iOS 6, your cup runneth over. The new future brain of your iPhone and iPad is lovelier than ever.
A new Share screen
In iOS 5, when you tap to share a photo, you get a long list of sharing actions to choose from—whether it’s posting to Twitter, sending an email or iMessage, or some other option. iOS 6 adds Facebook sharing as an option, along with sharing to various Chinese social networks. But Apple decided against cramming more buttons into that panel.
Instead, iOS 6 presents you with a new, icon-based sharing screen. It uses icons to represent the apps and services that you can share your content with and looks quite a bit like the iPhone’s home screen.
New Siri functionality
Flagship features added to Siri include the voice-driven personal assistant’s arrival on the third-generation iPad. Siri also gains the ability to answer questions about sports and movies in iOS 6, and it will be integrated with turn-by-turn directions in Maps. But the virtual assistant gains several other new features as well that might have escaped your attention.
In iOS 6, you’ll be able to compose new tweets and Facebook status updates with Siri—and both capabilities appear to be implemented smartly: If you link your friends’ Twitter usernames to their Contacts entries, Siri automatically translates their real names as you dictate. That is, if I say, “Tweet ‘Excellent dinner last night with Shahim Khan, Shahid Shaikh, and Maged Ragaei,’” Siri will automatically compose a tweet like “Excellent dinner last night with @skhan, @sshaikh, and @maged.”
On the new iPad, Siri can answer questions about weather and stocks, even though Apple hasn’t (yet) ported its Weather and Stocks apps to the iPad. Apple did show a glimpse of a new default Clock app for the iPad, so we won’t be shocked if Stocks and Weather finally make the leap to the big screen before iOS 6’s official release, too.
If you have lots of apps, sometimes it’s hard to figure out precisely which homescreen they’re located on. In iOS 6, Spotlight makes that at least a smidgen easier, by listing the name of the folder a particular app is nestled inside when it appears in the search results.
Apple introduced the Reminders app in iOS 5, and it looks to score some helpful updates in iOS 6. Apple says that you’ll be able to set location-based reminders from the iPad. Even better, you’ll be able to tap in addresses where you’d like to be reminded manually, a feature currently missing from Reminders; at present, you can only set reminders for locations linked to addresses for your existing contacts.
Also new in Reminders will be the ability to reorder your tasks as desired. And Apple told developers that iOS 6 includes a new Reminders API, which should make it possible for third-party apps to integrate with the Reminders database. That means that you could use Siri to set Reminders which would in turn be visible in your third-party task management app of choice.
Sometimes, you can’t take a call when your iPhone starts ringing. You can already quickly send a call to voicemail by tapping the Ignore button, but iOS 6 adds more powerful options for when you’re too busy to answer. When your phone rings, you’ll see a button on the screen akin to the new camera shortcut on the lock screen in iOS 5.1—a switch that you slide up to trigger.
When you do so, you’ll see options to send the caller a message, or to remind yourself to call the person back later. If you choose to send a message, iOS offers several default options; you can also save custom responses. Your iPhone will then attempt to iMessage or SMS the caller with your note, while also sending them straight to your voicemail.
Other features for developers include audio and video sampling during playback, Pass Kit (for interacting with Passbook), VoiceOver gestures, the ability to control camera focus and exposure, a Web Audio API, Game Center in-app experience, game groups, video stabilization, frame drop data, pull-to-refresh on Table views, a means of supporting in-app purchases of iTunes Store-hosted content, in-app Bluetooth pairing, remote Web Inspector, rich text on label fields and text views, CSS filters, crossfade with CSS animations, and a face detection API.
But what about the unsung stuff? Here are the coolest quiet additions.
Wake up to a song
Marimba gets a little stale. Now you can select any song on your iPhone as an alarm from within the Clock app. Ride of the Valkyries works well, as does anything by Waka Flocka. Beach House and Fiona Apple aren’t quite as conducive to getting your ass out of bed. There have been apps offering this for years, but now it’s built in, and built in is better.
This one’s simple: there’s now a list in settings of all the apps that have requested access to your location, contacts, calendars, reminders, and photos. Turn on or off access as you see fit.
Your (weird) words saved in the cloud
If you repeatedly use a word that’s not in Apple’s standard dictionary—like “basketball face,” or calling your girlfriend “squeezybooty,” your phone will stop trying to correct you and just add it to the list of real words. Now this list of all your slang, inside jokes, and abbreviations, will be stored on iCloud forever, across devices.
