Apple previews iOS 6, makes photo sharing simpler


posted Wednesday, June 13, 2012 at 1:51 PM EST

Apple's logo. Click here to visit the Apple website!In a shot across the bow of rival Google, whose Android 4 (Ice Cream Sandwich) operating system is now widely available on new devices and currently rolling out to many existing phones and tablets, Apple has posted a preview of its upcoming iOS 6 mobile operating system.

Apple's iOS 6 isn't slated to arrive until this fall, and will be offered only for iOS devices that are currently available at retail. That means it will drop support for two existing iOS5.x devices: the third-generation iPod Touch and first-generation iPad. The former was to be expected, given that the iPod Touch 3G has been discontinued for a couple of years. The exclusion of the first-gen iPad is something of a surprise, however. That device went on sale more than a year after the still-supported iPhone 3GS, and was available new as recently as 15 months ago. Of course, we're holding Apple to a higher standard here, simply because they're known for supporting their devices longer than is the norm, and the shelving of iPad 1G support so soon after its second birthday somewhat bucks that trend.

Apple's iOS6 will bring new Shared Photo Streams functionality that aims to simplify the chore of sharing your photos with friends and family, Apple-users or not. Image provided by Apple Inc. Click for a bigger picture!

Apple's iOS6 will bring new Shared Photo Streams functionality that aims to simplify the chore of sharing your photos with friends and family, Apple-users or not.
Image provided by Apple Inc.

So... what's new in iOS 6? Quite a lot, including several updates that touch on its photo features. First and foremost is a new mapping solution that replaces Google's offering, and incorporates the impressive city flyover functionality created by C3 Technologies, a company Apple acquired last August. There's also an update for Siri that adds third-gen iPad support; currently the feature is only available to iPhone 4S users. The Siri update also allows more search types including sports results, movie tickets, and restaurants, plus the ability to launch apps or make social networking posts using your voice. The Safari web browser and Mail apps have both been updated to make it easier to share photos and videos, among other tweaks.

Social networking--or at least, Facebook--is more tightly integrated with iOS 6, and it's here we touch on the first photo feature: you can now share to Facebook directly from the Camera or Photos apps. Additionally, you can share your location from the new Maps app, and will find events and friends integrated into the Calendar and Contacts apps.

Owners of non-Apple hardware and older Apple devices will view your photos on the web. Image provided by Apple Inc. Click for a bigger picture!

Owners of non-Apple hardware and older Apple devices will view your photos on the web.
Image provided by Apple Inc.

The most significant photo feature is dubbed Shared Photo Streams. This lets you select photos from the Photos app, and share them immediately with friends. If they're on an iOS 6 device or a Mac running OS X 10.8, your shared photos appear automatically in their Photos app on mobile devices, or iPhoto on desktops / notebooks. If they're using older Macs or iDevices, or they're a member of the non-Apple crowd, the photos will instead be shared on the web. It's all achieved using Apple's iCloud service, and the company suggests there won't be a limit on how much data can be shared in this manner, stating that "shared photo streams don’t count against your iCloud storage".

Other updated features include support for using your iPhone or iPod Touch as a ticketing / coupon device, an update for the FaceTime video conferencing function to allow use on cellular networks, new call handling features, built-in location for lost phones and friend's devices, expanded Chinese-language support, remodeled stores, and improved access for those with vision, hearing, learning, and mobility disabilities.

A beta version and SDK for iOS 6 are available immediately to the development community.

The Mail app in iOS6 has been reworked to make sharing photos and videos easier. Image provided by Apple Inc. Click for a bigger picture!

The Mail app in iOS6 has been reworked to make sharing photos and videos easier.
Image provided by Apple Inc.

Press Release

Apple Previews iOS 6 With All New Maps, Siri Features, Facebook Integration, Shared Photo Streams & New Passbook App

Available to iPhone, iPad & iPod touch Users This Fall

SAN FRANCISCO―June 11, 2012―Apple® today previewed iOS 6, introducing over 200 new features to the world’s most advanced mobile operating system, and released a beta version to iOS Developer Program members. iOS 6 will be available to iPhone®, iPad® and iPod touch® users this fall as a free software update. New iOS 6 features include: an all new Maps app with Apple-designed cartography, turn-by-turn navigation and an amazing new Flyover view; new Siri® features, including support for more languages, easy access to sports scores, restaurant recommendations and movie listings; Facebook integration for Contacts and Calendar, with the ability to post directly from Notification Center, Siri and Facebook-enabled apps like Photos, Safari® and Maps; Shared Photo Streams via iCloud®; and Passbook, the simplest way to get all your passes in one place.

