iOS 6: Useful Features, Intriguing Strategy Hints
This week Apple announced the new version of iOS which prompted a glut of articles detailing its new features in minute detail. While this blog is about iOS 6 and its new features, I’m going to discuss only a few interesting features.
Possibly the most noteworthy is the new Apple Maps app. Google is no longer the default mapping app on iOS, instead Apple have partnered with TomTom to provide data for their new Maps application which includes turn-by-turn navigation, a feature of the Android Google Maps apps which never made it across to iOS. Apple have given us the ability to see cityscapes from the air in this app but there is sadly no replacement for street view, something which I’ve used frequently on my Android phone when I’m trying to find the right house on a long street.
This move is interesting because it demonstrates that Apple is trying to pull away from the use of Google products on their devices, no matter how pervasive they might be on the desktop. Will Google Search disappear from future versions of iOS?
Another attention-grabbing piece of news is that Apple have been working with car manufacturers such as BMW, Audi and Honda to introduce Siri buttons in their cars. However, this may not come to pass; after all cars aren’t redesigned particularly often so Siri buttons are some three to five years in the future if they come at all. There is also the fact that not everyone has an iPhone, something which those car manufacturers will not be able to overlook. After all, why add a feature to a new car which the majority of smartphone users aren’t going to be able to use?
Passbook is also an intriguing feature for the mobile analyst; it allows the user to keep mobile boarding passes, cinema tickets, coupons and loyalty cards (amongst other things) in an Apple mobile wallet. This has been integrated with the calendar and has location-based features so that it can present your cinema ticket on your lock screen when you arrive at the cinema before your movie. It can also remind you that you have tickets booked for a certain time. The location capabilities can also enable features like your Starbuck loyalty card being presented when you walk past a Starbucks store.
While this app isn’t NFC-enabled as none of the current line-up of iPhone have NFC capabilities, it is a clear sign from Apple that it wants to move into the mobile payments and ticketing markets.
And the other useful features?
A worthwhile add-on is the new Do Not Disturb feature which allows users to block calls during certain time periods while allowing through phone calls from important people like your spouse or your children, or even the boss. It also allows the user to accept calls from people who have already called; if someone has taken the time to call back then the call is likely to be important.
Cloud tabs will also be useful for those of us who want use multiple devices across the day as Safari will now store details of currently open tabs in the cloud, enabling you to go to a website on your iPad that you have open on your iPhone. It will of course also enable parents to see what their children are looking at on the family iPad.
My personal favourite is the addition of cloud storage for custom dictionary. Add a new word to your iPhone’s custom dictionary and it will be automatically synced to your iPad. Could this be the end of annoying autocorrect mishaps?
So, what do I think about iOS 6? Well, the new features and updates are for the most part innovative and, more importantly, useful but what is most fascinating about iOS 6 are the hints its gives on Apple’s long term strategies.