iOS 6 Playing It Safe (Part 2)

9/14/2012 9:02:25 AM

Your Passbook, Sir

While much of iOS 6 consists of updates - some significant, others minor - one completely fresh feature is Passbook, an app that lets you keep all your movie tickets, boarding passes, loyalty coupons and the like in one place.

Description:  ios 6 passbook

 ios 6 passbook

iPhone users will be able to scan barcodes on their device to check in for a flight, see a movie, redeem store coupons, etc., and passes will appear on your lock screen when you get to where you’re meant to be - the airport, or cinema, for example. It’s been reported that these will not work with the UK trains’ e-ticket network, however.

The real significance of this, of course, is that it’s the first step to your iPhone becoming an electronic wallet – something that Apple would dearly love to tie its users into. Contactless technology is hardly anything new, and it would seem a logical step for Apple to allow customers to pay for iTunes cards, shopping and other purchases using its ubiquitous smartphone.

Full-Fat Facebook

Facebook integration is going to be seen throughout iOS 6. Users will be able to share photos directly to Facebook from their devices, Maps will post your location directly, Facebook events will be sent to your Calendar and Facebook Friends’ profiles will be integrated into Contacts.

Description: Facebook integration is going to be seen throughout iOS 6

Facebook integration is going to be seen throughout iOS 6

Apple is betting big on Facebook’s popularity with iOS 6, and while it won’t be to everyone’s interest, there’ s clearly a significant number of Apple and Facebook fans who will delight at the replacement of apps to do all this for them.

It’s good to video chat

It would be easy to overlook this one, but the inclusion of FaceTime over cellular networks, rather than simply wi-fi, is significant indeed. You’ll need an iPhone 4S or iPad 3 to take advantage of it, but FaceTime wherever you are is a big step up from FaceTime wherever you are in and around your home.

This will make a difference.

Description: It’s good to video chat

It’s good to video chat

And the rest...

The other changes to iOS are all relatively minor ones. Mail gets a VIP inbox, bringing messages from a list of contacts you’ve set up in one place, iPhone users can reply with a callback reminder or text message for any declined call, Safari promises an even better browsing experience, and photo sharing has been made simpler.

Apple’s online stores - iTunes, App Store and iBookstore – will all be remodelled and there’s an Accessibility upgrade via Guided Access. Guided Access allows you to disable the home button, meaning the user is locked into whatever app is open at the time, aimed at students with disabilities, with Apple focusing more specifically on autism, to help them better focus on the on-screen content. Apple’s VoiceOver screen reader will also be integrated into Maps, AssistiveTouch and Zoom.

What does all this mean for the average Apple user? In truth, iOS 6 isn’t going to blow anyone away. Maps is certainly an interesting development, but Siri has a limited audience and more than its fair share of detractors - just the other week, news came through of a New York man who is suing Apple over misleading advertising surrounding Siri after it gave him incorrect directions to his destination. Beyond those two big- hitting changes, it’s very much a case of tweaks and tinkering rather than wholesale changes.

You could argue that if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it. I have a feeling that this will not entirely appease those among us waiting for Apple’s next big move, however. Cook has taken over the helm and made a genuine success of his time there so far, but the honeymoon period is over. If you crave for the days when Apple announcements were met with a fever pitch of excitement, iOS 6’’s feature set is hardly going to satiate your tech cravings.

It will be met with a rich round of applause and nods of appreciation, no doubt (although legacy Apple users will miss out on much of the functionality mentioned above. iPad 2 and iPhone 4 users won’t get FaceTime over cellular networks, for example). The question is, does it raise the bar?

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