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Highlights of iOS 6

iOS 6 Logo

Unveiled back in June at the WWDC, the 6th major update for iDevices around the world will be available for download tomorrow! With over 200 new features it’s expected to be the BEST iOS ever! (Well, until iOS 7 at least) … And before it’s out, I managed to get on the developer’s release and have highlighted the key changes to look forward to in tomorrow’s release.

Siri
Siri IconShe’s definitely growing up. Almost a year after initially being introduced in iPhones last year (with the release of the iPhone 4S) Siri has gained more abilities and powers. You’ll now be able to use voice command to launch apps on your phone. You know, if you’re too busy to launch the music player while texting your pal, Siri will take care of that for you – just say the word. Siri will also be able to tweet for you. In under 140 characters, let her know what you want your followers to know and she’ll write it out and confirm with you before sending.

In addition to that Siri will also be able to pull scores of your favourite sports, research movie times and ticket purchases, and even help to get you dinner reservations. She’s actually starting to feel like a real assistant now.

By the way, the iOS 6 update is also the first time you’ll see Siri on the iPad.

Facebook Integration
iOS device users will now be able to fire status updates at ease. Sharing photos and direct links will now be a piece of cake. Facebook integration also integrates with your contacts; and even more surprising is that events and birthdays will also be synced with iDevices’ calendar. Wow!

iOS 6 Facebook Status on iPad and iPhone

Passbook
Passbook IconA new feature that kind of came out of nowhere, is Passbook: the keep-all-your-tickets-in-one application that allows it’s users to keep movie tickets, boarding passes, airline itineraries and special event tickets on your phone. Complete with the ability to store QR codes and 2D Barcodes, you’ll be able to flash the phone, scan and go. This is one application I have yet to figure out exactly how it’s going to work, but the concept is great.

Eyes Free
A cool new term drummed up by Apple’s team of awesomeness actually does what it sounds like it does. Gives drivers the ability to access their iPhones (and Siri) without having to even touch their handsets.

Apple Maps
After a long debate on what to do with the maps application, Apple has finally decides to dump Google maps for their proprietary maps applications, called MAPS. According to Apple, maps will offer turn-by-turn navigation, Siri voice command, search points of interest and even allow you to submit anonymous traffic tips.

iOS 6 Maps Overview

At last week’s keynote event, they even demonstrated the 3D rendering of maps to allow users to feel like Superman as they fly over their favourite cities in a third dimension. While I’m not convinced that maps is going to be better than Google maps, I think it’s going to take some time for this to fully flourish and become accepted. While using the developer’s version I noticed that the 3D was great in the hugely populated cities, but once you got out to farmland all the beauty was gone and you’re looking at a simple map application.

3G for FaceTime
Long gone will be the days where you had to actually wait until you were home and/or connected to a wifi before you could use FaceTime, iOS 6 now allows you to use this feature on your cellular data whether that’s 3G or LTE. Sounds great, but I’d be concerned for those users with less than 1GB of data on their monthly plans. I could see FaceTime racking up serious usage, especially if you’re a heavy user.

iOS FaceTime Sample

Email Goes VIP
There are two big improvements for the iOS email app. First, users will now be able to designate a VIP email inbox which allows you to set ‘favourites’ so that you don’t miss any of their emails and instead will be presented right up front. No having to sift through hundreds of spam to see those messages.

It’s also going to get a lot easier to add attachments to your emails. Instead of having to always use your Photo app to attach an email or file, you’ll have the option to do it right from the mail app in iOS 6. Cool feature that’s taken way too long to make an appearance in iOS.

Safari
A feature that was introduced as part of the OS X 10.8 (Mountain Lion) desktop version of Apple’s operating system introduces and iCloud tab syncing feature. That means that any device(s) using Mountain Lion (and Safari) that were left open, will now be able to be picked up on your iPhone, right where you left off. Basically making it easier for users to move from one Apple device to another. A seamless experience is a better experience.

iOS 6 Safari Sample

This is just scratching the surface of more than 200 new features for iOS 6. Let us know what your thoughts are on iOS 6 on my Facebook page.

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What’s New in Mountain Lion?

Mountain Lion MacsThere has been multiple words published about Mountain Lion since it hit the App Store yesterday, but the most important question people are asking is Mountain Lion worth the upgrade? The answer, yes it definitely is worth every penny (or $19.99 if you really want the exact cost.)

Advertised as containing over 200 new features is the icing on the cake and worth twice the asking price. And while most of the new features are minimal, the featured updates – Gatekeeper, AirPlay Mirroring, Messages (formerly known as iMessages), Facebook (Available in fall 2012), Twitter Integration, Power Nap, Notifications Centre and a refined Safari browser experience make OS X v 10.8 the most secure and efficient operating system that Apple has ever released.

Ever since Mountain Lion was officially announced earlier this year, there’s been a misconception that OS X was going to just like iOS, and while Apple is trying to optimize each of it’s operating systems for the devices they’re intended, there are some blaring similarities, but this is not simply iOS for your desktop computer or notebook.

Sample iCloud ScreenHowever, Mountain Lion does use Apple’s most powerful tool – iCloud. Integration with iCloud is at the forefront of your install – it’s actually the first screen you get after installing a fresh copy of Mountain Lion – but it’s also my favourite part of this update. MobileMe has been completely removed the System Preferences pane – It was nuked at the end of June, so it was time – and now with iCloud, you can easily share calendars, contacts, bookmarks, email, Safari tabs, reminders, notes and much more, much easier than it’s ever been.

Pages Screen ShotDocuments in the Cloud allows you to share, edit and save Pages, Numbers and Keynote documents from any Apple device. In fact, when you go to open a document with the new version of iWork, it will default to iCloud and not to your Mac’s local directory. By using iCloud in this way, you can also access your documents from your iPad and iPhone as well.

Text Edit Screen ShotChanges made to documents are automatically synced through the cloud on all your devices. What’s even better is that other simple applications such as Text Edit, now have an option to save your Simple Text documents straight to the cloud, instead of on your local drive. Making all those field accessible from anywhere, start working on something on your laptop, and then pick up where you left off on your iMac and continue. You don’t even have to remember to save, iCloud will take care of doing that for you.

Messages Screen ShotMessages also arrives on the desktop, which means that I can now send iMessages to my contact list of friends on their iPhones, iPod Touches or iPads without having to grab my iPhone or iPad. The beauty of iCloud is evident here too, since as soon as I setup my iCloud account, all my contacts are automatically placed for use in Messages. It’s really simple.

AirPlay Screen ShotAirPlay was another major one for me … I always like to display my computer on my 60″ HDTV at home, and Mountain Lion has made it much easier with AirPlay Mirroring to Apple TV. You should note that only 2nd and 3rd generation Apple TVs are supported and select MacBooks, iMacs etc, support this feature. Make sure you read the Apple site to confirm that your computer can do it, since the last thing you want is to buy Mountain Lion to use this feature and be disappointed that it doesn’t work for you – I’ve read a few angry reviews about how their system aren’t supported. Should have read the release notes.

The Notifications Center is great too! Provides an easy ‘command centre’ and overview of reminders, calendar events and appointments that are coming up. I also love how fully customizable it is!

Notifications Screen Capture

I could go on and on about all the features that are available with Mountain Lion, but here’s a great post that highlights everything you need to know!

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