Update: Apple announces iOS 6 with redesigned Maps, Siri location support for Canada, FaceTime over cellular and new Passbook app

Daniel Bader

June 11, 2012 2:15 pm


We knew it was coming, and Apple has made it official. iOS 6 is coming out later this year with a host of new features, including the aforementioned redesigned Maps app everyone wants to see.

There are now over 365 million iOS devices in the wild, and the vast majority of them are on iOS 5. The numbers are just staggering – 1.5 trillion push notifications have been sent, and there have been 150 billion iMessages sent from 140 million users.

Apple is touting a huge increase in customer satisfaction, too. The market has grown but customer satisfaction hasn’t suffered as a result.

Siri has been updated with lots of new stats, including sports scores, and you can find restaurant reviews through OpenTable. You can even make reservations through the system.

Movie information has also been augmented to include Rotten Tomatoes ratings and movie times in your neighbourhood.

Siri can also open apps — very cool. She’s also able to tweet directly from the prompt, no more hacking the system using a custom text message.

And Local Search for Siri will now be available in Canada!

Eyes Free is a service that Apple is developing in conjunction with top car manufacturers to integrate the system into their custom dashes. Will be very interesting to see how deep the rabbit hole goes with this one. Cars are a very lucrative business.

In addition to amping up Twitter integration (look at the new notification centre icons), Facebook is getting native support in iOS 6. You can tap to Post to Facebook, including pictures, likes, ratings etc. Facebook events such as Birthdays and parties will also be integrated directly into Notification Centre.

If you want to decline a call politely (if in a meeting or out for dinner) you can reply with a preset message or have Siri remind you to call that person back later.

Apple has also added a Do Not Disturb feature to iOS 6 (finally!) which will prevent the screen from lighting up or vibrating (without having to turn Sound off completely). You can schedule it for certain times (bedtime and waking in the morning) and, thankfully, you can allow repeated calls to come through in case of emergency.

Thank the heavens. With the likely release of an LTE iPhone later this year, Apple has pre-empted any complaints that FaceTime doesn’t yet work over cellular connections. This will be added to existing devices, too, which is interesting. Wonder how well it will work on the iPhone 4S which can only do 5.76Mbps upload.

Phone numbers are also getting unified with your Apple ID, so you can receive FaceTime calls on your MacBook if it’s coming through on your phone or iPad.

Mobile Safari is seeing some serious improvements in iOS 6. Not only can you upload to your favourite websites straight from the app (FINALLY!) but you can sync your iCloud tabs (a feature shared with OS X Mountain Lion) to continue your reading on the go.

Fullscreen support is also coming to Mobile Safari in landscape mode, which will go nicely with the 4-inch iPhone released later this year.

Apple has integrated Shared Photo Streams with friends (much like a private Facebook album) so you can share memories of trips and pool together your photos. This is a great idea.

VIPs are being added to the Mail app (Priority Inbox from Gmail, anyone?) to ensure you see the emails from the most important people in your life. This is great.

What’s even greater is pull-to-refresh within the Mail app. Again, finally.

Plus, instead of having to add a photo or video before you begin the mail message, you can now include media in the middle of a composition. We’re not sure exactly how it works just yet, but it’s a great idea.

A new app called Passbook is a way to consolidate all your virtual passes and payment apps into one easy-to-access place. This is a great way to save your airline tickets, Starbucks payments or loyalty cards. The company is partnering with some big brands, though we’re not sure which ones will be compatible in Canada.

Interestingly, Passbook alerts will be viewable right in Notification Center, so we’re worried about excess noise, but we’ll see.

New Accessibility features will be added to iOS 6, including the ability to disable multitasking for kids, and new guided access abilities.

And here we have the new Maps app, including crowdsourced traffic information, turn-by-turn navigation and Siri integration.

Yelp has been added for access to 100 million business listings, too, which will be nice when you’re in a new city and don’t know where to go.

You can make calls directly from the Maps app, and turn on Navigation directly. This mimics Android turn-by-turn navigation abilities pretty closely, though the 3D maps look amazing.

3D satellite maps will be available for both iPhone and iPad and the renders look incredible realistic. Just wow. Also looks like Canadian cities are supported.

