iOS 6 is packed with a lot of great new features and it can be a lot to take in. We’ll show you everything you need to know in under three minutes so you can stay up to date and move on with your life.
Watch the video above for the overview. The quick details are below, too.
The top feature for most people is Maps, because it now offers turn-by-turn navigation guided by Siri. As you’d expect from Apple, the maps are attractive and pretty easy to read. Directions are really large so you can see them well if you need to quickly glance in the car. The downside is that Maps only offers driving directions, so public transit and walking directions no longer exist. You also need an iPhone 4S, 3rd generation iPad, or newer device to use it. Older models use the new app but offer no voice-guided directions. One more thing to say about Maps is Flyover, which lets you explore a map in 3D. It’s pretty cool.
Passbook is a new app that keeps track of all your passes and tickets, such as movie tickets and flights. It can even store digital gift and discount cards. As with any new release, partners are limited but it seems Apple has started out with a quite a few major ones. Starbucks, Fandango, and several major airlines support the service.
While not as flashy, updates to the Phone app are pretty great. You can now reply with a text message or immediately set a reminder to call the person back when you’re available next. Those reminders can be based on where you are, too. iOS 6 provides a Do Not Disturb mode, too, so you can set quiet hours when you don’t want to get calls. If you want calls from certain people to go through during these hours, you can set them as emergency contacts and Do Not Disturb will allow them in.
The Mail app has a nice new feature called VIP, which is similar to Gmail’s Priority Inbox but more specific. Basically, you can choose which contacts are VIPs and their emails will pop up in a special inbox so you don’t have to look at emails from lowly peons.
A Smarter Siri
Siri gets smarter in iOS 6. She now knows about sports, can make OpenTable reservations, pull up a movie trailer, and works in a variety of new languages. Additionally, Siri works on the iPad.
Facetime Over Cellular
Want to make FaceTime calls over cellular? You can in iOS 6—sort of. Apple allows it. Your carrier may charge you or require a certain plan for the privilege.
Photos also got a small upgrade in iOS 6. You can now upload photos to web sites via mobile Safari, and you can share your photo stream with others.
iOS 6 integrates Facebook system-wide. Sign in once on your iDevice, then share whatever you want at will.
Better Privacy Settings
Apple’s beefed up its privacy settings, allowing you to see what apps are using what kinds of data at any time. If an app is accessing something you don’t want it to, you can just revoke those permissions in Settings.
If you get your hands on an iPhone 5, the camera app now has a sweeping panorama mode. Basically, you just sweep your phone from left to right and it’ll assemble a giant panorama for you.
Apple announced the iPhone 5 today, and will open pre-orders this Friday, for delivery on September 21st. The iPhone 5 sports a taller, 4-inch 1136 x 640 resolution Retina display, supports 4G LTE networks, the new, faster dual-core A6 processor with more graphics power, and a faster, smaller camera that features better low-light performance. The new phone will also ship with an upgraded Siri virtual assistant, a new 9-pin Thunderbolt-lite connector port called “Lightning,” and more. The iPhone 5 will also come pre-loaded with iOS 6, and all of the new features coming to it. Pricing starts at $199, with the 32GB and 64GB models at $299 and $399 respectively (with 2-year contracts.) The iPhone 5 will be available on Verizon Wireless, AT&T, and Sprint in the United States (T-Mobile supports unlocked iPhones) and Bell, Rogers, Telus, Fido, Virgin Mobile, and Koodo in Canada.
Apple announced an upcoming iTunes overhaul today, including new features to learn more about an artist from your music library or playlists, manage playlists faster, an updated and easier to shop iTunes Store, and use iCloud to save where you stopped a movie or playlist so you can pick it up on another device.
iTunes also picked up an updated mini-player that looks sharper than before, fits in the corner of your screen, and lets you search your library and control playback at the same time. Adding songs to a playlist from your library is much easier than before, and you can browse both at the same time. Click an album or song in-place to expand it and see details about the song or artist (similar to the way folders expand open in iOS,) or browse more by that artist in the iTunes Store. The new iTunes will be tightly integrated with Facebook (likely at the expense of Ping) for music sharing, as well.
The new design makes the desktop versions of iTunes much more like the iOS version, which we can only hope means faster performance and less bloat overall. The new iTunes will be available for OS X and Windows in late October.
Authors: Adam Dachis, Whitson Gordon, and Alan Henry