The two big announcements this year involved MacBooks and iOS.
Apple announced a 17” MacBook Pro, retina-display for MacBook, and updates to their Mac Pro line. These changes are typical bigger, faster, sharper improvements that you’d expect from new generation hardware.
But perhaps more importantly, significant changes to their mobile operating system, iOS, were announced.
“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.”
iOS 6 will be available this fall.
Apple introduced an updated mapping software in an effort to not only improve the way digital maps work, but differentiate themselves from the elephant in the cartography room, Google Maps. Most importantly, maps are now proprietary Apple builds. The will be vector-based, allowing for smooth graphics and fast response times.
Maps will also feature a flyover mode for would-be thrill-seekers, and crowd-sourced incidents/traffic/accident reports for the now-available turn-by-turn GPS.
While technically a part of maps, turn-by-turn has been a feature Android owners have enjoyed for a while now. Apple bringing it to iOS not only allows them to match Android for this utility, but takes full advantage of their improved mapping software.
Siri just got a whole lot busier.
Apple has embraced Facebook. iOS users will be able to post to Facebook from the notification center or through Siri, and will see their facebook friend’s information synced across all eyeohess devices. They can also post their map-location to Facebook, or more quickly share photos to the blue-hued social media giant as well.
An improved browser–which now allows for landscape full-screen viewing, also incorporates iCloud tabs. iCloud tabs not only allow for syncing of reading material across devices, but for offline reading as well.
With VIP email, users can select certain senders as VIPs. (Me, for example.) [Editor's Note: don't make Terry a VIP, he likes to show off his "massive intellect" via writing.] Once given VIP status, emails from these users will flash across the lock screen like text messages. The VIP label will also make searching for emails from these users simpler as well.
Guided Access allows people with hearing, vision, cognitive, or mobility disabilities to use the operating system more productively. Among the features here is locking out the ability to move between apps, and restrict touch access to only certain portions of the screen.
With missed (or ignored) calls, users will now have an option to “Reply with a message.” Messages can be selected from stock messages (“I’m on my way”), or typed out by the user. Users can also be reminded to return the call later when the GPS notices that you’ve “left” wherever you were.
Siri, the voice activation software for the iPhone, has been improved—or at least empowered. Now able to perform more functions—move meetings, schedule appointments, or provide sports information, Siri will also enjoy expanded language support, with English, French, German and Japanese, Spanish, Italian, Korean, Mandarin and Cantonese all now available.
And Siri will be coming an an iPad (2 or higher) near you soon.
Those iOS users who choose to share their location with you will be visible on the improved maps. And with location-based alerts, you can now receive a notice when your child leaves school for improved parent-stalking.
In a nod to Google Wallet, iOS now supports mobile payments.
But rather than focusing on formal payment options like cards backed by financial institutions, they’re banking (see what I did there?) on the idea of “passes”–movie tickets, boarding passes, and gift cards. Which allows them to partner with said businesses to make spending money even simpler.
Future integration with location-based alerts makes this a game-changer in the commercial world.
There are other changes, from slight changes in how notifications work, to easier photo sharing via Photo Stream.
FaceTime, the Skype-like Apple function that allows users to communicate “face-to-face” is now available over cellular signal, so if your coverage is decent, you’ll no longer have to sit on a wi-fi signal to take advantage.