WWDC 2012: Post Event Report
Apple unveiled its next generation operating system, iOS 6, at its annual Worldwide Developer Conference, introducing over 200 enhancements. Some of the features are minor tweaks, such as better integration of third party sources into Siri, but others are brand new – such as a new mapping application, which according to Apple is an entirely new system built from the ground up.
Users will get access to 2D and 3D mapping, as well as a flyover feature that allows users to get a three-dimensional bird’s eye view of buildings. Other enhancements to Maps include turn-by-turn navigation and integration with Siri, which can now provide estimated time of arrival, or the location of the nearest gas station.
Facebook will also be better integrated into iOS 6, which will allow users to post to Facebook from Safari, Maps and Photos, and ‘like’ apps and content on the iTunes store. Apple is providing a public API (application programming interface) for the integration with Facebook, so applications developers will be able to build similar types of integration into their iOS apps.
As part of the iOS 6 upgrade, Apple has also introduced several enhanced call and text handling features. Users will be able to set a “do not disturb” mode on their phones, which turns off the phone’s notification for calls and text and alerts the caller with a ‘busy’ note. Incoming calls can be automatically replied to with a preset text – a feature already available on some phones, but not on iOS.
Apple however adds the option to set an automatic reminder to return an ignored call. Lastly, Apple said iOS 6 will support FaceTime, the company’s video call application currently available only over WiFi, over cellular networks.
iOS 6 is expected to be commercially available from September onwards. – www.commsday.com
Ovum’s chief telecoms analyst Jan Dawson thought that the iOS user interface was, “beginning to show its age.” He explained that, “Proper support for widgets (including third party widgets), whether in the Notification Centre or the main screen, is critical.”
It’s also time for Apple to start to play nicer with other mobile operating systems, adding a broader set of APIs to allow better cross-app interaction which is already possible for Android.
Besides this, maps in iOS6 replaces third-party map service from Google, but without their OWN compelling services in the areas of Web search, social networking or email, contacts and calendar, Dawson said, “Apple’s users will become increasingly ingrained in third party services which may be better supported in other platforms.” There is risk of losing users to these other platforms which deliver better experience of these services which users find core and essential.
Already, an IDG survey discovers that 44-percent of potential tablet buyers are considering Android instead of the iPad.
In the television space
Apple also announced several new products and advancements to existing lines from across its portfolio of smart devices.
Dawson also opined, “To maintain its impressive performance, Apple needs to do two things in the TV space. Firstly, create a subscription model that combines the back catalogue of Netflix with the timely content of Hulu for a single price. Secondly, it should create a software development kit followed by an App Store for the Apple TV device to allow third party apps to proliferate there as they have on the iPhone and iPad.
He added, “What it does not need to do is launch a television set.”