There is little question that iOS 6 is just one half of the big story this week, and while it not be the revolutionary update some wanted, it’s a great improvement on an already great platform. The update itself adds new features which are front and center and some which will largely go unnoticed or never be seen at all. Still, there are a few excellent additions to iOS 6 and since we’ve already upgraded, we’re telling you what’s worth knowing.
There was a lot of buzz immediately after the Apple keynote that surrounded the lack of NFC, a feature that is arguably trying to grow in popularity, with Google Wallet working to lead the pack. Passbook is not an NFC alternative in our eyes, it’s more of a “this is what we need for every day life today” solution, rather than the promise of what NFC can do tomorrow.
Add a boarding pass, movie ticket, pay for a Starbucks, loyalty cards and coupons will all be available in one convenient app. I go to Starbucks every single day (I know, I’m bad) and while Starbucks has a great app, I love the idea of having all of these capabilities in one app, lightening both our reliance on paper travel tickets and our wallet. Passes appear on your lock screen at the proper time and place according to Apple’s website, allowing you instantaneous access to your boarding pass upon entering the airport. Passbook is both time and location enabled, and will even update you if your gate information changes after checking in for a flight. Yeah, it’s that good.
With iOS 5, Apple introduced Twitter integration leaving many to ask “What about Facebook?” Like the Twitter integration, Facebook appears as a sharing option throughout all of iOS 6 and it’s super easy to get started.
In settings, you’ll find a listing for Facebook, add the Facebook app, enter your username and password and voila, Facebook integration.
Do Not Disturb:
Do not disturb is an incredibly welcome addition to iOS 6 that allows you as the user to completely silence your device on demand, or based on a schedule. You can set your phone to allow just certain people to reach you, including favorites or from specific contact groups.
Decline Incoming Calls:
When you decline an incoming call, you can instantly reply with a text message, or set a call back reminder. With do not disturb, nobody will bother you, except your boss.
FaceTime Over 3G:
FaceTime is an amazing way to stay in touch with friends and family, but if it had one drawback, it was the need to use a WiFi connection, until now. The only way to get around the carrier limitations was to jailbreak your device, and that’s not a practical solution for the business person.
Now, with iOS 6, depending on your carrier and device, you can use FaceTime anywhere you have a wireless signal. As a reminder, AT&T is requiring all customers to change to one of their Mobile Share plans to use FaceTime over cellular.
Maps is easily one of the biggest changes in iOS 6 and if you’re keeping an eye on the interwebs the past 24 hours, it’s also drawing the most scorn. It’s one of the ways Apple is de-Googling their devices and by doing so, they’ve adapted their own mapping solution which draws data from a handful of mapping partners. Unfortunately, Maps lacks a lot of the fine detail that Google has crafted over the years, especially with the utilization of their own vehicles providing Google street view.
Maps may look beautiful, but a number of people discovering that Apple can’t correctly locate their city, their building or even their country. The disappointing part is that few are finding the new Maps worth defending at all and with millions of customers ready to snap up both the iPhone 5 and download iOS 6, Apple will have to work quickly to add features to Maps that go beyond Yelp Integration and Turn by Turn navigation.
A feature that has been the basis for a huge number of apps in the App Store for some time, Apple has finally included the ability to take Panoramic photos. Using one simple motion, images can span up to 240 degrees, even moving vertically if you need to go taller not wider. The hardware and software will work together to create a 28 megapixel image and it’s all done with the what is widely considered the best smartphone cameras on the market.
We’ve already gone in depth with some of the new Siri improvements for iOS 6 and it’s a good first step toward making Siri a broad personal assistant. Launching apps, updating Facebook or Twitter status’ and making restaurant reservations, all a part of the new Siri. There’s still plenty of room for Apple to add more functionality, but we would be lying if we said we didn’t want them to focus on improving maps first.
That’s just a handful of the new features you’ll come across in iOS 6, but stay tuned when we go a little more in depth next time and find some of softwares best kept secrets.