Now that Apple has rolled out the first round of announcements about iOS 6–the next iteration of its mobile operating system for the iPhone and iPad–it’s time to look at how it has lived up to expectations and what has missed the mark.
You might remember that a few weeks ago, I told you my list of what I hoped would be included in iOS 6.
As with any wish list, some of it came true, and some didn’t. And thgough I didn’t get everything I was hoping for, there was enough to make me anxious for it to arrive on my iPhone in the fall.
One of the most welcome announcements, and gleefully received by those of us in the audience at the annoucement, was news that the Siri voice assistant–and the results it provides–would get some major improvements in iOS 6.
Besides delivering better search results more quickly, the program will now be able to launch apps for you, offer support for more languages, and will finally be arriving on the third generation iPad. While many of these have been on users’ wish lists ever since Siri first appeared, there was never any guarantee that Apple would listen. It’s nice to see that this company does pay some attention to what its customers desire.
Also crossed off my wish list is the addition of 3G cellular support to FaceTime. The Apple video chat system is finally going to be available even when you don’t have access to Wi-Fi. That should open a new world of possibilities, such as on-site meetings outside of the office and faraway families sharing a child’s Little League game in (at least partial) real time.
Despite those important features, perhaps the “biggest deal” had to be news that Apple is doing away with Google Maps as its service for location software. This shouldn’t come as too much of a shock, as the two companies have been long locked in legal battles all over the world for patent infringements, ranging from 3G technology to the way you swipe between screens. So it’s pretty natural that both companies might want to go their own ways.
Consequently, Apple will be adding its own mapping service to iOS 6. Apple has been preparing for this day by deploying aircraft all over the world to develop 3D renderings of major cities. In addition, it will be adding turn-by-turn directions (something other phones have had for some time–so at least the iPhone will now be catching up).
The native Mail application will be getting some new features as well, such as a VIP inbox and the ability to attach photos to emails without having to go to the Photos app.
While it’s true my entire wish list was not satisfied (Apple still woefully underutilizes the lockscreen, for example), some definite headway has been made. But there’s more reason for hope: Apple rarely reveals all of the iOS features at the WWDC (Worldwide Developers Conference). Expect more details when the new iPhone launches.
I got a definite sense during the presentation that Apple wasn’t showing all of its cards, so here’s hoping even more new features are on the way.