If you're missing the old Maps, there may be some good news on the horizon: Google is rumored to be working on its own standalone Maps app for iOS, which would give users the best of both worlds. In general, the new Maps is a work in progress and won't be perfect.
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It may even be frustrating for many users who have grown accustomed to the familiar look and feel of Google Maps. However, we're intrigued by the direction Apple has taken pun intended ; Apple is now addressing many concerns we've had with Maps in the past, and though there are certainly some things that need massaging, we're optimistic that the app will continue to expand in scope, coverage and functionality.
The feature's main function is to act as a wallet of sorts: instead of hunting through your iPhone to find a barcode, coupon or boarding pass, you can find these types of items bundled together in one place. It wouldn't be difficult to imagine this application being expanded to include mobile payments and maybe even work badges, hotel room cards and car keys compatible.
As you may have seen in last week's keynote , such wireless technology didn't even get a mention. The iPhone 5 does not, in fact, have NFC, and gossip-mongers will likely turn their attention to next year's model the iPhone 5S? But this doesn't mean Passbook is useless in the meantime. On the contrary, anyone who shops, travels or attends concerts and other events will likely find it convenient. As new items begin to pour into your Passbook, they'll show up as a stack of tabs, each one spanning the width of an iPhone screen.
Pull up any tab and it'll be presented as a card, complete with barcodes and any other relevant information. Delta boarding passes, for instance, will look very similar to the ones you'd find in the official iOS app, and are just as scannable. Whenever you have multiple items in a specific category -- let's say you've purchased tickets to more than one concert -- they'll show up under the same tab. The first card will be seen, but you'll need to swipe horizontally to check out the rest.
This can be a little confusing the first few times you use it, so be careful not to lose your bearings. Fortunately, Passbook has also been integrated with the iOS lock screen, which means your boarding passes and event tickets will appear there as notifications when the time approaches. Overall, the convenience of this new feature intrigues us, and it should become even more useful over time as more developers take advantage of it.
We sadly weren't able to test it with real boarding passes or coupons, but we were able to generate a few sample cards via a third-party website to get a good idea of the user experience have a look at our screenshots to see what we're talking about. However, they've still been enhanced with new features that should make the apps even more tempting to use.
For starters, Find my iPhone is now introducing a "Lost Mode," a new option which triggers an alert sound on the device and provides a remotely set phone number for good Samaritans to call and coordinate a place to return it. Staying on the subject of location-based features, the beloved Reminders app received a couple minor but much-needed enhancements. Chief among them is the ability to add locations manually. When the app debuted last year, we loved the idea of receiving a notification when arriving or leaving a certain location hey, we all forget stuff sometimes , but until now we didn't have the option of putting in any address we wanted unless we happened to be there.
No more. Additionally, reminders now show up on iCloud.
Lastly, you'll now be able to rearrange your reminders, add custom lists and have notification badges nag you when an outstanding task still needs to get done. Brace yourselves for the onslaught of new Siri commercials: with iOS 6, the virtual assistant is adding a few more tricks to her repertoire. It's hard to know where to begin: first, the program studied up on several new languages listed below ; it's capable of looking up sports scores from nearly every major US league as well as a heap of international ones you'll find the full list of supported leagues below as well ; you can look up movie reviews and ratings courtesy of Rotten Tomatoes; you can get Yelp reviews, find restaurants and make OpenTable reservations; and you can also launch apps directly from Siri, which can be incredibly beneficial if you have a large collection.
Siri handled our requests without too many misunderstandings. There were a few times we had to rephrase our queries it had a difficult time understanding us when we pronounced Mexican restaurants, for instance , but in general we were able to ask the same question in many different ways without stumping the computer. While we primarily used Siri on an iPhone 4S, iOS 6 is bringing the virtual assistant to the new iPad version as well.
There's still one more enhancement worth mentioning, though we admittedly haven't had the opportunity to test it: Eyes-Free Mode. We've all seen advertisements from car companies that show a driver making a phone call or getting directions just by pressing a button on the steering wheel. With iOS 6, manufacturers will be able to install Siri into cars in pretty much the same exact manner. Once this happens, all you'll have to do is press the voice command button on the wheel and ask Siri to get directions, make calls, play music and send messages.
