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iOS 6 Announced

Looking at the current product range of Apple I keep thinking that what I am seeing is a sign of the future decline. Many say that Apple are perfecting what they have by adding teaspoons of new features but this perfecting has been going on for five years now. The last iOS release mostly concerned the looks and even though I find the newborn notification center handy it is not really a big UI achievement and often only creates mess.

iOS5: The Fifth Element

iOS brings no breakthrough and those who use jail broken Apple devices has been familiar with these new features. The biggest new feature for me in iOS 6 is that when you start a download in the AppStore the AppStore app does not minimize and you can continue browsing for new apps. But enough for chit chat! Lets have a look at what is new in iOS 6.

Siri

Siri now supports even more languages: French, German, Japanese, Spanish, Italian, Korean, Chinese and Cantonese 15 languages in toto. Siri is now available on iPad and the app looks great and different from its iPhone version. You can post in Facebook and Twitter by speaking to it and do lots of other things too. The most interesting new feature I think is the upcoming integration of Siri into cars with a dedicated Siri button on the steering wheel Apple is already in talks with car manufacturers.

Facebook

Apple finally made the Facebook app available for iOS devices which is good news and now you can change your status from the notification center or with the help of Siri. Your Facebook account can be integrated into a number of the standard apps and your activity say in AppStore will be posted in your FB feed. So I dont think that all the rumors around the Facebook phone are true why would Facebook need a phone when now wheyve got all iOS devices?

Passbook

This app makes all the third party apps of this sort in the AppStore redundant. It is a nice app, it looks great and it can scan QR codes in airports or anywhere else/ here is a piece of its blurb:

Your boarding passes, movie tickets, retail coupons, loyalty cards, and more are now all in one place. With Passbook, you can scan your iPhone or iPod touch to check in for a flight, get into a movie, and redeem a coupon. And if your gate changes after youve checked in for your flight, Passbook will even alert you to make sure youre not relaxing in the wrong terminal.

FaceTime

I have been using this app a lot recently because many of my friends have moved and Facetime allows you to keep in touch in a very convenient manner. I could not have anticipated that I would grow so attached to this app frankly. New in iOS 6 is that Facetime now supports calls within cellular networks too and does not need Wi-Fi if your cell is fast enough that is.

Do Not Disturb

This is a new phone profile that can turn off the call ringtone and notification sounds for a certain period of time. Then you see the moon icon in the status bar. In the profile settings, you can whitelist certain numbers to be allowed anyway. You can even set how to respond to second calls so if someone really wants to reach you he will be put through.

Reply with Message

Another new feature that has been long available on non-Apple devices is the Reply with Message to a missed call feature. The Phone app has got new looks and besides replying with a message you can ask to be reminded later about the missed call. The reply with message feature has preset texts like Cant talk right now and you can create your own templates. The remind me later feature can be very handy I for one am always forgetting to reply to missed calls.

Maps

The new vector graphics looks great but I would still recommend a separate satnav device for car. Besides 3D streets and traffic info the Maps now feature the Turn-by-turn mode. iOS 6 Maps are slower than in iOS 5 and all-in-all I prefer the iOS 5 version which at least is more accurate telling on which side of the road I am driving.

Mail

New in the Mail app is the VIP mailbox for the most important contacts, attaching pics and videos is now a lot faster and you can sync the mailboxes by dragging them down. I have got used to how the Mail app looks even though I thought that the all-in-one feed was messy.

Shared Photo Streams

I dont use this feature but as it turns out it can be pretty useful: a woman who lost her iPhone found the thief by looking at the photos he had been uploading into the Photo Stream who did not care to look into the settings to turn the auto upload off. Anyway, this app allows you to quickly share pictures with other iOS devices by uploading them to your stream. If your friends are not using Apple devices then they can view your pictures on the web.

Safari

Apple is promising faster browsing, full screen website viewing, offline browsing and integration with iCloud. Nothing impressive but all-in-all the new browser is very good.

Guided Access

I think many parents have been waiting for something like this: this app allows you to launch an app and lock the device on it so if you give your iPad to your kids they cant close the app and mess around with the tablet. I sure know I will be using this and cant wait for IOS 6 for this reason.

Compatibility

As always, iOS 6 is a free firmware update supported by iPhone 4S, iPhone 4, iPhone 3GS, the new iPad, iPad2 and iPod Touch (4th gen). it will be released sometime in fall 2012 probably together with iPhone 5. We have to wait only a bit and I am glad Apple is still supporting some of the old guard like iPhone 3GS.

Bottom Line

iOS 6 for iPhone and iPad will be slightly different as always. Right now you can test the differences in the developers build of iOS 6. There are different icons, wallpapers and a different AppStore UI not the best one as I am told. Apple is continuing to perfect the company is a lot more concerned with the perfect work of the existing features than introducing new ones. Right now their main concern is to make the update smooth and easy for everyone so that even iPhone 3GS owners dont feel left aside. Well, now we wait, we wait for the iPhone 5 and the new iPods releases in fall.

Do you want to talk about this? Please, go to our Forum and let your opinion to be known to the author and everybody else.

Sergei Kuzmin (skuzmin@mobile-review.com)
Twitter    Livejournal
Translated by Robert Mugattarov (mugattarov@gmail.com)

Published — 14 June 2012

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