Mobile

iOS 6 coming September 19, here’s what to expect

Doesn’t it feel like we’ve just upgraded our iPhones to iOS 5? Well, get ready for more features, because iOS 6 is coming to an iPhone near you.

Apple announced iOS 6 at its Worldwide Developers Conference in June, setting its release date for “fall.” Today Apple revealed that iOS 6 will be available for the iPhone 4S, iPhone 4, iPhone 3GS, iPad 2, and new iPad on September 19.

The OS has been expanded with a few key features that were really missing from iOS 5, such as Facebook integration. We also saw some rivalry with the removal of Google Maps and yes, sadly, YouTube seems to be missing as well (though it was replaced by a YouTube app from Google). Let’s take a look at what we do have in this new operating system:

Facebook

Thus far, Apple has only provided its iOS 5 users with the ability to share content through Twitter, e-mail, and SMS messages. Sure, the Facebook application can access things like your photos and videos, but having to open the app, go to the photo upload area, and then finally upload it is (believe it or not) too many steps. The exclusion also brought up questions about Apple’s relationship with Facebook.

But it seems everything is honky dory, which is good for me because I love it when companies make it easier for me to share pictures of myself as a walrus with straws up my nose.

Do Not Disturb

There are times, however, when we need a break from the sharing and the talking, and that’s where iOS 6’s “do not disturb” feature really comes in handy. The Internet is a buzzing, whirring, blinking, distracting thing that makes our phones even more attention-seeking. Do not disturb puts your phone into an even deeper silent mode, where it will still receive calls and messages, but will not light up, vibrate, or sound off. It is customizable in that you can let certain actions, such as calls come through.

Maps App

Oh maps app, how we have talked about you for days on end. The app is based on Open Street Maps, a veritable Wiki for map data. It includes 3-D images, which were likely courtesy of C3 Technologies, a company Apple acquired in October that does just that — 3D-imaging for maps!

The app also includes turn-by-turn navigation, traffic data, and Siri integration.

It is also deeply integrated with Yelp. With the aid of Yelp’s data, people can now query the maps app to “find friends nearby.” Apple is already partnered with Yelp to add intelligence to its Siri voice-assistant.

Passbook

This is a new built-in app that holds all of that “wallet clutter” like gift cards, coupons, loyalty cards, and all kinds of tickets. It’s another step toward having your phone become your wallet and your wallet become an old, bendy piece of leather.

Developers looking to access Passbook, however, have a couple things to consider, as Giftango CEO David Nelsen notes in his guest post about what Apple hasn’t told developers about Passbook. Developers are going to need to watch out for legal issues when it comes what gift cards can look like on their app, getting access to the merchant’s gift card processing program, and more.

FaceTime

You finally don’t have to be near Wi-Fi to use FaceTime! The video-chatting feature now works over cellular data networks (except for AT&T), making it even more competitive with Skype. Of course, 3G data networks tend to be a lot slower than Wi-Fi, so chances are you’re going to opt-in to using FaceTime over traditional methods. We expect the iPhone 5 to feature LTE 4G connectivity, which will truly be able to take advantage of FaceTime over cellular.

People are also now able to get in touch with you over FaceTime even if they don’t know your Apple ID. Apple now associates your phone number with you Apple account, so you can pick up FaceTime calls to your phone from your iPad and Mac as well.


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