Interesting stuff, but the success of this feature ultimately depends on how many car makers adopt it. Twitter had its day when iOS 5 came out, complete with deep integration in the OS, but Facebook was curiously absent. That's now been resolved in version six as well as OS X Mountain Lion : the service has been fully integrated into the Notification Center, Siri and core apps. Also, Apple has released an API for third-party app access, and Facebook contact information in particular, can more easily be integrated into the address book.
Just like users did with Twitter last year, you just head to the settings menu and scroll down far enough until the social media options pop out at you. Once you sign in, you'll be able to tell Siri to post a message to Facebook or manually type it in by pressing "Tap to Post" in the Notification Center. Perhaps you've noticed a theme by now: iOS 6, by and large, addresses the small things. We'd say Do Not Disturb definitely qualifies. The concept of this feature isn't new to the smartphone world, but it's one you'll use on a nightly basis -- think of how many times you've accidentally left the volume up overnight only to be rattled out of sleep because a Facebook friend wanted to invite you to use MyCalendar.
You can tell the iPhone to allow calls from your favorites, your full contacts list shunning numbers that are unknown to you , everybody or nobody at all. But what if it's somebody calling from an unknown number about a legitimate emergency? Enable repeated calls in the settings menu, which will allow calls from anybody who tries a second time within three minutes. Naysayers may argue that it's easy enough to put the phone into silent mode or go through the process of turning individual notifications off, but what if there's a legitimate emergency and a loved one needs to get in touch with you right away?
The option is there, and a lot of people have been asking for something like this for years. The phone app in iOS has been largely untouched over the years, its iconic dialpad seemingly keeping its age rather well. After being left alone for so long, however, Apple felt it was time to give the application a nip and a tuck. The first thing you'll notice is a completely new look to the dialpad: gone are the dark blue keys, while the white buttons are here to stay. Obviously, that's not much of an enhancement from a functionality standpoint -- it's just such a departure from the iconic look that we've become so accustomed to over the years.
Still, there are some more beneficial improvements. Incoming calls can be rejected with two new options: reply with message and remind me later. Reply with message is exactly what it sounds like -- you can choose from a small selection of canned texts including a customizable one that will be sent to the caller automatically. Remind me later sets up a reminder for you to make sure you call the person back. While we're on the subject of phoning friends, family or colleagues, let's not skim over another critical feature in iOS 6 provided you didn't jailbreak your iOS 5 device, of course : FaceTime over cellular.
Indeed, using Apple's video chat service no longer is restricted to a WiFi-only connection; you can now take advantage of this ability over any 3G or 4G network. Of course, there are a few catches: just like with tethering a few years ago, the availability of this feature all depends on your carrier and how much data your plan allows. Most operators seem to have no problem letting you get in a face-to-face chat while using their network and to clarify, FaceTime uses data, not minutes -- but that's not always the case.
Before you get too upset about this, keep in mind that you can still easily use Skype or any other third-party video chat service without a problem -- the only real concern is making sure all of your chatting buddies are using the same service as well.
While most of Apple's recent work involving the year-old cloud storage and backup service has been centered around Mountain Lion, the company isn't about to let an iOS update go by without a few tweaks. Worried about the limited space to work with? The iPad now offers support for up to 24 tabs, so feel free to go crazy with your wild web-surfing habits. Additionally, there's a new sharing menu in Safari. This menu, which is designed to look more like an iOS folder with icons rather than a vertical list of buttons, can actually be found in multiple places in the operating system.
One of the options in Safari's menu is to add a page to an offline reading list.
Not only is Safari speedier, it also finds a way to add precious pixels to the webpage you're viewing by offering a fullscreen view whilst in landscape. Just click on the icon on the bottom right and you're set. Finally, Safari now has what's referred to as smart app banners. These are notifications that slide down from the top of your screen and give you an option to download or launch an app that corresponds with the website you're visiting.
As an example, visiting engadget. If the idea sounds humdrum, look at it from a different angle: have you ever attempted to go to a website, only to find yourself forced to look at a full-page advertisement for that site's native app? Smart app banners could help developers get their ad across in a less invasive way. But that's not the entire list of improvements to mobile Safari. Here's a couple more:. Let's definitely not forget the Mail app, whose newest enhancements address some of iOS users' biggest frustrations.
