Apple on Monday unveiled iOS 6, introducing over 200 new features to the world’s most advanced mobile operating system, and released a beta version to iOS Developer Program members.
iOS 6 will be available to iPhone, iPad and iPod touch users this fall as a free software update. New iOS 6 features include: an all new Maps app with Apple designed cartography, turn by turn navigation and an amazing new Flyover view; new Siri features, including support for more languages, easy access to sports scores, restaurant recommendations and movie listings; Facebook integration for Contacts and Calendar, with the ability to post directly from Notification Center, Siri and Facebook enabled apps like Photos, Safari and Maps; Shared Photo Streams via iCloud; and Passbook, the simplest way to get all your passes in one place.
“iOS 6 continues the rapid pace of innovation that is helping Apple reinvent the phone and create the iPad category, delivering the best mobile experience available on any device,” said Scott Forstall, Apple's senior vice president of iOS Software. “We can’t wait for hundreds of millions of iOS users to experience the incredible new features in iOS 6 including the new Maps app, expanded Siri support, deep Facebook integration, Shared Photo Streams and the innovative new Passbook app.”
But the highlight was the debut of Apple's in-house mapping service after years of development, a direct challenge to the same Google service that is one of the most popular functions on both Android smartphones and the iPhone, reports Reuters.
iOS 6 will be replacing Google Maps, until now a pre-loaded app on the iPhone and iPad, with its own in-house map service, delivering a big blow to Google, which gets about half its mobile map traffic from Apple mobile devices.
The move signals how the friendship between the two tech giants, former Google CEO Eric Schmidt once sat on Apple's board, has become a bitter rivalry shaping the evolution of the mobile industry. Late co-founder Jobs was famously quoted as saying he was willing to go "thermonuclear" on the search leader, after it decided to position Android against the iPhone, Reuters said.
Siri, now available for the new iPad as well as iPhone 4S, includes language support for English, French, German and Japanese, and adds support for Spanish, Italian, Korean, Mandarin and Cantonese. Siri is optimized for use in 15 countries and helps you get even more done with just your voice, whether it’s finding the latest sports scores or making restaurant reservations. You also can ask Siri to update your status on Facebook, post to Twitter or launch an app. Additionally, Siri takes hands free functionality even further with a new Eyes Free mode, enabling you to interact with your iPhone using nothing more than your voice.
Built in Facebook integration is the best ever in a mobile device, allowing you to sign in once and post from Notification Center, Siri and Facebook enabled apps, including Photos, Safari and Maps. Your Facebook friends’ information is kept up to date across all your iOS devices, automatically updating details in Contacts when they change, and scheduling events and birthdays in your Calendar. You can also “Like” content directly from the App Store and iTunes and see what your friends recommend.
With more than 125 million users already enjoying iCloud, iOS 6 introduces new ways to share photos with friends and family using Shared Photo Streams. Simply select the photos you want to share, pick which friends you want to receive the album, and the Shared Photo Stream album is instantly available on their iOS devices, iPhoto and Aperture on their Mac, via the web or even through Apple TV. You and your friends can leave comments on or “Like” any photo in a shared album.