iOS6, a smooth operator
With the launch of the iPhone5, which we dissected last week,Apple also announced the iOS6 for iPhones, iPods and iPads.
Apple's voice assistant Siri not only understands Indian accents better now, but also comes with other useful enhancements. For instance, you can home in on Angry Birds with just an 'Open Angry Birds' if you're feeling too lazy to flick a thumb across the touchscreen, or send a message out (including an SMS) by simply saying 'Send Message to ' followed by the message itself. There are some bugs still but Siri has come a long way. Good news: it also works now on wi-fi and can help you post on Facebook or Twitter. You can set reminders, check stock prices, get weather updates and listen to songs - with Siri commands. You need getting used to though. A nice tip shared by a reader is to rename Indian contacts or give them aliases, so you can now call out for Bob, Tom, Linda, and Kathy and Siri will fetch the contact details of Balvinder, Tarun, Lok and Karan for you. Desi cool?
One of the utilities missing in the iOS5 was the ability to directly share a picture or update Facebook without going into the app itself. Now you can click a picture and straightaway share in on Facebook. Or post a Facebook update right from your notification centre. What is also nice is how the Facebook calendar integrates with your iOS calendar, so you don't need to copy-and-paste birthdays from Facebook to your calendar. Also, the contact information from Facebook now merges with your address book - a small upgrade, but one that was sorely needed nevertheless. In case you are unable to upgrade to iOS6, you can always download a free application called SmartSync for the iPhone that will update your calendar and contacts from Facebook.
This is a really useful addition for me as I take many pictures with the iPhone and the iPad to share with friends and family but could not earlier do a bulk-share as only a single photostream was available. Now, with the Shared Photostream feature I just need to set it up and I can share any number of photos at a go. The great part is that the shared photostream is also visible on photo applications on the MacOSX, Apple TV, as well as the Web, for people who do not have access to iOS devices.
This is our pick of the new features - this amazing app allows you to board flights without printing boarding passes, simply by getting your iPhone scanned at the boarding counter. Sadly enough though, it is not something you will see working in India anytime soon as our airport authorities are not geared to give the green signal to this handy innovation. However, those who fly internationally will find this app extremely useful. The other uses of the app include buying tickets for movies without printing them, and even storing your loyalty cards from shopping to hotel stays.
Though video conversations on mobile already existed with Skype and a few other utilities, Facetime has it's own loyalists, enabling you as it does to build a great network with seamless integration to your address book and friends on Apple devices. The latest buzz is that Facetime now works even over your cellular network. The other day, a friend at the Oktoberfest in Germany called me over Facetime and gave me a walk-through, opening up a new vista for me. So, whether you are calling a friend at a distant location, or are at the shopping centre and want to share something with your loved ones, Facetime now lets you do all this and more over your cellular network.
There is also a newer mail client that gives you access to a VIP inbox and let's you attach images or videos from within mails.
Besides, features such as reminders, reply by SMS, decline call, a do-not-disturb mode and the panorama capabilities of the camera app, all add to the appeal of iOS6.
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