A modern iPod
The Music app ditched its old skin for a darker, simpler, monochromatic getup. It functions the exact same, but steps closer to OS X in appearance. Maybe you’ll like it more than the old look—if not, you’ll quickly forget what the old look looked like, anyway.
Bonus: Remodeled iTunes/App Stores
Talk about stale! The stores on your phone were never easy to get around: too many lists, too many sections, too much scrolling. In iOS 6 they get a chic makeover, highly reminiscent of the glamorous Apple TV storefront. The new stores also add clever horizontal scrolling through lists and categories, which is less of a pain and allows for a more digestible spread of information on a non-television screen. Featured albums, apps, videos, and the like are all sorted together with big eye-easy graphics. It won’t cost you any less, but you’ll spend less sanity on your downloads.
Tons of new emoji
All emoji are good emoji. And the old iOS 5 set was pretty great. But just look at the artistry and detail in each of these teeny tiny animals. Notice the chicken’s softly shaded feathers. The poodle’s regal pose. That blow fish! Now return to your old iOS 5 emoji animals—they basically resemble balloon animal heads with beaks.
App update history
As part of its total overhaul to the App Store, The Big A is introducing a complete history of updates for every app, so you can see, for example, precisely when the Orange Bird was added to Angry Birds Seasons.
New app banners
Your iOS Home screen now wraps a dashing “New” sash over recently downloaded apps, reminding forgetful features editors to actually, you know, play their newly purchased games.
Pull to refresh in mail
A tiny bit of UI magic, made popular by Twitter apps. To refresh your inbox, just drag the list down and then ping it back. Developers can borrow the feature for their apps.
The IP address tap has almost completely run dry, so the web is anxiously moving to IPv6 – a system with 340 trillion trillion trillion addresses to share. iOS 6 adds support for these new 128-bit locators.
You can now set a separate email signature for each account on your device. Plus, use bold, italic, and underline to really emphasise that this email was sent from your iPhone.
Retina shutdown spinner
Okay, one more. A bonus, for the most pedantic of the pedants. For the most eagle-eyed observer. The little spinning icon that appears when you shut down your device is finally Retina enabled. Best. Feature. Ever.
New Clock app
The iPad now has a new Clock app of its own.
It’s been one the big questions hanging over WWDC — will Apple actually toss Google to the side and launch it’s own mapping service specifically for iOS? Well, it’s not a question any more, but a cold hard fact. Apple’s mapping solution is here, taking over where Google left off. The move is hardly shocking since Apple has already confirmed that it’s been working on a traffic database and snatched up a number of mapping companies. Besides, it’s not like Cupertino and Mountain View are the best of buds right now. Maps includes all of the features you’ve come to expect from the previous iOS solution, but with a number of enhancements. This all new mapping solution includes 100 million different business listings, Yelp integration and, biggest of all, turn-by-turn navigation. The app does use anonymously collected data to populate traffic information and any rerouting is brought to your attention with a pop-up notification.
The story isn’t done yet, though. The maps are even rendered in full 3D, not unlike what Google announced last week. (And the news was delivered in a way that made it clear Apple think’s they’ve one upped their former map app provider.) The whole demo — flipping through business listings, flying around in 3D and navigating labyrinth-like city streets — was performed on one of those shiny new iPads… you know, the ones that are getting Siri support soon. Which, if you haven’t figured out yet, plays quite nicely with the new Maps app as we saw in the demo. Ask Siri to find a gas station on your route or how much longer you’ll be on the road and the pleasantly robotic voice gets you the relevant info.
As expected, Apple announced the new iPhone and named it iPhone 5. The design is quite similar to iPhone 4S with more luxurious look and accents.
Apple announced that this will be sleeker, thinner and lighter iPhone than the earlier one.
The announced features for the new device are:
- “It’s made entirely of glass and aluminium.”
- “It’s the thinnest phone we’ve ever made, and the lightest.”
- 18% thinner than iPhone 4S, 7.6 mm
- 20% lighter than the 4S, 112 grams
- Retina display, 326 PPI, 1136 x 640 screen resolution, 16:9 aspect ratio
- “The new screen on iPhone 5 is a 4 inch display.”
- 44% more color saturation
- “We’ve added HSPA+, DC-HSDPA, and yes… LTE.”
- “There’s now a single chip for voice and data, and a single radio chip.”
- The Apple A6 chip - ”Compared to the A5, it’s two times faster… but 22% smaller.”