For starters, you can now attach photos and videos within the body of your emails. Sounds like a basic enough feature fans of other mobile platforms have enjoyed this functionality for years , but until now the only option for attaching files has been to begin the composition process directly from the picture or movie itself.
If you wanted to use multiple images or you forgot to add a picture until halfway through your email , tough luck. That long-awaited feature is finally offered in the form of a long-press on the body of the email. Additionally, you can also now use the same gesture to add quote lines. Apple's also thrown in a so-called VIP list -- a priority inbox that lets you whitelist emails from people more important than your garden-variety spammer or daily deals site.
This feature should please anyone used to receiving dozens or even hundreds of emails during the workday -- without a way to prioritize your correspondence, urgent messages from bosses or significant others may get easily lost in the chaos thus leaving you with some extra chaos to deal with later. The VIP list is as simple to set up as you can imagine: upon going into the VIP list, you're given an option to add or delete contacts from it. Execution itself was great, although we noticed emails from non-VIP contacts were showing up in the box because somebody who was on the list was involved in the email thread.
Basically, iOS automatically assumes that the conversation is important to you since a VIP was a part of the same series of messages. It almost seems a bit Google Now-esque with Apple playing the "smart computer" card, but we didn't mind too much. Another sorely needed feature in iOS email is the ability to create signatures for each individual email account directly from the phone.
There have been plenty of workarounds for specific email domains in the past, but we appreciate seeing it supported natively and universally -- no matter which type of email account you have. Fortunately there's plenty more to enjoy with the Mail app in iOS 6, such as:. The Notification Center largely has the same look and feel, complete with the love-it-or-hate-it grey background and tiny buttons for clearing out notifications.
It's also still void of any third-party widgets, which is something we've been begging for since last year. The improvements Apple has made are certainly welcome, though relatively minor: the "Tap to Post" button; calendar items now show ending times and dates; notification statuses are synced across iOS devices; and individual mail accounts now have customizable notifications.
Additionally, message previews can be toggled on and off for alerts now. Though the Notification Center continues to improve, there are still a few features on our list that need to be touched upon. For instance, we'd prefer to have direct access to the Center from the lock screen, a "clear all" button for all notifications, more gesture support and broader widget options an Airplane Mode toggle button would be absolutely divine, and we'd love to see what kinds of stuff third-party devs can think of. Another area of iOS that has received a major facelift is the App Store. While the user interface has been the subject of a few minor alterations here and there since the marketplace's birth, this year's adjustment may very well be the most distinguished yet.
The most polarizing change will be Apple's switch to a card-style search interface. Likely, we're seeing the fruits of the company's acquisition of Chomp , as it certainly should credit the former app search service with some of its inspiration. With iOS 6, conducting an app search will reward you with a webOS-esque card layout. Each card displays the name, rating, app icon and screenshot of each given app.
On the iPad you'll be presented with a four-card view, but iPhone users will get one at a time and will need to swipe right-to-left to check out more results. Got a bunch of pictures from that wild and crazy family reunion that you just can't wait to use to blackmail your cousins? Shared Photo Streams lets you show off those embarrassing snapshots before you even get home.
Here's how it works: pick out the best of the bunch, throw it into its own Photo Stream album and it gets uploaded to the cloud and becomes available as its own unique URL. From there you can make the album public or simply share the link on Twitter, Facebook or via email or messaging. Also, the shared photos can be commented on and liked in a manner similar to Facebook. The best part? Photo streams don't count against your iCloud storage. The changes to the camera app are few but pleasant.
Only one actual feature has been added: a panorama mode is now offered on the iPhone 5, iPhone 4S and iPod touch fifth generation. To access it, hit the options button on the top of the viewfinder and it's listed right below the HDR toggle. There's not much here that needs explaining, to be honest -- your shots span roughly degrees, and the images, capable of churning out pictures up to 28 megapixels in size, turn out incredibly smooth.
