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12Jun/12Off

iOS 6 surprise

Controlled gossip is one of the most powerful marketing tools ever created by a man. Why? Because most of the features of the new iOS 6, such as new maps, Siri on iPad and Facebook integration have been widely discussed over the past few weeks.

Of course nothing is set-in-stone until Apple officially unveils it during one of their famous Keynotes.

This year WWDC conference not only brought new MacBook Air and MacBook Pro (with Retina display, with nearly 3 times as many pixels as Full HD), but also confirmed most of the iOS gossip mentioned earlier:

  • New maps (with turn-by-turn navigation and introduce 3D fly-by view). Google maps are officially gone. In my opinion this was a premature step (of course justified from the lower 3rd party costs point-of-view). Google maps offer much more content than Apple's, with features such as Street View and new 3D maps, these are the most advanced maps publicly available in the world.
  • Facebook integration - works just like Twitter integration in iOS 5: sign in once, and use for all apps.
  • Siri comes to iPad (but to the new iPad only). The voice assistant has also become a bit smarter: now features more data sources (such as sports). You can also tell Siri to launch any app you have on your iDevice.
  • Cover flow comes to all three iTunes stores.

And now the features that were not known before Tim Cook's keynote:

  • Shared Photo Stream - share your photos with other iDevice users
  • Safari improvements - it is now possible to upload photos directly from Safari as you would do on a Mac or PC. iCloud tabs allow viewing websites already opened on other devices  such as Macs, iPads & iPhones. Full screen landscape mode for iPhone provides even more real estate on the iPhone screen.
  • Mail improvements - adding images to a message is now easier. VIP inbox will highlight messages from the most important people.
  • Phone app has received long awaited "Reject with a message". It is possible to "Reject + Remind to call back"
  • "Do not disturb" mode which can silence all notifications and calls in a specific timeframe (let's say 10pm to 7am). In this mode only people on the Favorites list will sound the ring. It is also possible to allow the second call - if someone calls twice in the "Do not disturb" mode, the second call will not be silenced.
  • Facetime is not tied to WiFi anymore and now works on 3G/LTE as well. Many people were complaining about this artificial limitation.
  • Passbook - the center for electronic tickets and passes. It is now possible to manage tickets and boarding passes from one place. QR Codes allow third party devices to scan tickets directly form the iPhone screen.
  • Accessibility improvements

In my eyes, iOS 6 is far from a breakthrough, but offers several features requested by the users and some cosmetic changes. The Apple policy of bringing new features, such as Siri to new models only might be justified by the revenue from selling new iPhones and iPads (and also allows to cut expenses on Siri cluster, because if too many users get access to Siri, they are more than likely to crash it), but makes no sense from end user point of view.

The exact release date has not been disclosed yet, but Apple says "iOS 6 is coming this fall", so we will see it sooner, than later.

You can now ask why the title of this post is "iOS 6 surprise". The answer is "Because iPhone 3GS is still supported, while original iPad is not". It is unusual for Apple to support a device for more than two generations of software. Both the original iPhone and iPhone 3G have only received two software updates, so did the original iPad. iPhone 3GS is still sold and supported, most likely to fill the gap for the budget smartphone; iPhones were always marketed as a high-end device. With Tim Cook at the helm this policy seems to change.