If you're at all interested in technology then you no doubt know that right now in San Francisco Apple is holding their World Wide Developers Conference where they get to showcase everything Apple. As such, they've now gone ahead and taken the covers off their latest iteration of iOS which features plenty of additions. Depending on your view of iOS 6, it may not look all that inspiring and seem, well, a little underwhelming given the hype Apple is given for the occasion. Let's take a look at what they've gone ahead and added into the mix for iOS 6 that really stands out:
- Phone - Not exactly a whole lot going on in this area but they did add a new "Do Not Disturb" mode. When set up, you can create a whitelist of callers that can call in and for those blacklisted, you can set up a text letting them know you'll call them back when you want / get a chance to do so. It can be scheduled as well.
- Facebook Integration - Much like Twitter in iOS 5, you now get deeper Facebook integration that allows for such things as posting from your notifications, uploading images, and allowing others to see which apps you have installed.
- Mail - Mail gets a makeover. Now a richer experience wherein you can add VIP's and special contacts as well, now features inline video and photo insertion. Plus, they finally added pull to refresh.
- Siri - Siri has a few enhancements coming. You'll now be able to launch apps, look up videos on Rotten Tomatoes, book restaurants and look up sports scores. Oh, and it's all coming to the iPad now as well with additional language support which includes Chinese and Korean.
- FaceTime - It now works over cellular connections and Apple has seemingly sorted out the mess where Apple ID's and Phone numbers didn't really play nicely. They'll now be unified, meaning no matter what device you're on (iPad, iPhone, Mac) it will ring accordingly.
- Shared Photo Streams - Photo Streams came before but it severly lacked any real integration except with iCloud. Now you can share with whomever you wish and if you do share, the people you are sharing with will get notifications when you post up a pic.
- Maps / Turn-By-Turn Navigation - With this Apple has given Google the boot. They've crowd sourced a ton of information and now can provide their own mapping solution, though it does seem they're tapping TomTom (like RIM is as well) for some information. Yelp and Siri integration add some additional services as well -- you get 3D maps of cities all over the world with a feature called FlyOver.
- Lost Mode - An addition to "Find My iPhone" in case you lose it. You can now send a phone number to your device for presumably a nice person who finds your phone to call.
- Guided Access - Ensuring they have accessibility covered, Guided Access is honestly pretty damn cool. With it you can hide or block portions of apps so that accidental taps or escaping of apps can not occur. It can also be extended to hardware buttons as well. Think a visually impaired person who accidentally keeps exiting an app. Just remove, hide or disable the exit button and they'll not be able to leave said app.
- Safari - A newer mobile Safari is coming along with this release. You can now use fullscreen in landscape mode and it will feature iCloud Tabs which is similar to Chrome Sync in the fact it will keep track of your tabs, bookmarks etc.
- PassBook - Keep track of pretty much any sort of passes. Boarding Passes, Movie Tickets etc. If it has a barcode, it can be scanned and held in your PassBook for future use. Ya, I dunno -- this one seems like there is more to it they didn't care to mention just yet.
That about sums up the larger changes in iOS 6. If you're looking for more info on any of them, you can skip on over to iMore and get the full details but for now, we're left wondering what all this means for the upcoming release of BlackBerry 10. As it stands, many folks were concerned about the release of iPhone 5 competing with the release of BlackBerry 10. If iOS 6 is any indication of what next generation iPhone will be arriving with, it seems it won't really matter to those holding out for BlackBerry 10 as there really isn't anything there that detracts from the positioning RIM is going for with BlackBerry 10.
RIM is going for something new, something different, whereas Apple, realistically, just brought more of the same to the table. RIM is looking to pull in bezel gestures, swiping to your inbox, a whole new keyboard experience and more. Remember, excluding the BBOS, iOS is now the oldest mobile platform on the market. This kind of iOS 6 announcement smells more of maturity -- aka old age -- than it does innovation. Oddly enough, if you watch the new MacBook Pro video there is a quote within it that kind of sums up what the iOS experience is becoming:
"When you build on top of something else you're stuck with inccremental changes. When you start with something new you can totally redesign it."
Apple has been adding incremental changes to their aging iOS for a while now. Yes, RIM had an aging OS, which arguably forced them into making something new, but that's just it -- it's going to be all new and fresh.
Quite honestly, I was more impressed with the new Retina MacBook Pros than I was with iOS 6.