iOS 6 Available to Download
- September 19th, 2012
- iOS 6.x
- Alex Brooks
Apple has today made the next major update to iOS available to download. iOS 6 which is available for the iPhone 5, 4, 4S, 3GS, iPad 3, 2, and the iPod touch 4th and 5th generation comes just two days ahead of the official release of the iPhone 5. Apple has been testing iOS 6 with developers since after the WWDC 2012 keynote back in June.
iOS 6 is said to pack upwards of 200 hundred new features but as ever Apple has some headline features that make iOS 6 a real update for iPhone and iPad users. iOS 6 shares the same design aesthetics as all previous iOS versions with only minor UI changes here and there. The lack of live updating information on the home screen of iOS is becoming a glaring omission as Android and Windows Phone operating systems continue to offer more and more information at a glance.
As this is not a review (you’re all going to try it anyway so why review it?) I’ll just recap some of Apple’s headline features.
First up is deep Facebook integration which goes hand in hand with Apple’s upcoming 10.8.2 update to Mountain Lion which will see contacts, calendars and notifications more integrated. On iOS 6 the same is true with built in ability to upload photo and video to Facebook from the iOS Photos app , syncing of the Facebook address book to iOS and the same with calendars.
In iOS 6 Apple also expanded previously explored features such a smarter Siri which is now available on iPad that has the ability to check up on sports teams, book restaurants and open apps. Also expanded is Photo Stream which previously just held the recently taken photos from the Camera roll but it is now possible to share these Photo Streams with friends and family so that photos can be shared across many devices but also commented on and liked.
iOS 6 also comes with subtle changes and refinements to apps that have been relatively unchanged since the early days of iOS. The Phone app for example has had some minor UI changes and now the ability to reject an incoming call and immediately reply with a pre-defined text message or to set a reminder to call the person back. Mail also gets some changes with a VIP inbox, and pull to refresh and the ability to insert photos or video from a context menu right in a message. Safari also gets a dose of changes with iCloud tabs synced across all iOS 6 and Mountain Lion devices, full screen landscape mode on the iPhone and now Apple’s Reading List is offline.
Apple also packed some innovation into iOS 6, the most obvious and useful to most will be the new Do Not Disturb mode which allows the silencing of all notifications (including noises or the screen waking up) between set hours or there’s a toggle switch in Settings to switch it on anytime.
Apple has also been touting Passbook heavily which is effectively Apple’s current software solution to NFC. Passbook is basically a repository for all the apps that currently have scannable codes in them such as a Starbucks card to pay for coffee but Apple has taken it further by encouraging airlines to jump on board with scannable boarding passes that change and notify if the gate changes and once in the airport are easily accessible from the lock screen.
One of the most controversial changes comes in the form of Apple’s new Maps which replaces Google Maps as the default on the iPhone. Building on top of years of work Apple is finally deploying its own mapping to all iOS devices with iOS 6 with potentially frustrating effect as the maps pale in comparison to those from Google. Users will also discover that Apple has removed the YouTube app as part of the ongoing separation between Apple and Google.