“iOS 6 continues the rapid pace of innovation that is helping Apple reinvent the phone and create the iPad category, delivering the best mobile experience available on any device,” said Scott Forstall, Apple's senior vice president of iOS Software. “We can’t wait for hundreds of millions of iOS users to experience the incredible new features in iOS 6 including the new Maps app, expanded Siri support, deep Facebook integration, Shared Photo Streams and the innovative new Passbook app.”

iOS 6 includes an all new Maps app with vector-based map elements that make graphics and text smooth, and panning, tilting and zooming incredibly fluid. New turn-by-turn navigation guides you to your destination with spoken directions, and the amazing Flyover feature has photo-realistic interactive 3D views. Real-time traffic information keeps you updated on how long it will take to get to your destination and offers alternate time-saving routes if traffic conditions change significantly. Additionally, local search includes information for over 100 million businesses with info cards that offer Yelp ratings, reviews, available deals and photos.

Siri, now available for the new iPad as well as iPhone 4S, includes language support for English, French, German and Japanese, and adds support for Spanish, Italian, Korean, Mandarin and Cantonese. Siri is optimized for use in 15 countries and helps you get even more done with just your voice, whether it’s finding the latest sports scores or making restaurant reservations. You also can ask Siri to update your status on Facebook, post to Twitter or launch an app. Additionally, Siri takes hands-free functionality even further with a new Eyes Free mode, enabling you to interact with your iPhone using nothing more than your voice.

Built-in Facebook integration is the best ever in a mobile device, allowing you to sign in once and post from Notification Center, Siri and Facebook-enabled apps, including Photos, Safari and Maps. Your Facebook friends’ information is kept up to date across all your iOS devices, automatically updating details in Contacts when they change, and scheduling events and birthdays in your Calendar. You can also “Like” content directly from the App Store™ and iTunes® and see what your friends recommend.

With more than 125 million users already enjoying iCloud, iOS 6 introduces new ways to share photos with friends and family using Shared Photo Streams. Simply select the photos you want to share, pick which friends you want to receive the album, and the Shared Photo Stream album is instantly available on their iOS devices, iPhoto® and Aperture® on their Mac®, via the web or even through Apple TV®. You and your friends can leave comments on or “Like” any photo in a shared album.

The new Passbook app is the simplest way to get all your passes in one place, such as boarding passes and baseball tickets. Passbook lets you scan your iPhone or iPod touch to use a coupon, get into a concert or check into your hotel. Passbook automatically displays your passes on your Lock Screen based on a specific time or location, so when you walk into your favorite coffee shop your loyalty card appears and you can scan it to buy a coffee or check your balance. Passbook can even alert you to last minute gate changes or flight delays at the airport.

Building on Apple’s commitment to provide innovative solutions for education and accessibility, iOS 6 introduces Guided Access. This new feature allows a parent, teacher or administrator to disable hardware buttons to lock an iOS device into a single app, especially useful for test taking or helping someone with a disability stay focused on learning. Guided Access also includes the ability to confine touch input to certain parts of the screen.

Additional new iOS 6 features include:

  • enhancements to Safari, the world’s most popular mobile browser, such as iCloud tabs, offline reading lists, photo uploads and full screen view;

  • support for FaceTime® calls over cellular networks;

  • the ability to set up a VIP Mailbox, making it easier to quickly view messages from important people you designate as VIPs;

  • the option to decline incoming calls with a quick message, set a callback reminder and enable a new Do Not Disturb option; and

  • a whole new set of improvements and services specifically for iOS users in China, such as improved text input and built-in support for popular Chinese services including Baidu, Sina Weibo, Youku and Tudou.

The iOS 6 beta software and SDK are available immediately for iOS Developer Program members at iOS 6 will be available as a free software update for iPhone 4S, iPhone 4, iPhone 3GS, the new iPad, iPad 2 and iPod touch (fourth generation) this fall. Some features may not be available on all products.

Apple designs Macs, the best personal computers in the world, along with OS X, iLife, iWork and professional software. Apple leads the digital music revolution with its iPods and iTunes online store. Apple has reinvented the mobile phone with its revolutionary iPhone and App Store, and is defining the future of mobile media and computing devices with iPad.