When taking the images, you're given warnings if you need to slow down, and an arrow goes up or down with your movements, letting you know that you need to adjust your position to get a better shot. Ah, the Game Center. Ever since it came into the public eye with iOS 4, it's grown by leaps and bounds, and is now being integrated into OS X in a manner similar to iCloud. Naturally, as games, the ecosystem and Apple's support structure continue to improve, so should the Center itself.
In its third year of life, the Game Center will now offer challenges, the ability to find friends via Facebook and cross-platform turn-based as well as real-time gaming between iOS and OS X. There's a reason we see videos of educational and usability features in every iOS keynote: these things are incredibly important to Apple, and indeed, new functionality has been added with every major upgrade to ensure iOS appeals to as many people as possible.
With Guided Access making its debut, iOS 6 is no different. There are a few things Guided Access can do: it can disable the home button when you're in an app, preventing the user from wandering to another program. You can even turn off touch or motion control to whatever part of the screen you see fit. The single-app mode can be useful to parents and teachers who enjoy the educational quality of iOS apps but want to make sure kids and students don't sneak in a game or two of Temple Run.
That's what we would've done if we had iPads at that age, anyway. The option to disable touch is great if there's a button you don't want your kids pressing, for iPads installed at kiosks or even for presenters who don't want to accidentally press the wrong buttons. We admit, we haven't tried to count all of the some-odd features in ioS 6 -- Apple doesn't officially list each one, and it hasn't even clarified what counts as a feature. But of the plethora of improvements and enhancements we already know about, we've yet to cover the vast majority of them in this review.
In this section we'll discuss many of the miscellaneous features that may not have warranted a section of their own, but still may be of interest. Music : The app has a new, streamlined interface and an extra equalizer mode Late Night. In what must be one of the smallest feature additions, the reflection on the metallic slider knob in the Now Playing screen actually changes as you tilt your phone from side to side. It's not going to make or break your decision to buy an iPhone 5, natch, but it's a small easter egg that will capture your attention for a solid 20 seconds.
YouTube : Apple dropped support for a stock YouTube app, but Google has already pushed out a separate app of its own that you can download from the App Store. Contacts : You can now search all available fields and add custom SMS alert vibrations for each individual contact. In other words, all of your typing shortcuts and preferences can be backed up via the cloud and restored along with everything else.
Clock : Rather than having to go through a vigorous workaround routine to crank out custom ringtones just for your alarm, you can now go through the music app to decide which song to wake up to. This privacy-focused change could be in response to a WIRED report last year that claimed thousands of websites have unmitigated access to motion, orientation, proximity, and light sensor data on mobile devices. Software engineer Felix Krause also filed a radar and notified Apple's security team about this matter in It's quite possible Apple could tweak how this feature works in time for the public release of iOS Perhaps the setting will be toggled on by default in a subsequent beta, for example, or Safari could prompt users for permission to access motion data when necessary as it does with location data.
Related Roundup: iOS Top Rated Comments View all. Albeit a very small one. One can hope that a pop-up appears when a website requires gyroscope access. This article seems to be misleading. It doesn't seem to me that Apple is limiting access; it seems to just be making that feature "opt in" rather than "opt out". It depends on the accuracy and drift of the sensors, time references, signal processing techniques employed, required accuracy, etc. I'm glad Apple is thinking ahead with respect to the possibilities and privacy implications.
They had that. It was called iAd and it was a major flop. Is knowing which direction my phone is facing really an invasion of my privacy? You can identify people by measuring their walking gate. Glad this is something that is off by default. Since most people wouldn't even be aware of it and leave it on. Not due to preference. Just because they don't know any better. I know it sounds like nothing. Accessing motion and orientation data. If someone can use it. Someone will figure out a way to abuse it.
Wait - you can access ambient light data on a website? I was doing some ludicrously complicated calculations from GPS data to determine if the sun was up or not at your location to determine whether to be in "day mode" or "night mode" Guides Powerbeats Pro Apple's Beats brand in April unveiled the Powerbeats Pro, a redesigned wire-free version of its popular fitness-oriented Powerbeats earbuds. AirPods Guide If you're new to AirPods, considering buying a pair, or just want to pick up some new tips. Best Camera Apps iPhone If you're looking to take your iPhone photography up a notch, make sure to check these out.
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