Apple previews iOS 6, launches beta

Apple showed off a ton of improvements to iOS at today's WWDC keynote, some expected, others not, but all pretty impressive. Senior VP of iOS Software Scott Forstall showed off the latest version of the OS that powers Apple's mobile devices, iOS 6.

For starters, Siri is stepping things up a bit – Apple showed off a whole host of improvements that should make their digital assistant a whole lot more useful. Not only is Siri coming to the new iPad, but she's also gaining the ability to open apps and access even more information than before. That includes information and access to things like sports scores, ratios, and even tickets, movies, and even restaurant reservations.

Forstall also revealed that the new iPad would also be gaining access to Siri, expanding on the Dictation feature that's currently available. He also announced Eyes Free, which is a partnership with automobile manufacturers to provide an integrated 'Siri button' on steering wheels. Oh, and Siri can launch apps now, too.

As expected, Apple also showed off Facebook integration, which provides an experience similar to what's currently offered by Twitter, in addition to new Siri support (which is also coming to Twitter).

Other features like a 'do not disturb' button for reminders also showed up. The Reminders app also got some enhancements, like integration with the Phone app. This means you'll be able to instruct your phone to remind you to call someone back later, or when you get to a certain location. And with the do not disturb setting, you won't have to worry about getting annoyed by your friends Angry Birds score while you're in an important meeting.

iDevices will also be gaining the ability to make Facetime calls over cellular, as opposed to the Wi-Fi only support that we're used to. What's more, you won't have to worry about contacting the wrong device any more, since your phone number and Apple ID will be integrated – that means that contacts won't have multiple addresses for each device. So an iMessage will appear across all of them, rather than just your friend's iPad.

Safari, which Scott Forstall kindly informs us is the “best and most popular” browser “on the planet,” is getting the iCloud tabs feature that was detailed for the Mac earlier, in addition to offline reading lists. It's also taking a step closer towards being a full fledged browsing experience by letting users upload photos. Unfortunately, it looks like we won't be getting an integrated search/url bar, unless Apple makes some last minute changes.

Building on the sharing features that have been steadily appearing in iOS, iCloud is getting more social with Photo Stream sharing between friends, with a full fledged commenting system, and it's also easier to add attachments to emails with just a tap.

Now for the big ones... Apple showed off two new apps at today's keynotes. One of them we were expecting, but the first is more of a pleasant surprise. If you do much shopping you know how annoying it is to keep up with the plethora of discount cards offered by stores; Passes hopes to save you from those frustrations by grouping all of your 'cards' into a single app. But it goes beyond discount cards; you can also store digital tickets to events like movies, sports events, and even flights. It's even integrated with GPS to automatically pull out the right card when you're near a store.

And finally, we have a new, Google-free Maps experience. We can't say that we didn't see this one coming, but Apple cleared up any lingering uncertainty we had. If there's one feature iPhone users have really been missing out on it's turn-by-turn navigation, and iOS 6 will fix that by offering a Siri integrated navigation system. It works right from the lock screen and takes traffic info into account.

The 3D maps that we've all heard about made an appearance too, in the form of a new feature called Flyover, which looks pretty cool, as you can see below, but probably won't be something you use very much once the 'wow' factor wears off:

The beta of iOS 6 is launching today, but the rest of us will have to wait until Fall to get our grubby little hands on it. By then, of course, Windows 8 should be with us, and it'll be interesting to see them go head to head. In the meantime, take a look at the slide below to get an idea of some of the new features coming to iOS that weren't previewed at today's event:

Images via The Verge | MacWorld

Source: The Verge (Live Blog)

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turn-by-turn navigation doesn't seem too work.

I also love that they cleaned the Settings.app a bit. combined some stuff

The people here who complain about the lack of radical iOS UI changes would be the very same people who'd fill their diapers if Apple were actually idiotic enough to do that.

On an extremely well adopted operating system you don't just re-vamp the UI for the hell of it and expect that everybody will dig it.

GEIST said,
The people here who complain about the lack of radical iOS UI changes would be the very same people who'd fill their diapers if Apple were actually idiotic enough to do that.

Nope, but thanks for assuming. Android UI changed a lot with 4.0 and not many people complained at all. 4.0 was a easy to learn OS and it didnt have radical changes. But the UI looked different and it was a welcome change.

And no, not revamp the UI for the hell of it. If people never revamped products to make things look better, then nothing will ever change. These kinds of changes are needed to keep people interested in a product. And like I said, this could eventually come back to hurt Apple as they are known for good UIs, hardware, innovation, and keeping people interested in their products.

techbeck said,

Nope, but thanks for assuming. Android UI changed a lot with 4.0 and not many people complained at all. 4.0 was a easy to learn OS and it didnt have radical changes. But the UI looked different and it was a welcome change.

And no, not revamp the UI for the hell of it. If people never revamped products to make things look better, then nothing will ever change. These kinds of changes are needed to keep people interested in a product. And like I said, this could eventually come back to hurt Apple as they are known for good UIs, hardware, innovation, and keeping people interested in their products.

