On top of unveiling a number of new devices, Apple also announced a few new things about its software, too. Join me as I walk you through all that was announced today.
Apple showed most parts of iOS 6 at its WWDC event this summer, but it didn’t show all of it – and it didn’t give a firm release date, either. The rest of iOS 6 was shown off today, though, and Apple even gave us a firm release date: September 19, two days before the iPhone 5 is set to be available for sale.
Some of the iOS 6 features that Apple showed off today include Siri improvements, an update to Safari, the new Maps app, and Facebook integration.
Let’s start with Siri. The personal assistant that was introduced with the iPhone 4S last year has finally been refreshed with some more functionality, including the ability to do things outside of the phone’s native applications, like updating Facebook and Twitter. There’s also tight integration with movie information and sports scores – which is likely due to Apple’s new Passbook app that holds your tickets for movies and sporting events, as well as payment cards for businesses that support it.
Safari’s update is far less awesome than Siri’s, but it’s still somewhat cool: the web browser will now have a full-screen browsing mode, along with iCloud tabs that will allow you to take your tabs from iDevice to iDevice to Mac through Apple’s iCloud service.
Meanwhile, Apple’s new Maps app will now give turn-by-turn navigation. The app will also feature a realistic 3D flyover feature that will show accurate models of buildings and other structures.
Facebook integration is included in iOS 6, too. I’d imagine that this will function similarly to the way that Twitter integration already acts in iOS 5: you sign in once with your Facebook account and you will be able to perform Facebook functions through iOS’ native apps. In fact, that was somewhat already confirmed: Photo Stream will give you the option to upload photos to Facebook automatically.
Panorama mode, which allows you to stitch together multiple photos to make a large panoramic picture, is also going to work on the iPhone 4S – not just the new iPhone 5.
Current iDevices that are compatible with iOS 6 include: iPhone 3GS, 4, 4S; iPad 2 and new iPad; and 4th generation iPod touch.
iTunes is also going to get a huge update – but that’s coming later. Apple said that the new version of iTunes will be available at the end of October, when it will bring a massively updated and beautiful UI to what has been a traditionally ugly app. Hopefully its performance will be beautified, as well – iTunes has historically been one of the slowest and worst apps ever.
To hold its users over, Apple updated the current version of iTunes to 10.7 to support iOS 6 and the newly-announced iDevices.
Software wasn’t the focus of this event, but there were some good surprises here. What are your thoughts on Apple’s new software?