Last night at Apple's WWDC conference the latest version of their mobile operating system, iOS 6 was unveiled. The iPhone (3GS, 4 and 4S), iPad (2nd and 3rd gen) and iPod Touch (4th gen) will be getting the update this fall. Sadly, this means that it is end of the road for the first generation iPad and older iPhones and iPod Touches. Developers are able to download the beta beginning today.
Siri was the key feature getting pushed, bringing a slew of new features. It can now launch applications and fetch various news and facts. Apple is also working with various car manufacturers to install a Siri button on the steering wheel in new cars. We don't know anyone that would buy a brand new car just to have hands-free Siri operation. Siri also gets support for some new languages including Canadian English, Spanish (Spain, Mexico), Italian, Korean, Mandarin, Cantonese and Chinese. Siri will also appear on the latest iPad.
Facebook integration is now present through the operating system – similar to the existing Twitter integration. Facebook profiles can now be merged into existing contacts to quickly check up on a friend's latest update from their contact card. The notifaction bar now has quick links to update Twitter and Facebook – a space we believe would be better consumed by various toggles such as Wi-Fi, airplane mode, 3G data, etc.
As expected, Google Maps has been dropped in favour of Apple's own service that support 3D and satellite views. There will also be turn-by-turn navigation but as is normal with Apple older devices will get neutered – the iPhone 4 will not get this feature, nor will it get the flyover view mode. There is also Siri integration which should surprise no one.
You can now reply with a text when you miss a call, or choose to get a reminder later to call them back.
There is also a “Do Not Disturb” mode which sounds like an awfully re-spun silent mode to us. It does nothing more than mute all sounds and prevent the screen from lighting up. Although you can set it up to enable between certain hours each day.
Facetime now works over celluar networks and not just Wi-Fi and your display name is now integrated into iMessage.
As you might expect, Safari has been updated to include iCloud Tabs (sync tabs across Safari on different devices), an offline reading list and the ability to upload photos to social media sites straight from the browser.
You can also enable a contact to be a VIP – which doesn't do much more than highlight all of the notifications related to them.
Passbook is one of the more interesting additions to iOS 6 and collates all of your boarding passes, tickets and loyalty cards into one place. It also supports QR code scanning.
Finally, other new things include better privacy settings, redesigned applications and improved HDR camera performance.
KitGuru says: A few useful new features here but it still has a strong upgrade to the latest device to get the full experience feel to it. Most Android smartphones released in the last three years play nice with turn-by-turn navigation just fine.