- Battery exceeding the one in iPhone 4S. 225 hours in standby, 8 hours 3G talk time.
- Camera: 8mp, backside illuminated, hybrid IR filter, Dynamic low light mode, precision lens alignment, sapphire crystal.
- The most amazing new feature in the iPhone 5 is called panorama - It’s panorama mode.
- 1080p video, improved video stability, face detection — you can take photos while shooting video.
- Three microphones, bottom, front, and back.
Can’t wait to see Apple stocks going higher
Not Windows. Not Office. Microsoft.
Think about that.
The iPhone did not exist five years ago. And now it’s bigger than a company that, 15 years ago, was dragged into court and threatened with forcible break-up because it had amassed an unassailable and unthinkably profitable monopoly.
The iPhone also appears to be considerably more profitable than Microsoft.
In the December quarter, Apple’s iPhone business generated $24.4 billion of revenue. Microsoft’s whole company, meanwhile, from Windows to Office to servers to XBox, generated $20.9 billion.
If we assume that Apple generates the same operating profit margin on its iPhone business that it generates on its overall business–38%–the iPhone business generated about $9.3 billion of profit in the December quarter.
All of Microsoft, meanwhile, generated only $8.2 billion.
It was not long ago that Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer was fending off those observing that Apple’s market capitalization was closing in on Microsoft’s by saying that, regardless of market cap, Microsoft’s business was much bigger and more profitable.
Now, Apple’s business (in Q4) is more than twice the size of Microsoft’s–$46 billion to $21 billion–and more than twice as profitable: $17 billion to $8 billion.
And, needless to say, Apple’s market cap now dwarfs Microsoft’s. (Although, interestingly, Apple’s market cap is not yet 2X Microsoft’s, despite the difference in revenue, profitability, and growth rates. The market still appears to be concerned that Apple’s “closed system” is vulnerable to the same sort of disruption by Android and other more open systems that Apple’s Mac business was back in the 1990s).
What’s just as remarkable here is that Apple invented the iPhone business out of thin air in 2007. This is not an old product category. It’s a completely new one. Which means that Microsoft or anyone else could have invented it.
(The same can be said for the more recently introduced iPad, which is now cleaning Microsoft’s clock in that category, too.)
For the first decade of Steve Ballmer’s reign at Microsoft, some folks cut him a break for the company’s stagnant stock price by observing that the market had changed. But the market changed for Apple, too, and Apple innovated two huge new product lines, one of which is now bigger and more profitable than Microsoft’s entire business. So Steve can’t be cut a break for that anymore.
Microsoft just plain missed these markets (iPhone and iPad). And Apple created them. And it turns out that, at least for now, they are much more valuable and lucrative markets than the ones Microsoft dominated.
The other mistake Microsoft made, one that ultimately could be far more devastating, is that it became obsessed with the wrong competitor.
For the past decade, Microsoft has obsessively targeted Google as Enemy No. 1, blowing more than $10 billion trying to compete with Google’s amazing search engine.
Microsoft has made some progress, but not much–and it is still losing $2 billion a year on the effort. And, meanwhile, a once-forgotten company has blown past it in business lines that much closer and more threatening to Microsoft’s core businesses–Apple.
Microsoft still has a strong hold on the enterprise market, and it may now be able to rededicate itself to that market and try to withstand the Apple and Google onslaught.
But regardless of what happens, Microsoft can only now look up in awe and realize that a product that was introduced 5 years ago and that Steve Ballmer famously dissed is now larger and more profitable than Microsoft’s whole company.
Analyzing last year’s smartphone market, NPD found that iOS’s share surged to 43 percent in October and November from just 26 percent in the third quarter, thanks largely to demand for the iPhone 4S. Though Google’s mobile OS maintained its lead, its share dropped in October and November to 47 percent from 60 percent in the previous quarter.
With Apple and Android vying for the top spot, other smartphone players have lagged far behind, "turning the OS battle into a two-horse race," according to NPD.
In third place was RIM’s OS, which steadily dropped market share over the past 12 months, falling from 19 percent in the fourth quarter of 2010 to just 6 percent in October and November of last year. Microsoft’s Windows Mobile and Windows Phone 7 also struggled, each grabbing around 1 percent of the market toward the end of the year.
Microsoft is counting on Nokia to give Windows Phone a much-needed shot in the arm. The Finnish phone maker unveiled its new Lumia 900 at CES yesterday. Slated for AT&T, the Lumia 900 is Nokia’s first 4G LTE device to sport the Windows Phone OS.
