Last week, at the annual Apple Worldwide Developer Conference in San Francisco, developers and media professionals got a first look at iOS 6, the latest version of its mobile operating system. The new operating system contains a wealth of new features that developers and Mac fans alike can look forward to seeing when it launches in the fall.
1. Improved Siri
Siri, the voice-activated personal assistant that can help you do everything from call a taxi to send a text telling your spouse you’re running late, launched eight months ago with the iPhone 4S. With iOS 6, Siri is improved and enhanced and will be available in several different languages (English, Spanish, French, Italian, Mandarin and Cantonese, to name a few), not only on the iPhone but also the iPad and iPod Touch.
According to senior vice president for iOS software Scott Forstall, Siri is now an expert in sports, movies, restaurants and driving directions.
“Siri’s become something of a movie buff,” Forstall added. “What movies are playing at the Metreon?” he asked; Siri responded with a list of which films were showing at the San Francisco cineplex, with ratings, reviews, and integrated trailers from Rotten Tomatoes—all accessible from directly within Siri. And you can ask Siri questions about directors or actors, such as “Show me movies starring Scarlett Johansson.” That searches current movies and catalog titles, too.
2. iOS Maps
Until now, Google Maps has been the standard navigation app on the iPhone. Not anymore — Apple has split ways with its Android rival and built its own maps app. iOS maps features:
After the event, Apple said its app’s data comes from the Dutch company TomTom (which makes personal navigation systems that are steadily losing market share to all-purpose devices such as the iPhone). Google will still make its mapping app available through Apple’s App Store, but it won’t be pre-installed on any new devices.
3. Facebook integration
Facebook will be integrated throughout the new mobile operating system, making it easier for users to share photos, post updates and check into locations. Facebook friends’ contact information and calendar events can also be synced with an iOS device. This enhanced integration is good news for app developers as well; an easier-to-use interface means better discoverability for mobile apps.
The key verdict from WWDC: a lot of excitement over the closer integration between Apple and Facebook. Developers are licking their chops waiting to tie their apps into Facebook, allowing the apps to show up in news feeds and eventually solving the problem of getting them in front of new users.
Passbook, a new Apple app, is a way for mobile users to keep track of boarding passes, receipts, loyalty cards and electronic tickets that use other retailers’ barcodes.
From ABC News:
Think of Passbook as your virtual wallet or travel document holder. It’s an app that puts all your passes or tickets — airplane tickets, movie tickets, royalty cards — into one place. Instead of having to launch each app and find the bar code, Passbook puts it all in a well-organized app.
Some are speculating that Passbook could be a precursor to a fully developed electronic wallet, which could be a major feature for app developers and a new source of revenue for the smartphone industry.
Applico wasn’t without a presence at WWDC. Dave and Amir were on the show floor all week.
Next up? Google IO is only a week away and you can bet Matt Powers will be there.
Browse examples of Applico’s custom mobile apps for Apple devices.
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