iOS 6, the latest generation of Apple’s mobile software foriPod touch, iPhone and iPad, has finally been unveiled- and from what we’ve seen so far, it will delight an awful lot of iOS users.
iOS 6 introduces Passbook
Passbook is Apple’s new e-tickets app, enabling a user to carry electronic tickets for anything from sports events to plane travel, or to have a digital loyalty card. The tickets update, too, so for example a users airline ticket would send him a notification once his departure gate was announced or changed. Hopefully enough firms will support this one to make it work for all our everyday bits and bobs.
iOS 6 has an improved Phone application. The revised Phone app offers smart reminders, so for example a user can reject a call with a message saying a user is busy, on his way or lost in a forest… A user can also be reminded to call someone back when a user has to leave his current location. The new Do Not Disturb mode is particularly nifty: when new messages arrive, they do so silently and without the screen lighting up. If a user wishes, then he can also tell his iPhone not to silence calls from a list of favourite callers, or to automatically silent repeat calls from the same person.
iOS 6 has Facetime over 3G
iOS 6 has a brand new Safari application. There are lots of useful improvements here: Instapaper-style offline reading, iCloud tab syncing and photo sharing website integration to make uploading less hassle. Less wonderfully, Smart App Banners enable websites to tell a user about their sodding iOS apps more easily, which is just brilliant.
iOS 6 photo sharing is more selective
Instead of sharing everything with everyone, a user can choose which photos should be shared with which people.
iOS 6 makes Siri more serious, and puts it in cars
Siri is able to understand a wider range of questions than before – the demo showed it understanding questions about sports scores, statistics and trivia, booking restaurants and finding out what’s worth seeing at the cinema – but as yet it’s unclear which, if any, of these features will make it to the UK. Local search is being rolled out worldwide, however, and there’s support for more languages.
iOS 6 has Facebook integration
Apple promises “the best Facebook integration ever in a mobile device”, and to our eyes it looks pretty much the same as iOS 5′s Twitter integration: a user can post photos, locations, URLs and so on to annoy his friends. The API is public, so non-Apple apps can share to Facebook too, and a user will be able to see his Facebook friends’ App Store recommendations.
iOS 6 has guided access for children
The new Guided Access feature enables a user to disable certain parts of the screen so that children can’t accidentally hit the wrong buttons. We’re going to use it on the in-app purchase icons in every kid-targeted iOS game. Hahah!
iOS 6 has a new Maps application.
iOS 6 supports larger phone screens
Rumors of the iPhone 5 coming with a larger 4-inch screen have come a bit closer to reality, thanks to a discovery made with the iOS development tool kit. Using the beta version of iOS 6, TechRadar was able to stretch the screen to fit a 640 x 1136 resolution version, and everything scaled perfectly.
iOS 6 dedicated Podcast application
A report from AllThingsD suggest that Apple may be about to givePodcasts their own application within the forthcoming iOS 6 software.
iOS 6 doesn’t require password for free applications. With iOS 6, a user won’t be asked to enter his password every time a user wants to download a free application. Once a user has linked the iTunes account to his iOS 6-toting iPhone/iPad/iPod touch, a user won’t need his login details again – unless a user wants to make a purchase, with actual money. A user will be not asked for the password if the user is re-downloading a previously purchased application.
iOS 6 has in-app purchase protection
In iOS 5.1 some naughty hackers found a loophole that enabled them to steal in-app purchases, which may have cost some developers millions in lost revenue. Apple has said that there will be no such problem in iOS 6 though, releasing a statement saying: “iOS 6 will address this vulnerability. If his application follows the best practices described below then it is not affected by this attack.”
iOS 6 could sport Bluetooth 4.0 bridge
It’s claimed Apple is working on a new feature in iOS 6 that uses Bluetooth 4.0 to act as a bridge between compatible devices, which could enable a future iPod to do a variety of tasks, such as making calls via an iPhone running iOS 6.
iOS 6 beta is revealing
Apple has removed its YouTube app from iOS 6, leaving Google to pick up the pieces and build its own version for the App Store.
iOS 6 should be adopted very quickly
Unlike other mobile operating systems, iOS isn’t dependent on mobile operators approving updates: as a result 80% of Apple’s 365 million iOS customers are using the latest operating system, compared to 7% ofAndroid users. Once iOS ships, expect a similarly speedy take-up.
iOS 6 doesn’t work on everything.