Some analysts believe Windows Phone could climb its way to third place in the global smartphone arena ahead of RIM, helping both Microsoft and Nokia. Credit Suisse analyst Kulbinder Garcha sees Windows Phone as the key to reviving Nokia’s sluggish sales and falling market share. But both companies face an uphill battle in a landscape currently sewn up by iOS and Android.
Apple has seeded a new beta this afternoon for iOS 5.1 to registered developers in the iOS Dev Center. Those that have been running the second iOS 5.1 beta can download this newest update through iOS 5?s over-the-air update feature in the Settings app.
While iOS 5.1 beta 3 (Build 9B5141a) doesn’t seem to bring anything particularly revolutionary to the table, it appears that the “Enable 3G” toggle has been enabled for quickly disabling 3G data.
The toggle was removed with the release of iOS 5.0, but Apple has seen to adding it back in this latest beta. The setting can be found under Settings > Network on pre-iOS 5 and 5.1 beta 3 software. When you turn off 3G data, you will be placed on your carrier’s 2G/EDGE network. While data speeds will become considerably slower, your iPhone’s battery will last longer.
Apple has also introduced some API improvements to help developers designate certain app files that should not be backed up by the system. Xcode 4.3 Developer Preview 3 and Apple TV 5.1 beta 2 have also been seeded. Apple asks developers to test AirPlay with their iOS 5.1 apps.
iOS 5.1 beta 2 was released on December 12th, 2011. 5.1 beta 3 expires on Wednesday, March 14th.
Apple’s next-generation smartphone has beaten out its larger scaled sibling the iPad with the Apple iPhone 5 officially announced as the most eagerly awaited gadget of 2012.
Following a survey of 1,916 members of the British public carried out by leading discount website MyVoucherCode Apple’s market dominating portable gadgets have proved the most eagerly anticipated with 74 per cent of those questioned stating they were looking forward to the launch of the iPhone 5.
With the potential consumers able to select more than one device Apple locked out second spot with the upcoming iPad 3 awaited by 71 per cent of those questioned. Nintendo’s Wii follow-on theNintendo Wii U rounded out the top three of the best gadgets set to land in 2012 followed by the first own branded Google tablet and Apple iTV.
“It’s interesting to see which products are topping the list, and it’s perhaps unsurprising to see two Apple products up there,” said Mark Pearson, Chairman of MyVoucherCodes.co.uk. “The world of technology is ever-changing, so there is always something new that consumers are looking for.
“Products such as the iPhone and iPad are always going to be popular, but the release of the Wii U looks set to be a big hit as it’s the first real upgrade that the console has had.”
Already available in the US the UK arrival of the Amazon Kindle Fire is the sixth most awaited tech launch of the year followed by the Sony PS Vita, Samsung Galaxy S3 and Google TV in spots seven through to nine respectively. Intel Ultrabooks completed the top 10.
That new and improved antenna in the iPhone 4S is apparently helping its users download gobs of data. In fact, according to a new report from network management firm Arieso, iPhone 4S owners use twice as much data as their iPhone 4-using brethren, and nearly three times as much as iPhone 3G users. The data is part of an overall trend of growing data usage among smartphone owners, with Arieso warning that data congestion issues among cell networks will worsen throughout 2012.
Arieso used the iPhone 3G as its baseline for comparison throughout 2011, just as it did for its study in 2010. iPhone 4S users downloaded 276 percent of the data used by iPhone 3G users, and uploaded 320 percent. A couple of Android phones made an appearance in the list too, with the Samsung Galaxy S downloading 199 percent of the data used by iPhone 3Gs. The Galaxy S didn’t make a showing in the uplink list, but the HTC Desire S did, at 323 percent of the data uploaded by iPhone 3G users. Clearly, the smartphone owners of 2011 are making an effort to watch as many cat videos on YouTube as they possibly can.
In addition to the smartphone data, Arieso pointed out that overall data use is increasing dramatically, and the top one percent of smartphone users now consume half of all downloaded data. "Without adequately preparing networks to support the new generation of smart devices, operators risk spiralling and misplaced operational expenditure and delivering a sub-par quality of experience to customers," Arieso CTO and the study’s author Dr. Michael Flanagan said in a statement. "It’s critical that operators redouble their efforts to limit the impact of this inevitable squeeze."