Today marked the start of Apples Worldwide Developer Conference (WWDC) and in traditional Apple fashion they kicked off the event with a Keynote address presented by their team of executives. Apple started the event by telling us that the App Store now has 400m accounts, 0ver 650,000 total apps, over 225,000 of which are coded specifically for the iPad. Apple have sold more than 365m total iOS devices through March 30.
The part we are most interested in however, is iOS 6 which was introduced and demoed by Scott Forstall, Apple’s Senior VP of iOS Software. He announced that iOS 6 would come with over 200 new features. He then gave a demonstration of a few of the features which were:
Siri will now understand about subjects like Sports, you can ask about recent scores and ask about individual players to get stats etc and get fixtures. Restaurant search has also been improved, there is now a wealth of new information provided by Yelp! and you can make reservations. You can ask about movies which is powered by Rotten Tomatoes and pull up the trailer from within Siri, You can ask about directors, actresses etc. So for e.g. “Show me movies starring Scarlett Johansson” Siri will also now launch apps. Eyes free is a new initiative that aims to put Siri connect hardware into Cars from manufacturers. Local search is now being taken worldwide,
Facebook is now baked right into the OS, including developer API’s, you can update Facebook (and Twitter) using Siri and their both also built into Notification Centre. Facebook Calendar events will now appear in the calendar app.
Now when you miss a call, you can reject with a text message. You can also set up reminders for a period of time or by location so when you leave you’ll be reminded to phone that person back.
Do Not Disturb.
You can silence all notifications between certain times. You can also allow only certain contacts to call you. If someone calls you back within 3 minutes, you can allow the call through.
FaceTime calls will now work over a 3G cellular connection and Apple ID’s and Phone Numbers are now unified. This applies to iMessage also.
Offline Reading ala Instapaper and Pocket so you can now save a webpage and read it later. Photos can now be uploaded to websites. “Smart App Banners” appear when the website has a companion app. The example shown was Yelp.com, it looks a little too much like an Ad, when you click on it it will take you to the App Store (or the App if its already installed). Full Screen mode is now available but in Landscape mode only.
Photos can now be sent directly to a users photo stream where they will appear in a separate album. This basically bypasses the iMessage or Mail app by saving them straight to the Photos app. A notification still appears.
VIP users can now be set and when they email you the notification will show on the lock screen. Flagged messages are now supported and its now easier to attach photos and videos.
A new app that keeps things like Store cards, Airline tickets, Cinema Tickets etc. Developers will have an API to integrate their existing apps. The goal is to keep all of your scorecards etc, the demo shown on stage was cinema tickets, including a reminder when you get nearby.
This allows you to remove certain UI elements for easier use and includes a single app mode. The example given was that this would be perfect for autistic children.
Completely redesigned maps app with local search, traffic, turn by turn navigation. The app is fully integrated with Siri so you can setup a route, ask for ETA’s, change the destination. If traffic is bad on the route it will try to reroute you in a way that will bypass the traffic but not add time to the journey. The actual maps looked impressive, they are vector based so should load quickly. 3D mapping was shown off in some detail. Apple have used a similar approach to Google using planes and helicopters to capture the imagery and then use it to render in 3D. Something called Flyover mode was demoed, which gives the user the sensation they are flying above the city as you are able to adjust the angles etc.
Forstall stated that iOS 6 would not be available to consumers until fall but that they would be seeding a build to developers today so they can get started on coding straight away. Supported devices for iOS 6 are the iPhone 3GS, 4 and 4s, iPod touch 4th Generation and the iPad 2 and new iPad. Users of the 2 year old, 1st Generation iPad and older iPod touches will be left with iOS 5 it seems. There are many more features and changes to be discovered in iOS 6 and as soon as we hear of any we’ll be sure to post about them. Until then, why not head over to our forums and tell us what you think of iOS 6 and the future of Apples mobile OS. If there is anything thats been missed above please let me know and I’ll add it in.