Sure, everybody is talking about the new iPhone. Maybe you’ve already pre-ordered yours and are line-sitting at your own front door, waiting for it to be delivered. But what about the iPad? Today, at approximately 10:00 a.m. PDT, Apple will release an update to the iPad’s mobile operating system that will essentially turn it into a brand new device. If you have a second or third-generation iPad, you’re about to get a whole lot of fun new features. Sorry original iPad owners, you don’t get to upgrade. For everyone else, here is a rundown of what you’ll get with the new iOS 6 update.
Maps App– Probably the biggest change to iOS is Apple’s proprietary Maps app. We’ve talked about this feature a lot lately. Not only will the familiar Google Maps be gone, but Apple added turn-by-turn navigation, 3D viewing, and Flyover. The maps app will also update you with current traffic conditions and reroute you if you get stuck behind a car accident.
Siri– Of course, many of us with less than the current-generation iPhone (the 4S) have been longing for a chance to have our own personal assistant. When it was discovered that the third-generation iPad included voice dictation, it just made us want it more. With iOS 6, owners of the new iPad will get Siri, with all of her confusion and poor listening skills. Siri will help you find restaurants, call friends, get definitions of words, make appointments, open apps, and answer the question of life, the universe, and everything. With this iOS update, she will also tell you sports scores and find movie show times for you. Siri is only going to be compatible with the iPhone 4S and 5, the third-generation iPad, and the fifth generation iPod touch.
Deep Facebook Integration– As if you don’t already have enough Facebook time in your life, Apple has finally made friends with the most popular social networking site on the planet. With today’s update, you’ll be able to send a photo to Facebook right from your iPad’s camera roll, post your location right from the Maps app, send scores from Game Center, and more. Siri will be able to post to Facebook on your behalf and birthdays and events from Facebook will be integrated with your calendar app. Your Facebook friends’ profile information will also be integrated into your contacts, so you’ll always be able to get in touch.
Shared Photo Streams– Photo Stream is one of the best features of Apple’s mobile devices. Being able to take a photo on your iPhone, edit it on your Mac, and show it to friends on your iPad is pretty fantastic. The only thing that could make Photo Stream better is if you could share it with another person’s device. When iOS 6 comes out, you’ll be able to do just that. All you have to do is select the photos you want to share from the Photos app, add who you want to share them with, and send them on over. Unlike sharing photos through MSM or email, Shared Photo Stream images can be “liked” and commented on by friends and family. You can view them on Apple TV, or even from a specified website if they don’t own an Apple device.
FaceTime Over Cellular– Sure, we’ve been FaceTiming for years now, but trying to get in touch with mom over FaceTime when she is running errands can be a hassle. After today, you’ll no longer have to cut your conversation short because you have to leave a Wi-Fi area. If you have the third-generation iPad with 4G LTE-capability, you can FaceTime with anyone, even while you are driving, surfing, or getting a cup of coffee. The whole, FaceTime over cellular thing can be a little bit sketchy right now. Apparently, AT&T is restricting the use of FaceTime over cellular to subscribers of its Mobile Share Plan. If you are using AT&T make sure to double-check the fine print in your contract. Otherwise, you may end up with unexpected charges. Verizon and Sprint customers: have at it.
Improved Mail– Even though there have been little-to-no complaints about Apple’s email service since the iOS 5 improvements were made, Apple is updating it again. This time, to include a “VIP list.” Contacts can be added to the VIP list so that users will be able to go directly to that folder to read emails without the hassle of trying to weed them out of 150 unread messages. The photo and video attachment feature has also been improved, as well.
Improved Safari Browser– Safari will now be even more integrated with iCloud. Users will be able to start surfing the Web on their Mac (running Mountain Lion) and switch to their iPad without missing a beat. Safari will save Web pages in your Offline Reading List, and the browser now includes photo and video integration so you don’t have to leave the app to upload images.
Guided Access-Apple wasn’t thinking much about the disable community when it first released touch screen devices. However, over the years, the company has tried to make amends by offering more and more ways for the hearing and visually impaired to use the device, and with today’s update, iPads will become even more accessible to the disabled. Guided Access will allow you to disable the Home button, restrict touch input on certain areas, and use VoiceOver with the Maps app.
There are literally hundreds of changes made for iOS 6, but those are the biggest updates. Get ready to download Apple’s mobile operating system in just a couple of hours. Check out our troubleshooting article for the inevitable issues that will come up when you start the update process.