iOS 6 is official. Not that we didn't already know about it. Apple's mobile OS is finally growing into its own shoes and the next software update hits Google where it hurts with the swapping of Google Maps for the company's own 3D mapping software, Facebook integration and new smarter Siri.
1. Siri Goes To School, Comes Back Smarter
According to Apple, Siri's been "studying up" in its eight months of public existence. Siri now knows all about sports. Want to know the score to a game? Ask Siri. Want to know who is taller, Lebron James or Kobe Bryant? Ask Siri. Want to know the batting average for a baseball player? Ask Siri. Siri is now one of the guys.
Apple's also partnered up with OpenTable to allow Siri to make reservations, Rotten Tomatoes to let you know what movies are playing as well as show you trailers, along with a slew of IMDB-type info on actors, actresses, directors, etc.
One big trick Siri finally knows is how to launch apps and dictate your tweets. To open an app, just say "Play...*app name*" and that's it. To tweet, you um, speak your tweet.
It's believed that Steve Jobs wanted to build an "iCar". Unfortunately, he died before he could ever see one through. Today, Apple also unveiled "Eyes Free." It is already working with big car companies such as BMW, GM, Mercedes, Audi, Jaguar, Land Rover and Honda to include a special button on steering wheels that'll activate Siri while you drive, so your hands are always on the wheel.
In addition to the five languages Siri already knows, Siri will also support 15 new languages including Korean, Mandarin Chinese, Cantonese, Italian and more.
Oh, and Siri is no longer exclusive to the iPhone 4S, it's coming to the new iPad, just as predicted.
2. Best Buddies With Zuck's Social Network
Just as Twitter was integrated into iOS's foundation in iOS 5, Facebook is now embedded within iOS 6. You can now post status updates directly to Facebook right from the notifications bar, like things in the App Store, movies, TV shows, games, etc.
There's also contact integration with your Facebook pals. All of the things such as events, calendars and birthdays that you would normally find in the Facebook app are now within iOS 6's Calendar and Contacts apps. Suh-weeet. Who needs a Facebook phone now? Not Zuck!
3. So Long Google Maps!
After years of rumors, Apple is really ditching Google Maps. Why? Because its own Maps app is better. It's got a traffic service that'll allow you to see incident reports. That should come in handy for avoiding routes that have accidents on them. The reports will be "anonymous, real-time and crowd-sourced."
A big addition to the new Maps app is turn-by-turn navigation. Android users have been snickering at iOS users for ages as the maps app on Google's mobile OS has had turn-by-turn, but now, iPhone users have it too. The best part is that it works from the lock screen and has Siri integration.
We heard rumors of 3D mapping in Apple's Maps app and again, they were true. Apple's calling it "Flyover." With Flyover, you can see detailed 3D maps of cities around the world as well as view them from above from a satellite's eye. It's said to be incredibly detailed and renders extremely fast, especially on the new iPad with its beefy quad-core graphics processor.
The Best Of The Rest
Apple announced a boatload of new stuff at its WWDC keynote today. We don't want to bore you with all the minute details, so here's the stuff that's worth reading and knowing about for iOS 6:
- 4. Passbook: new app for storing digital boarding passes, store cards, movie tickets and more.
- 5. FaceTime over 3G: At last! But watch that data plan...
- 6. Reply with Message: Somebody calls you and you can't pick up? A nice little button lets you reply with a text or create a default message such as "I'll call you later" as a quick reply.
- 7. Do Not Disturb: Text messages that'll still be delivered to your iPhone, but without the device lighting up, vibrating or making any noise to alert you when you're sleeping. It's a good night's rest at last.
- 8. Apple ID will be unified with phone number: Somebody ring you up on FaceTime on your camera? Answer with your Mac or iPad.
- 9. Safari: There are now iCloud tabs, offline reading, and you can upload pics to your any website right from the menu bar
- 10. Shared Photo Streams: Pick the photos, pick your friends. Share. It's that simple.
- 11. Mail: VIPs (a feature in the upcoming OS X Lion) is like Priority sorting in Gmail
When And For What?
Whew, iOS 6 is a doozy. It's got over 200 new features and is going to be a huge update for iPhone users. So who gets in on the fun and who doesn't?
iOS 6 will be released this fall for the iPhone 3GS, 4 and 4S, as well as iPad (second and third-gen), and iPod touch (fourth-gen).