The turn-by-turn navigation looks to be powered by TomTom, though there is no branding of any kind.

The Maps app looks to be a killer feature, and really takes some huge Android advantages away from Google. Turn-by-turn has until now been one major purchasing reason to go Android.

Looks like there are a few more major inclusions here, such as “Per account signatures in Mail,” “Lost Mode” for the iPhone, new challenges in Game Centre and Redesigned Stores, whatever that means.

The beta is available now, but it won’t be available for the original iPad. Looks like the rumours are true: the original iPad will not receive iOS 6.

The list of devices that support iOS 6 are: iPhone 3GS, iPhone 4, iPhone 4S, iPad 2, new iPad, iPod Touch (4th Gen).

iOS 6 is going to released “this fall,” likely a day before the debut of the new iPhone, like iOS 5 was last year.

So what do you think? If you’re a current iOS user, are you happy with the updates? Underwhelmed? If you’re an Android, BlackBerry or Windows Phone user, is this really “the world’s most advanced mobile operating system?” Will you upgrade? Let us know in the continuing discussion below.

Update: Apple has listed that Siri will be available in both English and French on their site. In addition, we reached out to Apple Canada for more details to see if the new Siri features will be fully functional for us Canadians. Their answer: “With iOS 6 – Siri will be fully supported in Canada.” So it seems that Canada is finally getting some localized love and we’ll have Siri launch apps, find us movies, find restaurants and make a reservation via OpenTable, plus have the ability to update Facebook and Twitter and use the new Eyes Free feature. – IH

  • Mango

    Big deal … Blackberry 10 will be the next revolutionary OS

    • Aaron

      It better be, or RIM will be going under soon. I am looking forward to it, I would definitely switch to Blackberry.

    • dave

      if i were you, id quit my job at RIM asap. you may be the next to get laid off.

    • RIM?

      RIM?

      When is BB10 coming? Still no date given. Oh right, October/November right? OK what year RIM? Tell me RIM, please tell me RIM, tell me NOW RIM!?

      HAHAHAHA

      RIM?

  • Mike

    Is widgets one of those 200 features?

    • Twitch

      I for one highly doubt it. Apple has the notification center drop down thing for that

    • Brad F

      I think, if anything, Apple will add widget support to the Notification Center. It seems like the kind of thing they’d do, rather than clutter-up their pretty home screen.

  • SheepSix

    But will it include normal emotes yet?

    Probably not.

  • Ingervlog

    Everything so far Mac has made looks awesome but kinda pricy

  • shanedown

    200 features copied straight from Android or are on Android in some shape or form.

    • Dave

      Thanks for the pro-tip!

    • John

      Yes, 200 things poorly implemented on Android that were cleaned up and done properly for iOS.

      That’s what Apple does…they take good ideas that don’t work so good and then they make them work properly. Somebody’s gotta do it.

    • Brad F

      It’s copying some things, and adding others. Either way, it’s good news for people wanting an iPhone.

  • sp

    still trying to compete with Androids ease of use…

    no thanks Apple.

    maybe when you finally are easier to use…maybe…

    • Kwonie

      If you can’t use iOS then there’s seriously something wrong with you XP

  • WSK

    “Reply with Message” was in my Nokia E71 4 years ago.

    • Amanda

      That’s on my 5 year old LG Renoir as well.

  • TheInformant

    Let the FanDroid trolling begin!!!
    All you guys complain about iPhone’s lack of widgets but if they bring widgets, you just bash them for copying Android!!
    And its funny how you talk about iPhone’s ease of use!! iPhone might not be a lot of things but its hella lot easier than Android for an average user!!
    And this comes from an iPhone 4s and Samsung Galaxy s2 Lte user

    • Apple

      hmmm….ok

    • sp

      actually im not bashing without any experience.

      ive had every version of the iPhone since its release. i even sheeped it and went with the 4S from the 4.

      coming from the 4S to the SGS2 was like night and day with ease of use. the only thing i do miss are emoticons but im sure i ll be able to load it up on my SGS2 if i actually cared to try.

      so not trolling, but speaking from experience

    • TheInformantsMom

      I like the iPhone. Being an overweight mother I feel it’s the best. All the other fat moms have it, so I must have it.

      Apple – The number 1 choice of women.

