Apple has announced that this fall, iOS 6 will be released. Most current iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch users will end up upgrading to iOS 6 in hopes of new features, and we hope that Apple doesn’t let us down. Based on what Apple has announced so far, most people are excited to get iOS 6 on their devices and take advantage of the newest features. I will go over some of the new features that Apple has announced so far.

The first thing that iOS 6 will provide is an upgrade for the Maps app. For those who have used the Maps app on previous iOS, they will notice that Apple has completely redesigned the app and has made it much more vivid and detailed. The new Maps app also provided turn-by-turn directions and offers different routes if traffic conditions have changed. Maps uses real-time traffic conditions to help you avoid traffic accidents and slowdowns. The app also has a 3D view of major areas that gives you a very clear image of the location you are viewing. Siri works well with Maps to help you get to your destination. You can even tap a pin on the map and view different information about that location, especially with the integration of Yelp into the Maps app.

Siri has also been improved. Siri works in more countries, understands more languages, and will now be available on the new iPad. You can tell Siri to look up the scores for a sports game, look up movie show times, find local restaurants, and even tweet or update your Facebook. Siri can even launch apps for you.  Apple is also working on getting Siri integrated in cars, a feature called Eyes Free. This will allow you to press a button on your steering wheel to communicate to Siri and allow you to call people, select music, text message your friends, and much more, without even lighting up the device’s screen.

Facebook will now be integrated into iOS 6. You can share photos from your Camera or Photos app, post your location from Maps, post your score from Game Center, integrate your friend’s profile information into Contacts and integrate events into Calendars.  Facebook is now part of every aspect of your device and you can even click the Like button in iTunes and the App Store. Not only are Apple apps integrated with Facebook, non-Apple apps can also connect to Facebook. This update is definitely going to be attract those who use Facebook frequently to post updates and pictures because it adds even more convenience to the use of mobile applications.

iOS 6 also gives you the option to Share photos from the Photos app with friends and family. If they are using iCloud on an iOS 6 device or a Mac running OS X Mountain Lion, the photos you share with them are delivered straight to their Photos app or iPhoto.  People can even like or comment it, similar to Facebook. If you want to share it with someone who doesn’t have an iOS 6 device or Mac running OS X Mountain Lion, they can view it on the web on the iCloud website.

A new application that Apple is adding is Passbook. Passbook is your organizer that replaces a wallet for coupons, tickets, boarding passes, etc. Passbook also takes advantage of time and location to coupons and passes will appear on your lock screen when it is appropriate, like when you are about to reach the airport or walk into the store where you will use the coupon. Airplane tickets also update if the airline announced changes. Passbook provides convenience in one simple application. The only problem is that companies need to support the app for it to be useful.

Apple has finally announced the use of FaceTime over cellular networks, instead of only Wi-Fi. This means you can FaceTime with your iPhone, iPod touch, iPad, and Mac, wherever you are as long as you have Wi-Fi or a cellular network. This feature is something I would have expected of FaceTime previously, but it’s better late than never.

iOS 6 also improves the Phone app. This improvement will be very useful for those using the iPhone.  The new feature gives you the option to send a preset text message or custom text message if you can’t answer a call. You can also set a time- or location-based reminder to alert you to call someone back. There is also a Do Not Disturb setting that will silence all incoming calls and notifications for a certain period of time or schedule, depending what you choose. It can even allow calls from specific people but silence the rest. This provides you with a whole new set of features for your iPhone.

With iOS 6, even the Mail and Safari app is updated. In the Mail app, you can set up a VIP list for important contacts. When you receive an email from someone on your VIP list, there will be a notification on your lock screen and those emails can be found in your VIP mailbox. Apple has made it easier to add photos and videos with just a few taps and allows you to use the swipe down to refresh your mailbox. Safari now has iCloud Tabs to keep track of webpages open on any device connected to your iCloud account. Safari also saves webpages in your Reading List so you can view them while not connected to the Internet. You can also post a photo or video from your Camera Roll or take a photo or video to post without even leaving Safari.

There are many new features on the new iOS, but some features will also be removed. Something of note is that Apple will remove the YouTube app with the update of iOS 6. Its license with Google to include the YouTube app has expired, but Google is already developing a standalone app for the Apple App Store. This isn’t a major difference but may be taken as a move by Apple to deviate away from Google apps.

With all these new features with the coming of iOS 6, who can wait? Improvements to many of the apps already provided by the previous iOS will make a big impact on the user experience. I’m definitely going to upgrade to iOS 6. The most exciting thing about iOS 6 for me is the new features with Maps and Phone, and the use of Passbooks. What are you looking forward too?

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