 2, and newer devices.
Apple first introduced the world to the iPhone Operating System -- now known as iOS --
back in early 2007
. At the time, the operating system was a breath of fresh air in the smartphone space. Over the years, the iOS has grown to encompass not only the iPhone, but also the
. 350 million iOS devices have shipped as of March 30, 2012.
Five years after its first introduction, Apple is ready to apply a fresh coat of paint to its mobile operating system with iOS 6. Those expecting a drastic UI overhaul are going to be disappointed as the same basic formula that was introduced in 2007 remains. However, Apple has taken steps to make sure that iOS 6 remains fresh and relevant in today's quickly changing smartphone space.
While iOS 5 brought a more modern Notifications Center, OTA updates, iMessage, and integrated Twitter support, Apple has a fresh bag of tricks up its sleeve for iOS 6 at this year’s Worldwide Developers Conference (WWDC).
Apple has updated Siri with some new functionality. While the first iteration of Siri introduced with the iPhone 4S was somewhat limited in its capabilities, the version included in iOS 6.0 now supports the "New" iPad, can give you sports scores (for example: MLB, NFL, NBA, etc.), and stats on athletes. It has also been integrated with Rotten Tomatoes, Yelp, and OpenTable.
Another big addition is the ability to launch apps with Siri. For users that have pages and pages of apps, a voice command of "Play Angry Birds" will launch the app instead of swiping and tapping through screens.
Even further integration is being introduced in new automobiles using "Eyes Free". Eyes Free is simply a button placed on a vehicle's steering wheel that allows users to directly access Siri without taking your eyes off the road. Some of the partners include BMW, Mercedes, Audi, Toyota, Honda, and General Motors. Ford is interestingly not on that list, but we're sure they're
quite content with MyFord Touch
The other big addition to iOS is Facebook integration. Last year saw system-wide integration of Twitter and this year Zuckerberg and his crew are joining the fray. Users simply login from the Settings app, and are then given the ability to share apps, upload pictures, and provide location details to their Facebook page. There is also full integration with the iTunes store so that you can like and share movies, TV shows, and music.
And to make posting information easier, Apple has added Twitter and Facebook posting buttons to the Notification Center.
Apple is also making some of the most drastic changes to the Phone apps since the iPhone's launch in 2007. Apple now gives you the option to automatically send a text message to a person who is calling you when you can't pick up the phone (say you're in a meeting or at a movie). A simple canned message can be sent, or you can be reminded at a later time to call the person back.
New answering options in the Phone app
A new "Do Not Disturb" option has also been added to Settings that allows your phone to go into stealth mode -- your phone will still accept calls and messages, but your phone will not light up or make sounds/vibrate.
Perhaps the biggest news is that Apple has kicked Google to the curb with respect to its built-in Maps application. It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to understand that the Apple-Google relationship has taken a
dramatic turn for the worse since the Android operating system debuted
. With this in mind, Apple took matters into its own hands by purchasing three mapping companies (Placebase, Poly9, C3 Technologies) to develop an in-house mapping solution for iOS.
Maps is now integrated with Yelp, providing 100 million business listings. Apple is also including traffic information including accident reporting using anonymous, real-time crowd-sourcing. In addition, Apple is finally getting onboard with turn-by-turn navigation; something that Google has offered for a few years with Android smartphones. And naturally, Maps is now fully integrated with Siri.
Turn-by-turn navigation and 3D aerial view in the new Maps app
Maps now includes a "Flyover" mode which displays 3D model of cities from an aerial viewpoint. Again, many of these features are simply catching up to what's been available on the market for quite some time on completing platforms.
And here's the biggest kick to the face of users of older generation iOS devices -- just like Apple's decision to limit Siri to just the iPhone 4S at launch, 3D Flyby and turn-by-turn navigation is
limited to just the iPhone 4S and the iPad 2
(and newer) devices:
Some features may not be available in all countries or all areas.
Flyover and turn-by-turn navigation will be available only on iPhone 4S and iPad 2 or later
. Cellular data charges may apply.
Odds and Ends
A few other features that are being added to iOS 6 include FaceTime over a cellular connection and iCloud Tabs, which syncs tabs between all your iOS devices and Macs. Users now have the ability to share Photo Streams. Users can now add pictures and videos into an email message directly from the Mail app instead of first having to initiate a message from the Photos app. Also, users can now “pull to refresh” to get new messages.
Passbook allows you to store eTicket information for movies and flights, and also allows you to store gift cards for retailers (i.e. Target, Starbucks).
Apple also bragged about the fact that they that have an extremely large consumer base with 400 million accounts (making it largest store on the internet). There are over 650,000 apps in the App Store with over 225,000 of them being specifically tailored to the iPad. In total, over 30 billion apps have been downloaded since the App Store was introduced in 2008. As for the developers, Apple says that it has paid out over $5 billion to developers since the App Store’s inception.
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