Apple adds 200 new features in iOS 6, drops Google Maps

iOS 6 will feature a smarter Siri and Facebook integration among 200 other new features.

MANILA, Philippines – Apple gave users a preview of the upcoming version of their mobile operating system iOS 6 during the opening of the Worldwide Developers Conference (WWDC) in San Francisco, June 11 (June 12, Philippine time). Apple says they added up to 200 new features to iOS 6, but here are the ones were are most excited about. 


Just like it did for Twitter in iOS5, Facebook is now built into iOS6. This means a lot of great things for users. You can now share photos to Facebook straight from your Camera Roll or Camera. Siri can also do that for you if your hands are full. Your Facebook Contacts can also be integrated into your Address Book and Facebook events, including all your friend’s birthdays are added to your calendar.   


Siri also go an upgrade. She now speaks several new languages including, Italian, Korean, Mandarin and Cantonese and can also understand Canadian English. Although no Vangie-like features were introduced, the new and improved Siri will be able to do things like take dictations for Tweets (I’ve been wanting this feature since iOS5), pull up sports scores, book reservations at select restaurants (I don’t know if this feature will be available in the Philippines), and launch applications.


The Mail app gets two new features that will make life much easier for iOS users. First is a feature called VIP Inbox which allows you to set certain contacts as VIPs, that way important emails from the boss, mom, or special someone don’t get buried with the rest of your email. Apple also finally rolled out some much needed improvements like pull to refresh (to check for new email), and the ability to insert photos and videos when you are composing an email. Previously you’d have to copy/paste a photo on to an email if you were replying, or start composing an email by attaching a photo from your camera roll.


You can now share photos, and albums with friends and have them comment on them just like you would do on Facebook. It’s almost as if Apple is building its own social network via iOS. Lot’s of potential here.


You can do it via Skype why not via FaceTime? Finally Apple has removed the restriction disallowing users to use FaceTime over anything other than a WiFi connection. I used to do this before on a jailbroken iPhone and in some locations is very possible, I have even done it in a moving car with the video remaining steady throughout. Of course this will depend on the area and the service that your telco provides.


Being able to text someone automatically when rejecting a call isn’t ground breaking, many Nokia phones do this already, but being able to set a reminder to call that person back is a cool feature to have. Apple adds both features in iOS6.


I know a light sleeper who wakes up when my texts come in at night. With Do Not Disturb that isn’t a problem anymore. You just flick a button and incoming calls or texts won’t ring, beep or vibrate your phone, it won’t light up either. You have some flexibility though and will be able to allow calls from people on your Favorites list if you so wish.


Apple also unveiled its own mapping program, dropping Google Maps as the maps system for its built in Maps app. 

iOS 6 includes “an entire new mapping solution from the ground up, and it is beautiful,” says Apple‘s Scott Forstall. “We are doing all the cartography ourselves. We are covering the world,” Forstall said.

The Apple maps program will include real-time traffic, updated with help from users, turn by turn navigation, and Siri integration. But it is unclear at the moment if this feature will be available in the Philippines.  

The move means Apple, which is in a battle against devices powered by Google’s Android operating system, will no longer rely on the Google program for its main maps application. Apple has been in an intense legal battle with makers of Android devices, contending the open-source software infringes on patents from the iPhone and its operating system.

Google last week unveiled a revamped maps program that allows mobile users to use the service without an Internet connection. The service, which will be available soon on devices powered by Google’s Android operating system, allows users to select an area and save a local map which can be viewed when a user does not have a data connection.

Apple says iOS 6 will be available in the fall, which is around August to October, 2012.  – with reporting from the Agence France-Presse


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