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By 12 June 2012 | Categories: news

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A year after showcasing iOS 5, Apple has previewed the forthcoming iteration of the mobile operating system (OS), iOS 6, during its 2012 worldwide developers conference (WWDC), currently underway in San Francisco.

iOS 6 will bring more than 200 new features to the company’s mobile OS, when it is released to iPhone, iPad and iPod touch users during fall (spring for us) as a free software update.

New features

New features included within iOS 6 include the new Maps app that sports Apple-designed cartography, turn-by-turn navigation with spoken directions as well as a novel Flyover view. Flyover boasts photo-realistic interactive 3D views according to the firm, with real-time traffic information (similar to that provided by TomTom) keeping users updated on how long it will take to get to their destinations.

This functionality will also offer alternate time-saving routes if traffic conditions should happen to change significantly. Additionally, local search includes information for over 100 million businesses with info cards that offer Yelp ratings, reviews, available deals and photos.

Other enhancements to the mobile platform include Facebook integration for contacts and calendar, with the ability to post to the social networking directly from the Notification Center, and improved Siri functionality such as support for more languages the likes of Spanish, Italian, and Mandarin.

Also new is shared photo streams via iCloud, the Passbook app, as well as Siri and Facebook-enabled apps including Photos, Safari and the new Maps app. The Passbook app will enable iOS users to keep all of their passes in one secure place including boarding passes and rugby tickets.

Passbook also allows hotel staff or stadium security to scan a voucher or coupon QR code displayed on your iPhone or iPod touch, so that you can check into your hotel or get into a concert. Passbook will come in handy to roadhogs and regular visitors to the airport as this app will alert users to last minute gate changes or flight delays.

Additional new iOS 6 features:

  • Enhancements to Safari, including iCloud tabs, offline reading lists, photo uploads and full screen view.
  • Support for FaceTime calls over cellular networks.
  • The ability to set up a VIP Mailbox, making it easier to quickly view messages from important people you designate as VIPs.
  • The option to decline incoming calls with a quick message, set a callback reminder and enable a new Do Not Disturb option.
Cupertino stated that the iOS 6 beta software and SDK (solutions developer kit) are available immediately for iOS Developer Program members from its developer website. iOS 6 will be available as a free software update for iPhone 4S, iPhone 4, iPhone 3GS, the new iPad, iPad 2 (sorry original iPad owners) and iPod touch (fourth generation) this fall (spring for us). Not all of the new features, such as Passbook for instance, will be made available on all of these mobile devices.

“iOS 6 continues the rapid pace of innovation that is helping Apple reinvent the phone and create the iPad category, delivering the best mobile experience available on any device,” said Scott Forstall, Apple’s senior vice president of iOS Software. “We can’t wait for hundreds of millions of iOS users to experience the incredible new features in iOS 6 including the new Maps app, expanded Siri support, deep Facebook integration, Shared Photo Streams and the innovative new Passbook app.”

In other mobile OS related news, Google recently revealed that more than 900 000 Android-powered mobile devices are now being activated daily. Check out our Apple apps of the month here.

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