Apple Announces iOS 6 Featuring Siri Enhancements, Facebook Integration, Updated Maps App and More for Fall Release
Along with the announcements about OS X Mountain Lion pricing, release timing, and new features and a new MacBook Pro today, Apple also officially announced iOS 6 and highlighted some if its new features at today’s WWDC keynote event.
In iOS 6, Siri will debut on the 3rd-generation iPad and gets several new enhancements including the ability to report sports scores and schedules, tell you about local movie times and make restaurant reservations through OpenTable. And, most importantly in my view, Siri will be able to open apps, a feature that will make hands-free use much easier.
As expected following a plethora of rumors, Apple has revamped the Maps app with its own map data, doing away with Google’s integration here entirely. The new Maps app will include Yelp integration for business listings and will (finally!) offer turn-by-turn navigation guidance. It will also source real-time traffic data from iOS users anonymously and re-route accordingly.
Facebook will get system-level integration, similar to the way Twitter is integrated in iOS 5 today. Using a public API, developers will be able to add links to post to Facebook easily within their apps.
Apple has created a new app called Passbook which will act as a virtual wallet to hold airline boarding passes, loyalty cards, coupons, and more. Developers will have access to a new API to offer these items to iOS device users. At the keynote, Apple showed screenshots of a Starbucks Gold Card within Passbook, similar to the way the current Starbucks iPhone app works to pay for goods. Passbook can also alert you automatically when you’re near a business where you can use the app and prior to an event, like the departure of a flight.
Facetime will work over cellular networks, losing the restriction to Wi-Fi only that it faces in iOS 5 currently. And the Phone app gets some new options when incoming calls arrive to let you reply with a text message or set a reminder to return the call later.
A new Do Not Disturb feature lets you customize when calls and notifications should be suppressed to avoid waking you up at night or interrupting a meeting, a feature that will definitely help me sleep a little better despite my chatty, night-owl friends.
iOS 6 will work on the iPhone 3GS and later, the 2nd-generation iPad and later and the 4th-generation iPod touch. Though Apple has charged for iOS updates in the past, no price has been announced for iOS 6 and it will most likely be a free update for the aforementioned devices when it becomes available in the fall.