Apple iOS 6 to come this fall

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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Meet the iPhone OS 4!

It’s difficult to tell who won MORE with Apple‘s newest release: the iPhone OS 4. With increased capabilities for both users AND developers, the iPhone OS 4 has not only answered the prayers of many a mac head, but also has given more tools to the common programmer. With a release date of late spring for the iPhone and fall for the iPad, developers are scurrying to download the newest Beta SDK and begin taking advantage of the newest additions to the iPhone OS.

Now, let’s compare the major innovations, first for the user, then the developer.


The greatest addition to the OS and one for which users have been begging for since 2007 is MULTITASKING. Since that time, Apple has said that they have not wanted to sacrifice precious memory space and battery life for multitasking. However, they have reportedly found out how to implement third party multitasking, making the dream a reality. On their website, Apple elucidated how this will change the user experience: “You’ll be able to make a Voiceover IP call while playing a game or checking email, find a restaurant on Urbanspoon while listening to Pandora, and more.”

To my dismay, however, multitasking will only be available with iPhone 3GS and the third-generation iPod touch (32GB and 64GB models from late 2009). That means if you have an iPhone (3G) or 1st /2nd Generation iPod Touch, you’re out of luck on this feature. Apple says the hardware just doesn’t support the new software.

The message is clear: if you’re interested in taking advantage of all the new features that OS 4 has to offer, it’s time to part with your out-dated device.

THAT MEANS MY 3G HAS TO GO! It seems my decision to trade in my iPhone 3G for the iPad 3G makes even MORE sense than before. (Read that article here: Trading in my iPhone for the iPad.)

Another new feature that Jobs premiered today is FOLDERS. If you have pages and pages of apps on your iPhone, iPod Touch or new iPad, Folders will enable you to, as Apple says, “Organize apps into folders with drag-and-drop simplicity. ” This also means that you’ll get faster access to your favorite apps and browse and manage up to 2160 apps at once – many more than the current limit of 180 apps.

The next new feature is an app, namely iBOOKS – the iPad’s little brother app for the iPhone. While some consumers have recently complained that iBooks is only available for the iPad, Apple revealed this app for one last “In your face!” or, as Ali G might prefer, “BOO-YAH-KA-SHA!” According to Apple, the iPhone app, like the iPad version, will allow users to flip through the pages of a book they’ve downloaded from the iBookstore. In the new iBookstore, released in conjunction with the iPad, users can browse tens of thousands of books – many of which are free. You can even check out reviews and read sample pages before you buy.

The last major update is ENHANCED MAIL. Apple has coalesced email accounts making the mail client even easier to use. They report users can now “see messages from all their email accounts displayed together in a unified inbox, switch between inboxes more quickly, organize messages by threads, and even open attachments in third-party apps.”

Summary of updates for Users:

iBOOKS (already available on iPad)
BLUETOOTH KEYBOARD SUPPORT, and with SPELL CHECK (already available on iPad)
TAP TO FOCUS when recording VIDEO & 5X DIGITAL ZOOM for the Camera
GAME CENTER – iPhone game achievements, leader boards, and match making (think like Xbox Live!)


The new Beta SDK will be available to developers, starting TODAY (4/8)! What will be available to them in this new OS, you ask? To start, the iPhone OS 4 has 1,500 new APIs and, thanks to the new multitasking feature, developers can utilize background audio, VoIP, location data collection, and local notifications (no more “push” notifications).

For applications, one of the most innovative changes comes with the new iAd. iAd is Apple’s answer to more interactive mobile advertising that can be integrated directly into the app without needing to shut the app off. This comes compliments of Quattro Wireless, consolation prize and competitor of AdMob, who, though initially in acquisition talks with Apple, was stolen away by Google. The irony here is that, now, the Federal Trade Commission (the people who OK  or stop companies from a merger that would create a monopoly) has blocked the acquisition fearing monopolization of the mobile and internet ad industry. It’s as though, “if Apple can’t have them, no one can!” What a jealous lover Apple can be!

With this new iAd integration, free apps will feature rich media ads that will “combine the emotion of TV with the interactivity of the web.” Therefore, while iAd will keep you in the app, it will take over the screen and even add interactivity — using HTML 5 for video. For developers, Apple will offer a 60 / 40 split on revenue, and users can even buy apps straight from an ad.

Summary of updates for Developers:

Thanks to the new multitasking feature:
BACKGROUND LOCATION DATA, both with live GPS for background turn-by-turn, and cell tower-based
LOCAL NOTIFICATIONS including “push”-like notifications but from the app itself, bypassing the need for a “push notification server”

iAd (it’s a big one, so it gets its own line…)

“QUICK LOOK” to preview documents
“DATA DETECTORS” for dates and address
AUTOMATED ANALYSIS: performance / power testing

In the Q&A section, Jobs and Scott Forstall (SR. VP of iPhone Software) took questions regarding the new multitasking. When asked how one closes the applications when multitasking, Forstall responded “You don’t have to. The user uses things and doesn’t ever have to worry about it.” Jobs added, jabbing at the netbook computer culture, “It’s like we said on the iPad, if you see a stylus, they blew it. In multitasking, if you see a task manager, they blew it. Users shouldn’t ever have to think about it!”

Thanks for looking out for us, Jobs! You’re the man!