What to Look forward to in iOS 6

The realms of the Internet have still not yet settled down from yesterday’s WWDC event, and as usual Apple’s managed to blow up the social media with their announcements. Apple announced the latest Macbook Pro range of laptops with their Retina displays. While most gadget lovers may have taken a liking to the hardware specifications, the cost may be a deterrant for most planning to purchase one – the 15 inch  MBP is priced at Rs. 1,53,000!

Let’s get to the iOS side of the announcements which will soon be powering most of our iPhones and iPads by the end of the year. Here’s some of the key features I’m looking out for.

Handling Incoming Calls

iOS 6 brings the ability for you to reject the call while replying with a message. This is useful when you can’t take the call but want to quickly send a pre-set message while rejecting the call. This is a much needed feature which most people who have moved to the iPhone have missed out on. I used to use this extensively on my older phones, but was really irritated when the iPhone was lacking this feature. You can also set a reminder to call the caller back at a later time, if you can’t take the call.

Apple’s All New Maps

I’m sure we all agree that Google Maps which is currently what the Maps app uses is quite ancient in terms of it’s functionality. There have been times where I was itching to get back to an Android device just for the Google Maps features there. Waze was a saviour, with it’s turn-by-turn navigation and croud-sourced traffic data in this area till date. Since Google was giving Apple a run-around for features on the iOS platform, Apple has gone ahead and integrated their own Maps with a whole lot of new features

  • Turn-by-turn navigation with spoken navigation.
  • Traffic information to help you re-route around the traffic hit areas
  • Flyovers – allowing you to take a virtual flight around major metro areas around the world
  • Siri integration with maps allowing you to ask your phone for places around and then navigate there

More about the new maps over at this page.

Do not Disturb!

Why get woken up from your beauty sleep to find out that latest notification which woke you up was a reminder from an app to sync you contacts with Facebook?

With iOS 6 on your phone now you can set your phone to turn off notifications by turning on the Do Not Disturb switch. You can also schedule you phone to automatically turn switch to this mode a certain time of the day. This gives you the option to turn off notifications  late at night and switch it back on in the morning. Additional settings allow you to allow the phone to ring if you get calls from contacts in your Favorites list.

The last option – Repeated Calls can also be turned on if you wish to actually receive calls from a person if they call a second time. This takes care of situations when someone from work is calling you because your server is down, but naturally, they’re not in your favorite list. You still have to take that call right?

Wouldn’t you say this is also a much required feature in any smartphone. Blackberry phones had this feature quite some time back and Android users could always download apps to provide this if their phones didn’t have the feature. iPhone users now finally get this!

Facebook finally makes it to the A List

A lot of us were surprised when a tight Facebook integration was noticably absent from the last update of iOS. Twitter got on the bandwagon, but Facebook users still had to use app implemented sharing functionality and round about ways of sharing photos from their phone to Facebook.

With a Facebook making into iOS 6, now you can share pages you are reading to Facebook right from the browser and Photos straight from Photos or the Camera. Your friend’s birthdays show up in your Calendar with Facebook Events integration. Even your friend’s contact information are now integrated into Contacts. Now if your friend gets a new number and updates it on Facebook, you’ll see the new number come up in your Contacts list as well.

Siri Updates

Apart from the other notable updates to Siri, the most important one I’d actually end up using is to open Apps via Siri. With iOS 6 you can now request Siri to Lauch Flipboard and the app opens up immediately. Useful to launch the maps app or Waze when you’re driving. Siri will now be available on the new iPad as well.

The other additions to Siri – Sports, Movies and Restaurant updates, would most probably end up being US centric, as most of Siri is now. So until I actually see the update, I won’t be able to gauge if they’d work well in India at all.

When and Which Devices

The general release of iOS 6 according to Apple’s Press Release is around fall, which would place it anytime between September and November this year. Not all devices will get this update. The baseline for iOS 6 are – iPhone 3G, iPod 4th Generation and iPad2. So anyone with older devices than these won’t be able to get iOS 6. This is Apple’s way of telling you it’s time for an upgrade!

Of course, these are not an exhaustive list of updates which will come out with iOS 6. These are some of the notable ones. If you have other features which you think should make it to this list, let us know by leaving a comment below.

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Vinu Thomas

Vinu is a Technical Architect working on Web technologies and a mobile enthusiast, who likes trying out new gadgets and apps. You can follow him on Twitter @vinuthomas

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