The new improved ‘Siri’ will now launches apps, fetch you news and facts about sports, movies and people. It can also read your notifications. Apple is reportedly working with BMW, GM, Mercedes, Land Rover, Jaguar, Audi, Toyota, Chrysler, Honda and others in an attempt to put a dedicated Siri button on the steering wheel on all cars throughout the next 12 months. This should enable completely hands-free operation of your iDevice when you are driving.
Siri also gets support for new languages – Canadian English, Spanish (Spain, Mexico), Italian, Korean, Mandarin, Cantonese and Chinese. With iOS 6, Siri will also land on the iPad, but only if you have the latest Retina-packing version of the slate.
iOS 6 also brings along the long-awaited Facebook integration. It works throughout the whole platform, just like the already available, Twitter app. You get an Android-style phonebook app, where your regular contacts are connected to their Facebook profiles and you get updates on their albums, messages and status updates right from the contact's screen.
The Notifications Center will also have two new additions – Update Twitter and Update Facebook status shortcut keys.
The next new feature is ‘Reply with Message’, when you can’t answer a call. Okay, this one isn't really major and everyone else probably already has it, but it's still good that Apple finally enabled it. There's also another new button on the incoming call screen, which will mute the call and will remind you about it later so you can call back.
The iOS 6 brings a new ‘Do Not Disturb’ mode, which mutes all push notification, incoming calls and prevents the screen from lighting up, so it doesn't disturb your sleep or work. You can schedule your iDevice to automatically enter ‘Do Not Disturb’ mode at a specific time every day (Something Nokia had for decades).
The ‘Do Not Disturb’ mode still, can be set to let through messages and calls from your favourite contacts and groups as well as repeating calls, so your loved ones and those that need to contact you urgently can always reach you.
‘FaceTime’ also gets the iOS 6 update. The video-call app now works over cellular networks, not just Wi-Fi. (About time, we would add!)
The ‘FaceTime/iMessages’ ID is now unified and if someone is calling/texting you, you will be able to get the call from your iPhone, iPad or Mac – whatever works for you.
The Safari browser too has learned a few new tricks as it enters its next generation. It now has ‘iCloud’ Tabs, which are synced with your desktop Safari in real time along with an offline reading list. Another cool extra is the ability to upload photos right from the browser to Facebook, Twitter, Picasa, etc.
Shared Photo Stream is another new feature with a social taste. Apparently, it lets you select contacts and give them access to the photos you are uploading. Once you upload a new album the contacts will be notified and they will get the chance to check your shots and post comments on them.
The next new feature is ‘VIP contacts’. You mark a contact as VIP and all the messages you get from that contact will be highlighted. Hence, helping to prioritise work, family and friends.
The iOS 6 also introduces a new preinstalled app called ‘Passbook’. It will collect all of your boarding passes, tickets, coupons, loyalty cards etc. and keep them neatly organized. ‘QR codes’ scanning is supported, so you can easily get those on board.
Last but not the least, iOS 6 brings in a new Maps application, called…umm… Maps. Apple has ditched ‘Google Maps’ and is introducing its own service to replace it. The new maps have better designs and interface and offer local search options, with Apple claiming to have inserted more than 100 billion business listings already. The new Maps support 3D mode and satellite view.
As long as you are touting an iPhone 4S or an iPad 3, you are entitled to get turn-by-turn navigation which works even on the lockscreen and a ‘Flyover view’ mode just like the one Google announced the other day. Even more impressively, there is an option to integrate with ‘Siri’ to search for gas stations, parking lots, etc.
The final noteworthy feature of iOS 6 include accessibility extras, better privacy controls, improved voiceover and dictionaries, redesigned apps and stores and improved camera HDR, etc.
The iOS 6 will be made compatible with iPhone 3GS and later, iPad (2nd) and (3rd) gen, iPod Touch (4th) gen. This means the first-gen iPad is out of the game. Sorry, guys…
The iOS 6 beta is available as of today, while the final release will hit the supported iGadgets this fall.