  • ruddias

    These new “features” don’t make me go ‘wow, its great they added that’. It makes me go ‘wait, they didn’t have that before? Pathetic’.

    • Brad F

      “Wait, they didn’t have photo-realistic 3D maps before? Pathetic that it took them this long to be the first ones to do it on a cell phone.”

      Fixed that for you.

  • vengefulspirit99

    Apply copying s**t again…

  • vengefulspirit99

    Apple

  • Shawn

    Facetime over Cellular? I seem to recall having Skype Video and Google Hangout w/ Video working over a year ago.

    • Brad F

      My carrier can barely load a web page over cellular data, I don’t even want to try Facetime on it. I’ll probably get less than 1 frame per *minute*.

    • dstruct2k

      I had Skype video calling over 3G back on my HTC Diamond when the device was only a few months old. This was before the initial release (and maybe even announcement!) of Android, and back when the iPhone actually shipped with Gorilla Glass.

      Guess it’s better late than never though, right Apple?

  • ronll

    As a blackberry person, and addict / enthusiast…. This worries me, why cause it impresses me, 200 new features is amazing. I hope BB10 brings 400 new features otherwise… I just might die (along side RIM)

    • AVPTI

      Of those 200 features. One of them is the ability to log-in to Facebook. Along with a new Clock app, email signatures

      Don’t look at a number and assume all of them are “amazing”

    • Tom

      The way Apple does ‘integration’ it means that they are deciding for you which social network to use.

      Good integration would allow the user to choose.

  • kenypowa

    Welcome to Google Map on Android 2009, Apple.

    • Brad F

      Android’s Google Maps had photo-realistic 3D maps in 2009? Then why were they holding an event last week to announce the same thing coming out “later this year”?

  • David

    Not bashing on iOS, but I just can’t imagine buying an iPhone until a big overhaul of the desktop is made. My desktop consists of only a few basic widgets (weather, time, email, calendar and battery %). I like things clean. An app drawer is, for me, an absolute must!

    • Apple

      But dont you know you can make folders for unused apps then your homescreen is cluttered with folders that are cluttered with apps inside them…..brilliant!

    • David

      Yes, I know. Then your desktop gets cloggued with folders as it’s not possible to create something like a “master folder” and then subfolders… not that brilliant! ;)

  • joe

    over 200 new features and yet… none of them excite me. seriously i was more excited about android 2.3.4 than ios 6. and 2.3.4 was as boring as hell

  • ECBomb

    I’m overwhelmed and underwhelmed at the same time.

    Overwhelmed by the amount of integration between apps (hurts my head trying to sort it out)

    Underwhelmed by what most people wanted (but was not included): a better notification screen and quick settings

    With all the Maps, push notifications, constant location based data the phone will be tracking, I really worry how the battery life is going to be affected…they’re adding so many tasks to make the phone do more things, but the battery capacity isn’t getting any bigger (for the 3GS, 4, and 4S).

  • shaggyskunk

    Great for Apple & Great for Android! It’s pretty amazing that all the people squawking about the absence of competition in the Telecom industry, are too busy slamming apple to recognise that the more that Apple pushes, the better for Android!

  • cody

    I was really hoping I’d be impressed, but yet again I’m left disappointed. Looks like my next phone will run Android JB

  • EvanKr

    No widgets? No thanks!

  • :(

    except for passbook and ability to answer calls in ipad. nothing different.

  • a huge fanboy

    android should also make their motto “the world’s most advanced mobile operating system” just to point out how stupid it is of apple to say that

  • Albert

    Literally a three year old device, iPhone 3GS will be getting the newest iOS 6. Here is where Android fails. Bunch of Android devices from only last year are not even getting (or still don’t have) ICS. It’s true so you can’t disagree with this.

    • a huge fanboy

      lol you’re dumb, do you actually think the 3GS will have all the features in iOS 6 that the 4S or new iphone this year will have? It won’t even be close.

      That’s like releasing ICS to all androids but taking out half the features to all devices over a year old. Same exact thing.
      And if you haven any intelligence at all you can flash custom ROMS of ICS onto your android that work seamlessly, AND with all the features.

  • Briggs

    Meh. The section on the macbook was better.

