iOS 6, Newest Version of Apple's Mobile OS, Now Available
By Barry Levine / CIO Today. Updated September 19, 2012.
Apple's iOS 6 is out. On Wednesday, on the heels of last week's launch of the iPhone 5, the technology giant unveiled the newest version of its mobile operating system.
Available as a free upgrade, iOS runs on iPhone 3GS and above, iPad 2 and above, and fourth generation iPod Touches and above. It comes pre-installed on the new iPhone 5 and the new, fifth-generation iPod Touch.
iOS 6 had been demonstrated at Apple's Worldwide Developer Conference in June. New features, of which there are over 200, include Passbook. This app collects all tickets, coupons, and discount cards in a single location. When one arrives at the airport, for instance, a device's GPS tells the boarding pass to load on-screen automatically.
YouTube, owned by Google, is not pre-installed in the new iOS, but is available as a download from the App Store. This is generally seen as part of Apple's continuing disengagement with Google, most prominently by Apple's replacement of the Google Maps app with its own version. Apple contends that Google had been updating the Android version of Maps, but not the iOS one. For instance, the iPhone version of Google Maps doesn't have turn-by-turn directions or vector-based images, both of which are present on Android.
Siri now has the ability to open apps by voice command, which it will do automatically in response to a variety of requests. For instance, a user can voice-command Siri, the intelligent voice agent, to provide directions somewhere, and the app will boot up and show the desired navigational information.
Siri, FaceTime, Panoramas
Siri is also getting more cultured. She can understand questions about movies, such as finding the director of a given film, about scores in sports events, or about finding the closest restaurant of a given type. In most such cases, Siri returns the information along with any relevant app, such as Open Table to make a reservation at a restaurant.
Additionally, users who like to tweet but do not like thumb-typing can speak their tweets or Facebook posts. FaceTime, the video-chatting app, previously worked only via Wi-Fi, but now it also does so over cellular networks. Spectacular camera panoramas can be created in a 240-degree, 28-megapixel image, simply by moving the phone around in an arc. The surround image is created in real time, no stitching required.
Two new buttons, Remind Me Later and Reply with message, allow a user to more quickly respond to, or make a reminder note about, an incoming call. Among the options are canned text messages, or messages that you have pre-written, that can automatically reply to the incoming call, if you're busy.
There's also a Do Not Disturb option, which, while making the phone quiet, does allow the device to turn itself on at a given time, or will allow specified people's calls or texts to come through, such as in an emergency while you're sleeping.