Exactly. Back when Android came out, everyone said wow every phone looks identical. Then new UI designs came out (sense, touchwiz, motoblur, etc.), to battle that 'stale-ness'. It helped a lot I think. All these 'phones' that looked the same, now look different because the UI is changed up some. Makes for something 'new'.

Now, this iOS, and iPhone business...how can anyone even think about bashing android, when the iOS UI has NEVER changed?? O_O. What even makes people want to keep 'upgrading'? I was thinking about getting the 3g back in the day, but wow I am so glad I didnt. Went with an android phone and its still going 2+ years later. The 3g, I probably couldnt get past the iOS 3 update, just to force me to keep paying $600 for new hardware... NO THANKS! STINGY GREEDY APPLE! (ps. $600 for a glass phone that breaks in more ways than 1, when you hold it the wrong way = BS)

techbeck said,

Nope, but thanks for assuming. Android UI changed a lot with 4.0 and not many people complained at all. 4.0 was a easy to learn OS and it didnt have radical changes. But the UI looked different and it was a welcome change.

And no, not revamp the UI for the hell of it. If people never revamped products to make things look better, then nothing will ever change. These kinds of changes are needed to keep people interested in a product. And like I said, this could eventually come back to hurt Apple as they are known for good UIs, hardware, innovation, and keeping people interested in their products.

That's probably because about 90% of people with Android phones didn't get the actually update or have not actually updated to 4.

A radical change in UI would confuse so many people. The age range and user base of iOS spreads from basic phone users to advanced users. Apple need to be extremely careful with any change at all. In fact they made one change in iOS 6 that I don't really like. When you are in apps, the bar at the top with the time etc on it. becomes a grey/blue type colour.

Androids a bit of a mess though so changes are necessary. My mum gets on with her iPhone just fine - I dread to think how she'd handle an android! Only thing android's got going for it is the openness of the platform!

techbeck said,

Nope, but thanks for assuming. Android UI changed a lot with 4.0 and not many people complained at all. 4.0 was a easy to learn OS and it didnt have radical changes. But the UI looked different and it was a welcome change.

And no, not revamp the UI for the hell of it. If people never revamped products to make things look better, then nothing will ever change. These kinds of changes are needed to keep people interested in a product. And like I said, this could eventually come back to hurt Apple as they are known for good UIs, hardware, innovation, and keeping people interested in their products.


joemailey said,

A radical change in UI would confuse so many people.

I never said a radical change is needed. I said a change. People here are putting words in what I am saying.

Axel said,
Androids a bit of a mess though so changes are necessary. My mum gets on with her iPhone just fine - I dread to think how she'd handle an android! Only thing android's got going for it is the openness of the platform!

Ok, you obviously dont know much about Android. My mom and grandma use their Androids with NO PROBLEMS what so ever. And Android has a TON going for it other that its openness

I must say, I'm pretty underwhelmed by this update. I'm sure I'll love the Facebook integration and the new turn-by-turn directions but what I was really hoping for was:

* Quick reply to messages received in notifications center. I want to tap out a reply to an SMS, Facebook message, E-Mail, from the notifications drop down and not have to open the entire app to accomplish this

Still paying catch up.
My Nokia running Symbian had the "do not disturb feature" many years ago. 10 saved templates to choose from.
Also Android's Google Maps have had Navigation for a while now.

drazgoosh said,
Still paying catch up.
My Nokia running Symbian had the "do not disturb feature" many years ago. 10 saved templates to choose from.
Also Android's Google Maps have had Navigation for a while now.

Catch-up to what? Symbian junk?

I doubt that having that feature before Apple makes that dead OS look any better.

And turn-by-turn nav was reserved for Android by Google.

Deliciously_Random said,

Catch-up to what? Symbian junk?

I doubt that having that feature before Apple makes that dead OS look any better.

And turn-by-turn nav was reserved for Android by Google.

lol even as a dead os its still number 1 worldwide in market share fool.

Deliciously_Random said,

Catch-up to what? Symbian junk?

I doubt that having that feature before Apple makes that dead OS look any better.

And turn-by-turn nav was reserved for Android by Google.

I never said Symbian was better. I said it had that feature a long time before iOS. Therefore iOS is playing catch up.

Expected some sort of UI change to better compete with WP7's live tiles - as some have said above getting a bit stale and falling behind in some respects

wotsit said,
Expected some sort of UI change to better compete with WP7's live tiles - as some have said above getting a bit stale and falling behind in some respects

Right now, WP7 has to compete with extinction. The platform is *still* failing to gain any meaningful traction and pretty soon it'l be coming up on two years. Meanwhile Nokia is bleeding money and market share. A this point, Apple doesn't need to compete with a non-starter.

Deliciously_Random said,

Right now, WP7 has to compete with extinction. The platform is *still* failing to gain any meaningful traction and pretty soon it'l be coming up on two years. Meanwhile Nokia is bleeding money and market share. A this point, Apple doesn't need to compete with a non-starter.