  • LeDerp

    underwhelming.

    copy paste
    google maps/nav
    priority mail inbox
    chrome synch
    text reponse on call from ICS

    INNOVATE, BRO

  • joe

    Wow looks like apple is trying to catch up with real smartphones but still along way from being just an app launcher all it is is a nintendo ds just to use for apps what a waste of a phone

  • Kid.Canada

    No settings toggles in the notifications center??? I was waiting for that feature so bad. One of the top requested feature for ios users has been forgotten… -_-

  • jeorge

    omg i love apple finally they are can copy some features off from android..

  • ANDROIDDESTROYER666

    Two words for your Android fanboys.

    ‘Battery Life’

    • guy23

      yes because you know the battery life of an iphone 5 that is not out yet. great two words

    • E

      Sixteen words for you:

      My Galaxy Nexus gets three to five days of battery life with medium to heavy usage.

    • techie

      My 4S was so great wit hall notifcations off location services off push notifcations off run set up as new from iTunes so that i didn’t have to watch my battery depleted before my eyes.. Get outta here my SGS2 last the full day i had to swicth back to a 4

  • DWang

    Android may have a whole lot of features but much of them are half finished and beta like. Although apple may be lagging behind in the number of features, at least they get it done right and with a really smooth OS and ease of use.
    I can say this confidently after using both an sii and a gnex.

    • ToEachTheirOwn

      UMMMMM… i dont think you used your gnex or sii right then.. lawl!!

  • Manbo

    It’s cool that Apple is finally adding much needed functionality, but if they start launching patents/lawsuits for these features I think everyone should just boycott them. (Not that people would actually boycott Apple, as they can do no wrong.)

  • Pewz

    iOS 6 is rather dissappointing, this is coming from someone who has an iPhone 4s which I am happy about. I do like my the iPhone products but they’re falling behind in their OS. Nothing new was brought to the table. And it’s about time Siri works in Canada.

    iMaps is nothing new, way to FINALLY catch up Apple. And do people SERIOUSLY need a guide on how their apple product works? It’s i***t proof, you can’t do anything! It’s about time Passbook was here, it will help accelerate NFC development as the mass of iSheeps will want to make use of it.

    Oh and with iOS 6 you get the convenience of rejecting your loved ones calls and sending them a sms, but with the new Find Friends app you can stalk them to see if they’re lying! – Just kidding, although I see little use for Find Friends app, I wouldn’t have it turned on, I don’t want people stalking my every movement…

    Windows 8 Please come faster!!

  • rye&ginger

    Passbook is maybe the only unique feature. The rest borrow from WM and Android.

    Pissed of that iPad 2 can’t get Siri. It would have allowed one hand use. Now I may sell it and go Android for a tablet.

    • Pewz

      According to apple.ca iOS 6 will be compatible with iPad 2, not sure about Siri though

    • Brad F

      Yeah, Siri requires some specific processing chips only found in the new iPad and iPhone 4S. You can’t exactly give a device new hardware through a software update.

    • Apple = Rip-off

      Passbook is a rip-off of BlackBerry Travel.
      But Apple will advertise it as magical and innovative… a real game changer (rolls eyes)

  • andy c

    as others have mentioned apple just caught upto android on a hand full of features.

    hopfully wp8 will catch up feature wise this fall so we can properly compare how the OS works instead of looking at a feature checklist.

  • Somebody

    Big revolution by Apple this is, ios is called ios6 now instead of ios5.

    Reply with Message when you can’t answer a call…..Wow, great that was soo funny.

  • kris

    lol at dropping google maps for tom tom powered maps- good luck with map updates

  • JC Fung

    The biggest loser for iOS 6 will be the “Key Ring” app. Apple’s Passbook has pulled the rug from under them.

  • Somebody

    So siri now can open apps,
    Thats the reason Apple wants to bann Galaxy S3, telling they had the feature before, Samusng came with it to North America.

  • Someguy

    Yes, these are new features, but only to Apple users, not to World.

    • Brad F

      Not new to the world? Oh, well, in that case you might be able to help me out. You see, I’ve got this new Galaxy S III with S-Voice, and I’m trying to find the S-Voice button in my car, but I just can’t seem to find it. Do you know where it is? I mean, obviously, since the whole world has had this for decades and nothing announced today is new, this S-Voice feature on my phone must have a button somewhere in my car? If not, I know there’s a similar feature called Vlingo? Where can I find that button in my vehicle?

