The Apple iPhone 5 was the biggest announcement coming out of today’s event in Cupertino, but Apple did make news for iPad owners by revealing that iOS 6, first unveiled at WWDC last June, will soon be available.
The most notable addition to Apple’s latest mobile operating system will be Apple Maps, complete with turn-by-turn directions, satellite photos, 3D modeling, and “more than 100 million points of interest” according to Apple. It will also include Yelp location review information. Apple Maps replaces Google Maps, which will no longer come standard on iOS devices.
Siri will also be coming to the third-generation iPad, which previously only supported voice dictation. Apple iPad 2 owners will not be receiving the voice-activated personal assistant. Siri will also now rely info on sports scores, team standings, movie recommendations (powered by Rotten Tomatoes), restaurant reservations (powered by OpenTable), and Facebook posting integration. Finally, Siri will now be able to launch apps.
In fact, Facebook is near omnipresent in iOS 6, with Facebook “friend” info integrated into iOS contacts and notifications, including birthdays and the iOS calendar and the ability to post to Facebook from the iOS notification bar.
Other new iOS 6 features will include:
- iCloud tab syncing in Safari
- Passbook, a quasi-digital wallet that can include movie and event tickets, airplane boarding passes, and Starbucks gift cards, which can also display cards from the device lock screen. Passbook won’t support credit cards, however.
- Shared Photo Streams for photo sharing with friends, complete with comments
- Better accessibility with Guided Access
- Mail messages with in-line photos and videos
- VIP contacts
- Expanded Siri language support, including Spanish and Korean
The YouTube app which has been bundled with iOS for years, is being dropped. Instead, Google has released a stand-alone YouTube app that provides access to this video site.
iOS 6 is coming to the new iPad and iPad 2 on September 19 as a free over the air update. It appears original iPad owners will not be receiving iOS 6.