For Apple, creating and implementing must-have features before users even realize that they can’t live without them has been the basis of their mobile business model.
That said, there are equal helpings of me-too and bleeding edge innovation in Apple’s next-gen mobile operating, and Senior Vice President Scott Forstall laid out the roadmap to this Fall’s iOS 6 release at the 2012 WWDC Conference. Here’s the best of it.
The first half of the list focuses on the updated and often innovative conveniences that iOS will deliver when it ships this Fall, likely in October.
Top 10 New iOS 6 Features
10. Facebook Integration — If you are a Facebook junky, having a single login with fine-app control is going to be great, providing set-it-once and forget-it convenience. This is the kind of throw away “it just works” functionality that Apple excels at. Here’s hoping the implementation meets these high expectations.
09. FaceTime over 3G — Here is a feature that should have been in there from the beginning. Given how pissy and whiny Apple’s carrier partners are, however, it is somewhat surprising the we are getting this functionality at all. Who doesn’t love the fact that Apple’s sticking it to ’em?
08. Photo Stream Sharing — The first version of this feature was just a fire house that broadcast every photo or image you took or collected on your i-thing with no way to finely control which images got viewed let alone a way to delete potentially embarrassing pics (i.e. porn). All of that will be fixed in iOS 6, coming this Fall.
07. Remodeled Stores — Not a lot of folks are talking about the Music, Movies, Book and App store revamps coming in iOS 6. If properly executed, finding exactly what you want and doing so quickly will just work. Please, Apple, help us spend even more money, more efficiently. Come on, take our money.
06. Safari Improvements — You have one life to live and it’s all inside Safari. Sync what you’re doing across all of your i-things in real time. Soon your iPhone, iPad and Mac know and own it all, except maybe the bathroom and bedroom. Maybe.
05. VIP Mail & Do Not Disturb — Apple hasn’t yet invented a way to keep us from playing all of those awesome iPhone and iPad games, but they have found ways to block out annoying co-workers, family and friends. Obviate those distracting emails, phone calls and instant messages. Leave me alone — I have work (games) to do (play)!
04.Guided Access — Education was the focus of this feature’s demo at WWDC, but the implications are far reaching vis-a-vis how managers in every business can control how students, workers and customers can use centrally issued Apple i-things. Think kiosk mode, but with more finely tuned control. It will be interesting to see how Apple, developers and other partners (i.e. control freak wireless carriers?) build out this functionality going forward.
03. New Maps App — Apple started buying mapping technology firms years ago and finally delivered working product at WWDC. An immediate leap forward vis-a-vis visualizing and interacting with our world — 3D flyover is absolutely stunning — the long-term import becomes clearer when you consider how things like Siri and Passbook become fully and seamlessly integrated.
02. Siri for iPad — Apple’s digital assistant is fun and engaging, but neither truly intelligent nor indispensable. How do we get there from here? Device by device, application by application, Apple will relentlessly roll Siri out, gathering data and fine tuning her until we can’t live without her.
Another step along that road is the fact that Siri in iOS 6 will better answer your questions about sport (scores, standings), restaurant (reviews, reservations) and movie (reviews, reservations, purchase) — big improvements all ’round.
01. Passbook — The single feature with the most potential to change how we use our Apple i-things is Passbook. Initially targeted at ticketed events and services, like movies and air travel, Passbook is a first look at Apple’s cashless, credit-card-free world of tomorrow. Though not yet hinted at by the lords of Cupertino, imagine your iTunes account tied directly to your iPhone and a single payment source for everything in your life — will that be cash, Visa or iPhone, sir?