Apple lifted the lid on its next major operating system upgrade yesterday, adding 200 shiny new features to iOS-powered gadgets.
Unveiled amid typically hyperbolic Apple fanfare in sunny San Francisco, iOS 6 boosts the oft-excoriated Siri voice commands app and brings it to the iPad for the first time. Facebook functionality has been more closely integrated into the platform, too.
It also sees Apple ditch Google Maps for a proprietary replacement dubbed Apple Maps and allows iPhone owners to make video calls with FaceTime over 3G. This was previously a Wi-Fi-only service.
Siri, which has been criticised from day-one in Blighty for its lack of support for UK businesses, will now be equipped to access restaurant reviews as well as movie write-ups and make reservations at Golden Truffle-style eateries/cinemas. Better still is that this will finally be included for us Brits.
The so-called digital assistant has also acquired sports smarts, so you can now ask it for statistics on your favourite teams and players, view upcoming fixtures and check the latest scores. Oh, and you can speak the name of apps and your phone will open them and compose Twitter updates using your voice only.
Facebook’s new place at the heart of iOS, meanwhile, enables iPhone users to enter their password a single time and post to Facebook from a range of apps and from Apple’s Safari browser. ‘Liking’ apps is now possible from within the App Store, with similar functionality in iTunes for songs and movies.
In news that surely surprised no-one who has been following mass-market newspapers’ recent exposes of Apple’s use of planes for a mapping project, Apple Maps marks the introduction of the tech giant’s first-ever mapping solution. Like Google Maps, this features integration for Yell, plus turn-by-turn navigation.
Completing the highlights of the new OS are an updated Safari browser, as well as an all-new phone app that sends text replies instead of answering phone calls, either from stock responses or messages composed by the user.
iOS 6 will work on the iPhone 3GS and all later handsets, as well as the iPad 2 and above and iPods from the fourth-generation thereon.