The biggest announcement by Apple at its event held earlier this month, apart from the iPhone 5, was iOS 6. The new version of the operating system comes packed with many features and is now officially available for download on the iPhone, iPad and iPod Touch. Apple has dropped iOS 6 support for the first generation iPad.
iOS 6 can be downloaded directly on to your device through an over the air update, or you could let iTunes do your work for you by letting it download the update and install it on your iOS device.
Now available for download
One of the biggest changes to the operating system is the addition of Apple’s own Maps app, which has replaced Google Maps on iOS. The new Maps app has a built-in search for local points of interest, with over 100 million possible suggestions. Other features of the Maps app are navigation, routing, 3D Maps, satellite imagery – that wraps around the 3D Maps – and the ability to get directions directly through Siri.
Speaking of Siri, the virtual assistant has got some updates too. The new Siri update gives it the ability to display scores and rankings of your favourite sports teams, the ability to launch apps directly through Siri, and integration with the movie review aggregation site Rotten Tomatoes.
Safari has also received a major update – the ability to go full screen on the device by touching the arrows on the corners. Another major feature of the new Safari app is the ability to sync tabs between the desktop and iOS versions of Safari. This new feature is called iCloud Tabs. The new Mail app has also received some updates, including the ability to mark people as VIPs and the ability to flag certain mails for follow-ups.
The updates to the Phone app include the ability to send an SMS or iMessage back to your caller if you can’t receive the call.
iOS 6 also includes some new apps. The new Photostream app lets you share and push out any photo with just a few taps. The PassBook app lets you store information like shopping coupons, movie tickets or plane tickets.
Apple had published a list that shows the availability of these features across the world. For example, most of the standard features of the Maps app, including satellite view, are available in almost all countries the iPhone ships to, but you can’t use the Maps app to get directions in a few countries, one of which is India. The list of countries where this feature is available is also quite smaller than that of the standard features. Turn-by-turn navigation, which is quite a localised feature, is also not available in many countries. The most restricted feature appears to be 3D Maps, which is available only in the USA. Traffic view is available in only 23 countries, while Business Reviews and Photos, can be used only in 15 countries. You can use Maps to search locally in 49 countries; this feature too is not available in India.
New features added to Siri are also limited to a few countries. None of the new features are available in India. You can use iOS 6’s Dictation feature in only a few countries too. Some of Siri’s new features such as Facebook and Twitter integration are limited to only a few countries, some of which are Apple’s key markets. Apple has not mentioned if and when it will bring these features to other regions as well.
As it was earlier, people in India still can’t purchase music or movies using iTunes. The new iTunes, while boasting of many new features and increased cloud integration, allows residents over 60 countries to purchase and download music and movies. TV shows on iTunes are available in only six countries.