At this week’s WWDC event, Apple lived up to its own hype, releasing a slew of announcements and product updates that are sure to shape the very future of tech itself. The company introduced the iOS 6 platform, boosted improvements in its notebook line, its own “Flyover” 3D maps system that replaces Google, and a new Facebook partnership that provides easier integration with the social network for a more seamless social experience.
The iOS 6 platform features a new and improved Siri voice assistant with 200 new features. Siri is now designed for easy updates to sports content. It also has your table covered with integrations from Yelp and Open Table. Siri also has integration with Rotten Tomatoes to make it easier to socially comment on movies and watch trailers. Siri now has the ability to launch applications. It even speaks Chinese, Mandarin and Korean, and is now part of the iPad as well.
Addressing the concerns “addressgate” in which users address books were downloaded through a platform glitch, iOS6 also features a new “Privacy” section under the Settings app that allows users control over which apps have access to photos, reminders, contacts, reminders and location services. Apps also ask permission from users before allowing third party apps from accessing phone content. The platform also features Guided Access, which allows users to lock an app when in use so other controls are inaccessible.
IOS 6 actually enables streaming users’ songs stored in the iTunes Match service, whereas previous platforms actually downloaded the song to your phone first.
The platform also includes a VIP mailbox that allows you to star certain contacts as VIPs, such as your boss or work colleagues. Notification settings can be adjusted to only alert you if a particular contact sends mail. The phone also includes a do-not-disturb feature, and can send reminders to call those people back, or send them messages to call you back. Some users can be Whitelisted, meaning those calls will always go through, such as if from a boss, spouse or child in the case of emergencies.
Phone numbers are now integrated with your Apple ID, making it possible to answer Facetime calls on either your iPad or your Mac. Facetime now works everywhere, not just WiFi but 3G and 4G networks.
The platform can also clean out your wallet by including digital passes such as boarding passes, tickets, or coupons, which can easily be downloaded from a QR code.
Apple also said goodbye to Google Maps on the iOS 6 platform, switching to the much anticipated “Flyover,” a 3D mapping system designed from the ground up by Apple. The maps will have Siri-integrated directions and include local search features, with more than 100 million businesses on board so far. The mapping system also includes a crowd-sourced generated real time tracking service so users can spot slow traffic and accidents. In turn navigation is reportedly in the works. Maps are featured in beautiful 3D which can be toggled on within the app. A flyover feature shows you your route from the point of view of an airplane. The mapping feature strikes a huge blow to Google, not only breaking its mapping monopoly but likely pulling millions of developers away as well.
IOS 6 also allows for easy integration into Facebook, allowing single-sign on for apps, quick sharing from notifications, synching of contacts, and sharing buttons in the iTunes and App Stores. It allows you to always be logged into Facebook on native apps, and includes a “Tap to Post” to Facebook button as well as a “Tap to Tweet” button for fast sharing connections. Siri also integrates to Facebook, making it possible to say a post instead of typing it.
Apple also released a new MacBook Pro that features a new stunning “Retina” display of 5,184,000 pixels. The device runs on a Core i7 CPU, has seven hours of battery life, and is slightly thinner than its predeccesor. Prices start at $2,199 for a 2.3GHz Core i7, 8GB of RAM and GeForce GT 650.
The MacBook Air line got a boost from Ivy Bridge-class processors from Intel. Graphics are reportedly 60 percent better than the previous version. The device now features solid state drives of up to 512 gigabytes as well as USB 3.0, 10 times faster than its predecessor. Suprisingly, the device will also cost $100 less.