  • Jono

    No update to YouTube app????? :(

  • mattprime86

    An OS voice app that opens other apps?! Say it ain’t so!

  • gurtej08

    People are actually going crazy about a map application by Apple? You have got to be kidding me. RIM and Android phones have had great map/slash navigation apps for a while but just because Apple releases one that has better visuals people are going nuts. I guess that’s what happens when it takes Apple 6 iterations of ios to finally get there own map app.

    • gurtej08

      LOLLL I actually wrote slash. hahahahaa

    • Brad F

      I’m not sure if you’ve ever met someone over 35 before, but they have a hard time understanding most colourless 2D representations of the real world they’re seeing outside their windshield. Making the navigation screen look more like what they’re seeing outside their windows is going to make it *usable* for them.

    • Sohail Ali

      you must be using siri lol ..

  • Eric

    Looks great an all but I feel like some stuff is just copied off of android? Like the msg reply feature.

  • Ann

    iOS6 = YAWN…..I hope Android and BlackBerry 10 knocks out Apple for good! I mean seriously, now Siri is gonna work in Canada?? It took Apple that long? Meanwhile the Samsung Galaxy S3 which will be out next week has S Voice and guess what?, it works in Canada! Epic fail for Apple. And Apple will NOT stop the sales of the S3 in the US.

  • nik

    Classic BS from Apple… Love my Galaxy Nexus even more today :)

  • aregularonhofo

    Samsung has intentions of buying RIM regardless what you hear in the media…negotions are underway.

  • Kevin

    Blackberry 10? Yeah ok, maybe the ‘Palm Pilot fever’. The only reason you have your android is because it was free, my condolences to those who paid for one.

  • Richard

    90% of blackberry users want an iphone. Just watched a desperate commercial. Apple catching up to android just one more cubic yard of cement in RIM’s grave.

  • roger

    ios 6 is the same as ios5 and 4……bb10 is revolutionary

  • Adam

    Looks like a lot of Android features were added to iOS, notably reply with text, maps with navigation, 3d maps, in addition to the long list of other mimicked features. The big win for Apple is the integration of hardware + software..when the next iPhone launches I’m sure this will be a big hit.

  • Apple = Snake Oil salesman

    This changes everything: “Single-app mode” Haha.
    The ability to run only one app at a time. No multitasking.
    Wow, that is magical. LMFAO

  • iSheep

    So who was the first to make an All Touch Screen Phone? Apple was… Who was the first to make a Desktop Class OS? Apple was… Who innovated the Mobile Phone World to inspire other Competitors to make what we have now? Apple was…
    So who copied Apple in making an All Touch Screen Phone with a Desktop Like OS? Where did Widgets come from? Mac OS had the First Widgets and Microsoft later on decided to add that into Windows. Android copied the Widgets from Mac OS and Windows and put that onto their OS…

    Android is definitely one of the best if not the best OS out there right now for Mobile Phones. But they just create an OS, that’s all. They aren’t the ones who actually produce their own phone, they get Manufacturers like LG, Samsung, HTC to make their “Google Branded” phones. They’re like Microsoft who has Windows OS and sells it to Manufacturers like Asus, HP, Samsung, Dell, Acer, Toshiba, etc… They don’t have to worry as much as Apple does since they only need to focus on a single OS and not the actual device itself. They can keep releasing new Android Firmwares but then the Manufacturers need to Tweak that and make it their own. After that Carriers want in on it and decide to Tweak what the Manufacturer has Tweaked! How many phones right now have the latest ICS Firmware, 15%?

    I’m an iSheep so all I say is meaningless. Bash me all you want! <3

    • Jordan

      The iPhone wasn’t the first full touch screen phone.

  • Jeff

    Wow, what an android fanboy site this must be.

  • Phil h

    Im on ios 5.1.1 on a 4s and it still can’t cut n paste propperly all the time. It either copy’s too much, or won’t copy more than one word.
    I hope this basic function is fixed in ios 6.
    I hope iOS 6 still has street view, or we can have the option to keep google maps.