As expected, during yesterday’s WWDC 2012 keynote Apple unveiled iOS 6, which will be releasing in the fall alongside the new iPhone. During the keynote, Apple announced a lot of new features in iOS 6, most of which were not surprising. Features like Facebook integration, Do Not Disturb for notifications, improvements to Siri, and the new Maps app had been predicted for some time. Others, like Passbook and enhancements to the Phone app were unexpected.
Whether expected or unexpected, though, the features highlighted during yesterday’s keynote were only a fraction of the over 200 new features Apple is bringing to the iOS platform with iOS 6. Today, courtesy of a source with access to the iOS 6 beta, we can bring you some screen shots of some of those features as found on the iPad. Combined with what Apple announced yesterday, these new features show that Apple really does pay attention to customer feedback, and have added some of the features that we’ve been wanting (and getting from Cydia, in some cases) for years. That being the case, some of you may no longer feel the need to jailbreak once iOS 6 ships. If, on the other hand, you’re like me and most of your jailbreak modifications have focused on the Notification Center, you’ll still want that jailbreak. There are lots of new features in iOS 6, but a lot was left out, as well. Here’s what my source had to say:
iOS 6 is definitely a welcome change for all of the small missing features from iOS 5 that required a jailbreak in order to use. It is more stable and polished for the user. However I feel that they left out some key features and components in this update such as third party apis for the notification center (It’s still a semi-useless hub), a dedicated weather app (Who wouldn’t want to know the weather or dock their iPad as an alarm clock and wake up to the weather), And more functionality for Siri. This is still a beta but I don’t forsee Apple adding any new feature in this update.
So, if you’re like me and most of your jailbreak tweaks deal with notification center (IntelliScreenX almost makes your jailbreak worth it all by itself), then iOS 6 might not quite be everything that you hoped it would be. Nevertheless, it’s a major improvement over iOS 5 in a lot of ways.
But enough talk. On to the screenshots!
To start off with, here’s the iPad’s new Clock app in action. Though there’s no weather app (a fact that still boggles the mind), you can get an extremely basic weather report for locations you’ve got set up in the world clock:
Now when you update an app from the App Store, iOS is kind enough to show you which apps have been updated by slapping a “New” banner across the corner of their icons on the home screen:
Speaking of the App Store, it’s gotten quite a makeover. The whole experience looks a lot smoother, and it includes a redesigned front page, much more efficiently displayed search results, an app preview screen that’s looks like what you see in the iBookstore, and, best of all, full-screen app screenshot previews:
Next is Siri. Apple showed off some of the enhancements to Siri during yesterday’s keynote. Here’s a shot of what she looks line in action on the iPad:
Apple’s new Maps app is another feature that looks pretty impressive on the iPad. The 3D rendering is nothing short of amazing, even though the odds are good it isn’t available for your city just yet.
As noted above, there’s not a lot new with the notification center, so if you were hoping for an IntelliScreenX or even an NCSettings kind of upgrade (and to be honest, I really was), then there’s not that much here for you. The social sharing buttons are pretty awesome, that’s for sure, but there’s still so much that Apple could do with this feature to make it vastly more useful.
That little moon you can see beside the clock, by the way, is your indication that the Do Not Disturb feature has been turned on.
As I said above, iOS 6 includes some features that users have been asking for for years. If you use Bluetooth on your iOS device, you know what a hassle it can be to turn it on and off. If you want to turn Bluetooth off to save battery life (an absolute must, especially if you’re an iPhone 4S owner), then you’ve had to dig through four levels of menus in the Settings app, which is a major pain in the posterior. Now, at long last, iOS 6 makes that process simpler by putting the Bluetooth menu directly beneath the Wi-Fi menu at the top of the first page of the Settings app. And there was much rejoicing:
Sharing options have gotten quite a boost in iOS 6, too. Of course, sharing to Facebook has been added, but the whole sharing menu has gotten a much-needed facelift. Gone are the wide, boring buttons that just list your sharing options. Now the sharing menu shows you a grid of app icons (or app-like icons for system options) showing you what all you can do with a photo…
…or a website in Safari
So, all in all, iOS 6 is pretty darn impressive. There’s lots of stuff here to be excited about, and only a little to be disappointed about. Notification Center APIs would have been nice, as would a few other Notification Center improvements. Siri APIs would also have been nice, to put it mildly. Nevertheless, iOS 6 sports a lot of new features that will dramatically improve the iOS experience.