Apple iOS 6 revealed – 3D Maps, upgraded Siri and Facebook functions

11 Jun 2012

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At WWDC today, Apple unveiled iOS 6, which it claims is the world’s most advanced mobile operating system. Due in the autumn, iOS 6 for the iPhone, iPad and iPod touch boasts 200 new features, including a new Maps app featuring Apple-designed cartography.

Upgraded Siri features include support for new languages, movie listings and sports scores. You also can ask Siri to update your status on Facebook, post to Twitter or launch an app.

Among the Facebook features revealed at WWDC is sign in once and post from Notification Center, Siri and Facebook-enabled apps, including Photos, Safari and Maps. Your Facebook friends’ information is kept up to date across all your iOS devices, automatically updating details in Contacts when they change, and scheduling events and birthdays in your Calendar.

Users can also ‘Like’ content directly from the App Store and iTunes and see what friends recommend.

A new Eyes Free mode enables you to interact with your iPhone using nothing more than your voice.

The new Map app features a Flyover view and turn-by-turn navigation. The new Maps app with vector-based map elements make graphics and text smooth, and panning, tilting and zooming fluid. It also boasts photo-realistic interactive 3D views and real-time traffic information that suggests alternative routes if conditions change.

The new Map app also features information on more than 100m businesses with Yelp ratings and available deals.

“iOS 6 continues the rapid pace of innovation that is helping Apple reinvent the phone and create the iPad category, delivering the best mobile experience available on any device,” said Scott Forstall, Apple’s senior vice-president of iOS Software.

“We can’t wait for hundreds of millions of iOS users to experience the incredible new features in iOS 6, including the new Maps app, expanded Siri support, deep Facebook integration, Shared Photo Streams and the innovative new Passbook app.”

iCloud integration and other interesting new features

Shared Photo Streams allow you to select the photos you want to share, pick which friends you want to receive the album, and the Shared Photo Stream album is instantly available on their iOS devices, iPhoto and Aperture on their Mac, via the web or even through Apple TV. You and your friends can leave comments on or ‘Like’ any photo in a shared album.

Apple also revealed a new Passbook app that allows users to gather all their passes in one place, including boarding passes and sports tickets.

The app lets users scan coupons with their iPhones or iPod touch devices for such purposes as getting into a concert or checking into hotels.

Another new feature is Guided Access, which allows parents, teachers or guardians to disable hardware buttons, lock the iOS to specific apps or confine touch input to certain parts of the screen.

Significantly, the new mobile OS comes with support for FaceTime calls over cellular networks.

Other improvements, particularly for iOS users in China, include text input and support for Chinese web services like Baidu, Sina Weibo, Youku and Tudou.

The new OS will be available in the autumn to work with the iPhone 4, the iPhone 4S, the iPhone 3GS, the new iPad, the iPad 2 and fourth-generation iPod touch devices.

Editor John Kennedy is an award-winning technology journalist.

editorial@siliconrepublic.com