iOS 6 Roundup
Last week, Apple announced the iPhone 5, much to the surprise of everyone I’m sure (that's sarcasm). The new phone has some pretty nifty features, but not everyone will be waiting in line for days in order to get their hands on one. Those of us who don’t want to trade-up just yet still have a way to scratch that “new Apple gadget” itch, however: iOS 6. This new iOS will be compatible with most older devices, including the iPhone 3GS (Yay!) and above, the fourth generation iPod Touch and up, and the iPad 2 and later. So while I might not be able to get my hands on a 5 just yet, I can still feel special when my phone starts to do new and exciting things!
iOS 6 - Plenty of changes to some old favorites
Before we get in to all the major changes and new features I want to take a moment to go over some of the smaller tweaks to the apps many iOS users can’t live without. The camera has gotten a bit more attention this time around. Users can take panoramic photos now with their iPhone 4S/5 and iPod Touch 4th/5th generation, up to 240 degrees both horizontally and vertically. They have simply to sweep the camera along using a predefined motion and the device and software takes care of the rest. Then, said photos and everything else on the camera roll can be shown off to friends quickly and easily with the Photo app. Video chatting with friends and family via FaceTime has also gotten much simpler now that the app can work over a cellular network and Wi-Fi is no longer required--provided the carrier allows for that sort of thing, naturally.
Even the Notification Center has been revamped with Twitter or Facebook posting allowed directly from the notifications window and the option to quiet those irritating 3am notices, thanks to the new Do Not Disturb feature (more on that later). Last, but certainly not least to the accident prone, Find My Phone has been updated to include a Lost Mode which allows users to remotely lock their misplaced phone with a 4-digit code and display contact information for honest folks to use in order to return the lost device. This goes hand-in-hand with Find My Friends, an app that uses GPS to keep track of friends and family, even going so far as to issue alerts when certain individuals have left or reached specific destinations. It sounds weird, but think of it in terms of the kids leaving school and getting home. Pretty nifty, I know, but this is just the beginning.
iTunes, App Store, iBookstore - Refurbishing the storefronts
iTunes, the App Store, and the iBookstore are also getting adjustments by way of some slightly revamped storefronts, Facebook integration (“like” items in the store or view items that friends like), and a new preview feature that automatically keeps track of any apps/music/books that you browse through. You can view this list from within any of the three stores--and across any of their iOS devices thanks to iCloud--and make purchases from it directly.