As you may very well know, Apple Monday unveiled their next big revision of iOS, bringing it to version 6.0. This is a sizable update with a plethora of wonderful features that amount to over 200 in all. However, interestingly enough, Apple put more emphasis on the iPhone side of things during the WWDC keynote and left out some of the major things that could be beneficial to iPad users – well yes, of course they mentioned Siri.
I’ve gathered a list of the most important features that are in iOS 6 and of significance to those who utilize their iPad on a daily basis. In addition, I’ve taken a deep look at the OS itself, seeking out interesting features and jotting down my thoughts on them. Keep reading for the full scoop.
Naturally this one is first since it’s going to be one of the best feature additions to Apple’s tablet in iOS 6. Siri has been in the iPhone 4S since the device’s release on October 14th of 2011. It’s been through a lot since then with Apple learning from every word that users have uttered to the voice assistant. Today, the corporation announced that they have greatly improved Siri, giving it far more functionality than before with the ability to look up sports, restaurants by rating, and showtimes using their partnership with services like Yelp and OpenTable (for reservations).
I’ve been testing out Siri on my new iPad for a few minutes here and there this afternoon and I must say, it works rather well. I’d still not go so far as to say that it’s the best a voice assistant could be, but it’s definitely learning well.
Clock & Weather
Seconds after starting my iPad up following the restore to iOS 6, I noticed a new icon – it was the Clock! Do you remember how there was no Clock or Weather app on the iPad when it was first released? (Yes, Stocks, Calculator, or Voice Memos weren’t there either, but that’s beside the point.) Well, both of them are there now in one combined app – somewhat, at least. It’s actually very beautiful, to be honest. Apple spent some time designing the app specially for their tablet, with some classy hands and a spacey user interface that lets you add up to six cities to your world clock.
As you can see in the picture above, the weather is displayed next to the city and even though there’s no 7-day forecast or anything, it’s a start. The weather itself seems to be provided by The Weather Channel and “powered by Yahoo”.
If you tap a city’s clock on the top row, you’ll get a fullscreen one to pop up, featuring the temperature of that city and the date. And if you want to change cities, just swipe right or left.
Apple has completely redesigned their digital content stores and my, are they beautiful. Styled like the Apple Trailers app for iOS, all of Apple’s iPad store apps are downright gorgeous everywhere you turn.
I honestly can’t get over just how nice all the user interfaces are in the store apps – they actually change the standard for iOS design.
I now feel like all the stock apps should have this kind of feel, but I’m sure that will come eventually.
Mail Gets Pull to Refresh
Do you remember that really cool feature Tweetie introduced a few years back called “pull to refresh”? Well, it seems that Apple has finally adopted it in an interesting way. You don’t actually have to pull down and let go, but instead just pull down and it’ll pop back up for you, refreshing your inbox or folder. I’ve found this to be an extremely useful feature that really speeds up things all throughout the OS.
Maps Goes Sans Google
Google Maps has been with iOS since the start back in 2007 and there haven’t been too many complaints, but it seems that Apple wants to change the whole experience and free themselves from Google’s mapping completely with iOS 6. Instead of using Google Maps, Apple is making use of OpenStreetMap to show you your way through the wild abyss that’s out there. They’ve also partnered with TomTom to provide better directions to your destination with turn-by-turn navigation on the iPhone.
Sadly, the original iPad – a two year old device – is no longer supported with the latest release of Apple’s mobile software. There may be a few more updates to iOS 5 before the 6th major revision is released later this year, but they won’t be bringing any significant features like Siri to the first-generation tablet. Lastly, and most importantly, Siri functionality will not be available on the second-generation iPad, only the latest one from this year. Support for this model is expected to continue through the micro-updates of iOS 6 though; next year’s release could mean the end of the second-generation device, sadly, but there’s no proof just yet.
More to Come
There’s still a lot to be discovered in iOS 6 and I’m sure many beta testers will have lots of fun with it in the coming months leading up to this autumn. Until then, if you want to explore everything there is to know about the new mobile OS, I’d recommend heading over to Apple’s fairly in-depth page that includes lots of solid information on the subject.
iOS 6 is scheduled for release in the Autumn, and I’d put money on it being released around (just before?) a new iPhone. (Ed.)