At today’s WWDC keynote, Apple took some time to demo the exciting new features of the latest release of what they dub the “world’s most advanced mobile operating system”. With hundreds of new features, changes and improvements expected when the software is released this Fall, Apple highlighted some of the major changes we can look forward to.
There’s been a lot of buzz about Apple ditching Google and they confirmed it today, releasing their own in-housing Maps application (and custom cartography). In addition to Apple-designed maps, the application now supports turn-by-turn directions (thanks Siri) as well as crowd sourced traffic updates and something called Flyover, a beautiful 3D view of large cities around the world.
Siri Gets Smarter
Many people forget that technically, Siri is still a product in beta. Apple has been working to improve it’s ability to recognize speech but also what the personal assistant can help with. Some improvements coming with iOS 6 include powerful support for sports, movies and restaurants. Ask Siri how tall your favorite basketball player is, what time a new release is playing and where to go for a great steak (based on Yelp reviews).
As with Mountain Lion, Facebook is now integrated directly into iOS. Post directly to Facebook, sync your contacts and calendars and see what apps, movies, songs and TV shows your friends are downloading.
With iOS 6 comes a new native application from Apple called Passbook. Now your boarding passes, movie tickets, rewards cards and coupons are all in one place. With Passbook, you can scan your iPhone or iPod touch to check in for a flight, get into a movie, and redeem a coupon. You can also see when your coupons expire, where your concert seats are, and the balance left on that all-important coffee bar card.
One of the most “neglected” apps of iOS has been the phone application, seeing no real changes in any of the releases. Apple has added a few convenient features to the phone application . Now, when a call comes in you’ll be presented with more options than just to answer the call. You can choose to quickly reply with a message (including some pre-made messages from Apple) or set a reminder to call the person back later.
A new feature, Do Not Disturb can be used to suppress all incoming calls and notifications. Enable it manually or schedule a recurring time, like after 10:00 p.m. on weeknights. Or allow calls from your favorites or specific contact groups.
Mail sports some cool new changes including something known as Mail VIP. You can now specify important contacts and be quickly notified anytime they email you. All mail from VIPs will now also be collected in a separate inbox. There’s also a new inbox for flagged messages. Finally, you can now easily insert photos and video from directly within mail, swipe up to refresh and yes - each mail account can now have its own signature.
iCloud Tabs can keep track of your open tabs and share them with your other devices. You can now open a page on your Mac and continue viewing from your iPhone or iPad. Apple’s Reading List can now also be viewed offline giving you media rich content even if you’re not connected to the internet.
With hundreds of new features, Apple only had time to demo a few. Other changes you can expect in iOS 6 include greater accessibility control such as the ability to limit how people can interact with an application, the ability to lock an iPad down to a single application and support for those with disabilities. Refreshed App Stores, new settings for Chinese users, improvements to Find My iPhone are just some of the things you can expect when iOS 6 is released sometime this Fall.
Today was a big day at Apple’s WWDC keynote address, highlighting major changes to both hardware and software for their entire line of laptops as well as desktop and mobile operating systems.
Previously announced, OS X Mountain Lion is the next major release of Apple “revolutionary” desktop operating system. At WWDC, Apple execs took some time to reveal some of the new features that they’ve been working on.
Building on the success of iCloud, Apple has continued to bridge the gap between their mobile devices and their operating system. Notes and Reminders both gained applications on the desktop, and improvements to Documents in the Cloud make it even easier to make changes to documents on any device and have these changes instantly appear everywhere else.
Earlier this year, Apple released a beta version of Messages for Mac - a replacement for iChat that can send/receive iMessages and integrates with legacy chat clients such as AIM, GChat and Facebook Chat. When you start a conversation on Messages for Mac, it will update on all your devices. If your phone buzzes with a new message, you can now quickly respond right from your desktop.
Taking cues from iOS, Notification Center has come to the Mac. Sporting a Growl-like interface, Notification Center sits to the right of your desktop and is accessed with a single swipe. When apps want to notify you, a small box will appear and then fade into the background. With social integration included, you can now also Tweet and post to Facebook right from the sidebar.
Wouldn’t it be great if your Mac could work for you while you sleep? Power Nap is a new feature that keeps your Mac updated while it (or you) are sleeping. With minimal impact to battery usage, your Mac will keep notifications, appointments, reminders, tweets, emails and more updated so there’s no need to refresh when you decide to get back to work.
The relationship between Apple and Nuance is continuing to be integrated into Apple’s many products and services. Voice Dictation, which was first seen with Siri and on the iPad is now available on the Mac. Simply talk and see your words appear in any application you’re working in. The application gets to know you so Apple says that the more you use it, the more accurate it will become.
It’s now even easier to share from almost anywhere within Mountain Lion. Tap the Share icon to email, Tweet, Facebook, iMessage or save any document, webpage, photo or video you’re looking at. Integration is found in most of the OS including apps like Photo Booth and iPhoto.
It’s been a longstanding rumor that Facebook would follow Twitter in becoming integrated at the OS-level. Facebook is now built right in to OS X including sharing settings, contacts, calendars and notifications.
Safari 6 will see a host of updates including a unified search/address bar, something known as “Tab View” to visually flip through open tabs and offline Reading List. iCloud support is built right in and with tab sharing, you can now see and navigate to tabs that may be open on your iPhone or iPad right from your Mac.
With over 200+ improvements, it’s hard to highlight all of them. Apple also announced AirPlay Mirroring for Mac, to project your Mac onto a TV or other screen. Further improvements to Twitter integration, Game Center, Gatekeeper and international settings have kept OS X as the “world’s most advanced operating system”.
While my last post on what happened at WWDC definitely clarified some points on the announcements made today, the big one I’m still getting is what is going on with MobileMe? Steve Jobs basically announced that MobileMe was no more (even declaring that it was “not our finest hour”) but for those of you that have been paying the $99/year, myself included, probably want to know what the deal is.
When you sign up for iCloud, you’ll be able to keep your MobileMe email address and move your mail, contacts, calendars, and bookmarks to the new service.
Your MobileMe subscription will be automatically extended through June 30, 2012, at no additional charge. After that date, MobileMe will no longer be available.
When iCloud is “officially” released, Apple will post more information on how to transition but mostly everything it being taken care of for you. Realistically, all that is going away is iDisk, but what you’re getting in replace of that is SO much more useful.
I’ve already been asked close to twenty times today, “So what happened at the keynote?”. As excited as I am for the announcements about OS X Lion, iOS and iCloud, it is getting a little old explaining it, so here’s a quick summary of the big stuff.
The keynote video is available online… if you have the time, watch it. They go into detail on all the new features and seeing it makes the difference.
On to the details…