At least the WP7 UI isn't stale like the iOS UI.

I guess the iTards can't handle anything other than a 4x4 grid of icons then!!!

neo158 said,

At least the WP7 UI isn't stale like the iOS UI.

I guess the iTards can't handle anything other than a 4x4 grid of icons then!!!

Windows Phones are way ahead of ios. and wp is growing actually at a pretty good clip, should overtake apple worldwide in a year or so. I am an apple developer and im pretty disappointed in ios6 so far, they are playing catchup with WP7.5. WP8 details will come in 9 days or so and should make for an interesting time. Amd oh btw now I think people can see why MS hasn't spoken **** about WP8 yet, because apple would have tried to steal those features too. Now with MS announcing WP8 after ios6 everyone will see for sure what apple copies into future betas of ios6.

I actually like the update. However, the reasons will not make Apple only fans very happy.

A majority of the features introduced are a response and catching up with WP7 features.

This also isn't the first time this has happened, with the preview of WP7 in 2010, iOS and Android both added several of the WP7 features from the presentation before WP7's launch. (Android's copy and paste features and UI changed to use the WP7 marker points, iOS's multi-tasking strategy is almost the same outline as the original WP7 slides, etc.)


Even though this is a compliment to Microsoft, it is also just a good thing that Apple is willing to look at another product and not avoid the things that it does right and add them to make things better for users.

However, Apple admitting this, is another thing, and Apple's history of saying features they don't have are useless or bad is also not a good pattern, as you can find features from the iOS 6.x, that Apple in the past down played and called not needed and even referred to them as the wrong way to do things.

It was just a couple of years ago that voice dialing was unnecessary and NOT Planned, People don't want to talk to a phone, etc... All these were voiced via Apple's official position.

Now, voice is EVERYTHING, and even going as far to offer Siri in Cars to compete with Microsoft Sync technology. Siri is getting some of the WP7 voice features too, like App launching (not sure if the hands free texting is still in the iOS 6.x plans, as I didn't see it mentioned.)

Apple, when you do not have a technology, you shouldn't spend the years before you add it calling it silly and worthless.
** This is a direct reference to Windows 8 comment Apple has had recently, because Apple wanted to get OS X into a Tablet format, and couldn't, which is why the iPhone OS got promoted and birthed the iPad instead. This was a let down for Apple because they didn't want to give up handwriting and stylus support for the iPad. However, once they knew it wasn't going to be a full OS X based device, all of a sudden the 'Pen/stylus' and handwriting were silly and outdated.

Criticisms of the OS's design are valid. My only two requests is to shrink the icon size on 960x640 springboards by 15-20%. Going from the iPad springboard to the smaller springboards, the icons seem too closely jammed together. The next request is to permit more Notification Center widgets.

Other than that the new changes overall are pretty decent. It does seem however the native YouTube app is gone, or perhaps hidden on the second page?

And finally, with regards to the catchup comments - besides geek raging no one else will care much who had what first. Whatever floats your boat I guess.

Cant wait till 9 days time to see what WP8 has in store for us. Is good MS has kept completely quiet this time so features didn't show up in the IOS6 beta. And the majority of features added to ios6 beta today have been available in WP7 for 2 years now.

iOS 6 has been a bit of let down. Nothing really new here. A few fixes that will improve things a bit. Like adding pictures to email, facebook integration. Maps isn't really a big deal, more so because its all web based/ data based. If you could cache the country/countries you need it would be good. For example if I could dowload the U.K & Ireland it would be great or if I go on holiday, download the U.S maps etc.

Why fix what isnt broken..... well because its old boring uninventive lazy without forsight not innovative at all let me see the list goes on. apple didnt get to where they are now without doing something new but for the time being they just seem to have settled for average same old same old. and im sure they will make a big thing over little changes like trading google maps for apple ones...oooo big wow and on that note was googl maps broken? no so why fix it, ill tell you why controle and money they will find a way to spin it likt its the best this since sliced bread its not it never will be because like all things apple someone had an idea got there first and there going to copy it tweak it try to claim its theres. its the same old boring story there now playing catch up with google because they got lazy.
personally i liked my iphone i had 3 3g, 3gs and 4 and guess what i didnt buy the 4s because it was nothing new it was boring it even looked the same as something that had been out a year. and you wanted me to spend £500 of my hard earned cash on something you couldnt be arsed to change, wow a bigger camers and fudged performance stats...... get real, oh and siri... played with it epic fail a gimic at best thats if it works properly.
i bought a samsung galaxy s2 and have never looked back you can do so much more with it including looking at fash websites haha so simple. you can well lets say if i were to list the differences id be here all day. it does have its flaws but at leaset its innovating and different. i will be buying the s3 and look forward to jellybean thank you for reading.

Summery apple get off your arses and stop being lazy or get ready. the public will eventually see through your fudged figures and gimics and they will vote with there feet. step up and do something new!!!!

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