10 New Features For Apple's iOS 64:56 PM EST Wed. Jun. 13, 2012
The new MacBooks unveiled at Apple's 2012 Worldwide Developer Conference this week may have stolen the show, but Apple's mobile platform is getting a makeover with some important upgrades and additions, including some long-awaited improvements to email, FaceTime, and video and photo sharing.
Here's a look at 10 of the best new features in iOS 6.
At last! iPhone and iPad users will be freed from having to use the Facebook app every time they want to post a picture or message on Facebook! In all seriousness, iOS 6's new Facebook integration makes it much easier to use the social networking site while you're engaged in other apps. After signing into Facebook once, users will be able to post pictures -- either intentionally or accidentally -- right from the iPhone's Camera or Photo apps. Plus, Facebook events and friends can be integrated into your Calendar and Contacts list.
Apple's personal (digital) assistant gets an upgrade with iOS 6. Sure, you can still accidentally activate her by pressing the home button one too many times. But along with improved search capabilities, Siri will also be able to launch applications and games on voice command -- and yes, that includes Facebook posting, too.
There was nothing really wrong with Google Maps for iOS, but since Apple and Google are now embroiled in a blood feud for mobile computing supremacy, Google Maps is out, and Apple Maps is in. The new application features turn-by-turn navigation with spoken directions, plus a "flyover" view so you can see map regions from an aerial perspective.
In addition to search improvements and application launching capabilities, Siri also gets a brand new feature called "Eyes Free," which will integrate your iOS 6 device with your car. Apple is working with several car manufacturers on adding a voice command button for Siri on the steering wheel so drivers can ask Siri questions, make calls, hear and compose text messages, and even use Maps and get directions -- all without ever taking their eyes off the road.
Best of all, when your iOS 6 device is locked in Eyes Free mode, the device’s screen won’t even light up. Here's to hoping Eyes Free will help cut down on driving-related accidents due to mobile device-related distractions.
Passbook is a new app that collects your online boarding passes, movie tickets, coupons, gift cards and other items with QR Codes and 2-D bar codes and stores them in one, convenient location. So instead of carrying around actual paper copies of your movie tickets -- which is so 20th Century -- users can simply call up the digital version of the tickets and have them scanned at the gate.
Apple's Web browser was one of the low points for the iOS experience, but that should change with the new Safari update, which will finally add the ability to synchronize open tabs from Safari on a desktop to Safari on an iPhone or iPad via iCloud. Users will also be able to take photos and videos without leaving the Safari app.
Another long-awaited improvement: FaceTime is no longer limited to just Wi-Fi networks. Now you can make video calls over 3G cellular networks (but only if you have an iPhone 4S and/or a third-generation iPad). The FaceTime update will also integrate users' phone numbers with their Apple IDs, allowing them to answer either their phone or their FaceTime app depending on the device they're using.
There are a couple of changes to the Mail app. First, users will be able to prioritize senders in a VIP list. Even better is the integration with photos and videos in iOS 6; users will be able to add images and video clips directly into their email without having to leave the Mail app (previously, it was the other way around -- users could only email video or photos directly from those applications).
Another brand new feature for iOS 6 provides assistance for users with disabilities. Guided Access, for example, allows parents or teachers to limit an iOS device's accessibility to one application by turning off the Home button and restricting touch-screen input to specific areas of the display. In addition, iOS 6 will integrate its VoiceOver display for blind and low-vision users with Maps, AssistiveTouch and Zoom.
Apple adds a nice social networking feature in iOS 6 for its Photos app, which will feature a "Share" button. Users will be able to select friends and family members in their contacts list and share specific photos through iCloud. You'll also be able to shared your photo stream on Apple TVs and on the Web. And perhaps best of all, your share photo streams won't count against your iCloud storage quota.