Science & Tech
Let’s talk OS X and iOS at WWDC 2012: Apple unveils iOS 6
Craig Federighi, senior vice president of Apple’s Mac division enters the stage at Apple’s 2012 Worldwide Developers Conference, noting the Mac user base has grown to 66 million users, with 26 million copies of Lion shipping since its release last July. Noting it took Windows 27 months to reach the same milestone.
The new version of OS X, Mountain Lion, will have tight iCloud integration. Today, there are more than 125 million registered members. During a demo, Federighi points to new apps, including Messages, Notes and Reminders, which sync with your iOS devices.
A key new feature of OS X 10.8 is the ability to dictate documents, similar to how you dictate on the iPhone. Federighi jokingly claims it works with Microsoft Word. Another new feature includes Power Nap, which allows your computer to automatically refresh data in sleep mode. Unfortunately, it’s only compatible with second-generation Airs and the new MacBook Pro.
AirPlay for Mac, Federighi notes, is particularly useful in the family room, since you can mirror your Mac’s screen or beam a video to your TV. Alternatively, you can play games on your Mac using AirPlay and your Apple TV. He concludes the demo by stating Mountain Lion ships in July for $19.99.
Putting the i in iOS
Next up, Scott Forstall, SVP of iOS, notes there are over 365 million iOS devices sold through March 30, 2012. Interestingly, more than 80 percent run iOS 5. Forstall more than 7 billion push notifications are sent out every day. And there are 1.5 trillion push notifications since the feature launched.
There are currently 140 million iMessage users, sending a combined total of 150 billion messages, averaging 1 billion messages per day. Twitter has seen a 3x growth in iOS users, given there have been 10 billion tweets from within iOS 5. Less than half – 47 percent – of photos shared on Twitter come from iOS. Surprisingly, Game Center has 130 million users and averages 5 billion scores per week.
Finally, Forstall introduces iOS 6, claiming there are 200 new features. First to bat is Siri, who get’s a much-needed refresh. Using data from Yahoo, Siri tells Forstall the Giants score, along with Buster Posey’s stats. Besides sports, Siri knows more about restaurants now, too. And Siri can finally launch apps on your behalf! Moreover, Siri is coming to the iPad and supports International.
Like Twitter in iOS 5, Apple is offering tight integration with Facebook inside iOS 6. You can enter your login information once, and post within iOS 6. It’s very similar to how Twitter works with the current version. To offset their Ping failure, users can also “Like” apps and iTunes content, such as TV shows. The iOS calendar syncs with Facebook, too, automatically syncing birthdays and events for you.
FaceTime also gets an update – it works over cellular connections, finally! Forstall notes FaceTime unifies your Apple ID and mobile phone number, so you can answer the call on an enabled Mac or iOS device.
Safari accounts for two-thirds of web traffic, which now supports offline reading list. Once you add something to your list, it’s downloaded and cached. Additionally, Safari supports live tab syncing through iCloud. Speaking of iCloud, you can now share photos in your Photo Stream with friends on Facebook.
Mail receives a VIP treatment, allowing you to receive special notifications when certain users send you messages. You can also add photos and videos to your messages from within the app.
Passbook is a new iOS 6 app, which centralizes all of your membership apps in one place. For example, access Target, Fandango, Starbucks, and United from one location. Using your phone as a card and boarding pass became a whole lot easier! Demoed was a Passbook Giants game ticket in lovely bright orange.
A new feature in iOS allows users to lock the device into single-app mode. For example, in classrooms, instructors can lock the device to the test app, so users can’t sneak into Safari to find the answer. It can also be used for guided tours, too.
Maps is an entirely new app from the ground up. Forstall notes the cartography has been built from the ground up with more than 100 million business listings integrated with the app. A new traffic service shows users real-time data about accidents or jams. Like a TomTom or Garmin, the new Maps app provides drivers with turn-by-turn directions.
The new FlyOver 3-D view is amazing, offering a truly scenic view of the world. The rendering is smooth, and surprisingly clear. Additionally, the FlyOver data is real-time, not a “movie” or captured shot, like Google. The new Maps software received quite the reaction by WWDC attendees.
Other features in iOS 6 include the ability to reply with a text message or set a reminder when a call comes in. And if you want to disconnect, a new feature “Do Not Disturb,” will leave you alone based on a set of highly configurable parameters.
Cook concluded the keynote by saying “Only Apple could make such amazing hardware, software and services. They are perfect examples of what Apple does best, and ultimately it's why people come to choose to work at Apple and with Apple. To do the very best work of their lives. To empower people to do great things. To make a difference for so many people in the world."