iOS 6: All New Maps app, improved Siri, Passbook and more

Apple officially unveiled iOS 6 earlier today at the WWDC, calling it “The world’s most advanced mobile operating system”. Hardcore Android users and Google may beg to differ, but one thing’s for certain: iOS 6 will come loaded with over 200 new features, including an all-new Maps app, improved Phone functionality, a smarter and more capable Siri, and much much more. The next gen OS is set to drop this fall and will be compatible with the iPhone 3GS/4/4S, iPod Touch 4th gen, and iPad 2/3. Here are some of iOS 6′s more notable features:

Maps

  • Designed from the ground up, the all-new Maps uses a “vector-based engine” that gives it crisp visuals and smooth performance when panning and zooming
  • Turn-by-turn navigation with 3D view of streets and surroundings. If you miss a turn, Maps will automatically reroute you and update your ETA (say goodbye to your 3rd party GPS app!)
  • Real-time traffic information (thanks to crowd-sourced data) will provide users with updated ETA
  • Flyover: Major metro areas can be viewed from above with photo-realistic, interactive 3D views. “Fly” around cities and explore landmarks in high res by zooming, panning, titling and rotating the 3D map
  • Works from the home screen and works hand-in-hand with Siri
  • Integrated with Yelp and will have over 100 million business listings upon launch.

Facebook Integration

 

  • Now integrated throughout iOS. Like Twitter on iOS 5, you only need to sign in once
  • Share photos from the Camera app, locations from Maps, links from Safari, high scores from Game Center, and more
  • Facebook friends’ contact info will be integrated into Contacts
  • Facebook Events and friends’ birthdays are integrated into Calendar
  • ‘Like’ songs, albums, shows, movies, and apps.

Siri

 

  • Available on the new iPad
  • Siri can get the latest scores and stats for your favorite team and players (Baseball, basketball, football and more). Data pulled in from Yahoo! Sports
  • You can ask for upcoming showtimes, look up movie facts, play trailers, and more. Movie ratings and reviews provided by Rotten Tomatoes
  • Ask Siri to look up restaurants by cuisine, price, location, outdoor seating and more. Restaurant photos, Yelp stars, price range, and reviews will be shown
  • Siri has partnered with OpenTable, allowing you to make reservations
  • Siri can finally open apps. Simply say “Open [name of app]” and the desired app will immediately launch
  • Tell Siri to update your Facebook status, post a comment on your Wall, or send a tweet just by speaking
  • Siri now available in English, French, and German. Japanese to come next, followed by Spanish, Italian, Korean, Mandarin and Cantonese.

 Passbook

  • A new app that acts like a virtual wallet, keeping all your boarding passes, movie tickets, retail coupons, loyalty cards in one place
  • Brands include Target, Fandango, Starbucks, Apple Store, United and more.
  • It’s time and location aware, so passes, tickets and other coupons will automagically appear on your Lock screen at the appropriate time/place

Mail (VIPs)

  • Users can set up a VIP list by adding various contacts to this newly designated category. Think of it as a “Starring” system for individuals
  • Mail VIPs is iCloud enabled, so all your VIP Contacts will be synced across all devices
  • Add photos and videos to emails few a few taps
  • Mail will be able to open password-protected Office docs in iOS 6

FaceTime

  • FaceTime will finally work over cellular (3G/LTE) networks, so you can FaceTime friends and family wherever you are
  • Make and receive FaceTime calls on your iPad and Mac using your phone number (Apple ID and phone number will be unified)

Safari

  • All-new iCloud Tabs keep track of all the pages you have opened on your iDevices, so you can pick up right where you left off from one device to another
  • Offline Reading: Full webpages are now saved (not just links) to your Reading List, meaning you can read that article later while offline
  • Upload photos and videos to various websites directly from within Safari
  • Read full-screen on your iPhone/iPod Touch while in landscape with a tap

Phone

  • In the event a call comes in and you can’t answer right away, simply swipe up to reveal “Replay with Message” and “Remind Me Later” options
  • Send sms/iMessage with preset and custom messages for a quick reply
  • Set up a time or location-based callback reminder (for location-based, options are “When I leave”, “When I get home” and “When I get to work”
  • Do Not Disturb feature ensures that no one can bother you (blocks all incoming calls and notifications)
  • DND can be turned on manually or at a scheduled time frame (i.e from 11pm-7am on weekdays)
  • Conversely, you can set it up to allow calls from your favorites or a specific contact group

Shared Photo Stream

 

  • Share specific photos you want, with just the people you choose. This is done by selecting photos from the photo apps, tapping the ‘Share’ button, then selecting contacts you want to share your pics with
  • Those using iCloud on iOS 6 device (or Mac running Mountain Lion) will automatically receive images in Photos app or iPhoto. If the other party doesn’t own an iDevice, they can be viewed on the web
  • Shared photo streams can be viewed on Apple TV
  • Users can like photos and even make comments
  • Shared photo streams don’t count against iCloud storage and they work on both WiFi and cellular networks

Miscellaneous

  • Lost Mode: iOS and iCloud offers Lost mode, which makes it easier to use Find My iPhone to locate/protect missing device. You can immediately lock a missing iPhone with a 4 digit passcode and sent it a message (contact number/info). While in Lost mode, the lost/stolen device will keep track of where it’s been, which you can view on a map within the Find My iPhone app
  • Guided Access: A feature that helps make it easier for people with vision, hearing, learning, and mobility disabilities. The home button, touch input and/or motion sensor can be switched off to help those with disabilities focus on the content
  • Redesigned iTunes Store, App Store, and iBookstore: Quickly browse through the best of what’s new in music, movies, TV shows, apps and books at the top of the respective store’s home page. A new history feature keeps track of the music, movies, and TV shows you’ve browsed. Tap on the history button when you want to buy that movie you’ve been keeping your eye on. It’s iCloud enabled, so your history will be up-to-date on all your devices
  • New Features for China: Chinese users will have access to new Chinese dictionary and improved text input (it’s faster and more accurate). iOS 6 has support for over 30,000 Chinese characters in handwriting recognition, more than double the number in iOS 5. Finally, you can add words to your personal dictionary and iCloud will make them available on all iDevices. Also, Baidu (China’s Google) will be a built-in search option in Safari and users can also share videos directly to Youku and Tudou.

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