Last week, I posted a detailed look at the new Macbook’s Apple launched at its Word Wide Developer’s Conference held last week. This time I’m going to be shedding light on the other major announcements made in the keynote. They are iOS 6, its own maps app and Siri on the new iPad.
These announcements were definitely overshadowed by the ‘awesome’ Retina display Macbook Pro’s but they are not to be overlooked.
Apple likes to brag
As always, Apple starts out its keynote speech with numbers, its own excellent numbers. This time was no different. It said that by the end of March, the company had moved 365 million iOS devices and about 80% using iOS 5, hence taking a pot-shot at Android for its fragmentation. They also said that 140 million iMessage users were sending more than one billion messages each day for a grand total of 150 billion SMS and MMS’s. Lastly, push notifications seem to have taken off with Apple reporting that 1.5 trillion notifications have graced the screens.
iOS 6 unveiled
Apple officially unveiled iOS 6, its latest operating system for its iPhone, iPod Touch and iPad. The most notably, Siri has gotten a pretty significant makeover. Facebook also has been heavily integrated into iOS 6. You can share to Facebook from core apps like Maps, Photos and Safari and you can even use Siri to make your commands. The App Store also got its share of Facebook.
There are now app recommendations based on what your Facebook friends are using (Apple’s essentially integrated ‘likes’ into the App Store) and contacts are synced alongside Facebook. On a little side note, the Facebook integration is coming to the Macs as well.
This is Apple’s first major update to Siri and no wonder it is betting big on it. Siri can now answer a variety of sports questions from scores to stats to game times to live updates. It’s also added Yelp and Rotten Tomatoes to upgrade its dining and movie recommendations.
Also, you can now launch apps directly from Siri and Siri’s local search function has moved out of the USA and expanded to about 60 countries. iPad users (only the newest iPad) can finally get some Siri action. Apple has also teased Siri car integration (though that is about 12-months off).
Apple has unveiled a one-stop wallet. Its first steps into the payments business. It aims to store all of your ‘passes’ – a category that includes store cars, movie tickets, boarding passes and more. This is going to be in competition with Google Wallet but not completely so. The point of this app is to make it easier to keep track of all your loyalty cards, coupons, passes and tickets. Basically things you might not want to always keep in your wallet or things you might lose. It isn’t clear yet how many partners Passbook will launch with but hopefully it will increase within a few months.
Apple’s giving Google Maps the boot
As previously speculated and the fact that Apple was snatching up a number of mapping companies, Apple officially gave the boot to Google Maps and introduced its own Maps App. The new Maps app includes all of the previous features you’ve come to expect but with some major enhancements. The brand new Maps app includes 100 million different business listings, Yelp integration and most notably, turn-by-turn navigation.
The app uses anonymously collected traffic data to give you the best route and rerouting is brought to you with a pop-up notification. The maps have also been rendered in 3D.
iOS 6; Worth the Upgrade?
Most of the features are coming to all of the Apple devices from the 3GS to the iPad (2012). Some of the major features though aren’t going to be there. Missing from every device except the latest iPad and iPhone is FaceTime over 3G/4G and Siri integration. Does that warrant you enough to buy one of the new devices? That’ll depend whether you can forgo Siri and FaceTime over cellular networks and wait just a few more months for the iPhone 5, heavily rumoured to come in September or October.
Overall, if your device can handle it and most features are there then please do upgrade your device. I’m not sure it is necessary for anyone to go out and buy a brand new device just to take advantage of some of the features. iOS 6 is definitely the best version Apple has ever given us, but it is worth waiting for the iPhone 5 to take advantage of it.