New Releases

This week Apple released iOS6 and an update for Mountain Lion. (Not to mention a little device called the iPhone 5). While I can’t have an iPhone 5 (contract restrictions) I was able to get the other two and I figured I would sit down and share my thoughts.

iOS 6

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As the name implies the 6th iteration of the iPhone software. There are 200 updates to the OS and I am way to lazy to review them all so we will only hit the big ones. To be fair, some of the changes are only UI and really don’t contribute to the functionality of the device so I won’t be discussing them.

  • Maps – Apple has totally redesigned the Maps application and abandoned using Google for maps. The application is really slick and also uses Siri for turn by turn directions. Maps also allows you to view traffic conditions real time, allowing you to navigate around any accidents or traffic jams.
  • Siri – Siri was introduced in iOS 5 and in iOS 6 there is a BIG improvement. Siri can now do much more than before. You can now ask Siri how your favorite sports team is doing, stats on individual players and so forth. But it doesn’t end there. Integration with “Open Table” allows you to make restaurant reservations, and with integration into “Rotten Tomatoes” you can find movies based on ratings.
  • Phone – Yes even the phone got a needed update. The update will allow you to set “quiet hours” when you don’t want your phone to ring. The only exception being if someone from your favorites calls. (there is also a feature that if someone calls repeatedly within 3 mins it will ring as it is then deemed an emergency. One of the other phone features is that if you are in a meeting you can refuse the call and send a text, or set a reminder to call back in an hour.
  • Safari – Safari also got an update. The new Java engine is lightning quick. One of the new features in iOS 6 gives you iCloud tabs. This will allow you to pick up surfing right where you left off where you were on any other Apple device. You can also set up offline reading lists. (Not just links, the full page).
  • FaceTime – Not much has change with FaceTime, with the exception that you can now make FaceTime calls over cellular. It should be noted that some carriers (AT&T) want you to by a separate plan for this. There has been no final decision yet, but AT&T users need to be aware of this. If you have AT&T and FaceTime fails, it may not be Apple’s fault.
  • Facebook – Facebook now has integration throughout the OS. From your camera roll you can post pictures directly to Facebook as well as from Safari.
  • Mail – Mail also got some love in this update. You can set up VIP lists to flag mails from your boss, or your family that you don’t want to get lost in your email stream.

Mountain Lion

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  • Messages – “Texting” has come to the Mac. Using Messages you can now send messages to any iOS device or Mac that has Messages configured.
  • iCloud – This is much more than an application, iCloud is a framework. Back in early 2000 Steve Jobs referred to the Mac as the hub of your digital life. That was before everyone had access to the internet. iCloud now is that hub. Using iCloud you can put documents in the cloud to be shared among all of your devices. iCloud also keeps you Contact list and Calendars in sync. There are also some other applications that take advantage of iClouds syncing ability.
  • Reminders – Reminders sync with all of your devices, now you can set a reminder on your iPad and be reminded on your phone or your Mac. All the while syncing with iCloud. While reminders have the ability to remind you at a specific time or place.
  • Notes – Sometimes you don’t need to be reminded when to do something, but how to do something. That’s where Notes come in. Once again using iCloud, you always have the latest version at your disposal.
  • Notification Center – You can configure Notification Center to notify you on many built in applications such as Mail, Calendars, Facebook, Twitter, and may more. Notification Center came into being in iOS 5, and has now come to the Mac.
  • Dictation – Leveraging some of the voice recognition associated with Siri, now you can dictate to your Mac. You can set up a hot key and dictate in pretty much any application that you would normally type in. In Mail for example, you can launch the dictation and compose an email, or you can use pages to write your epic novel.
  • Sharing – From within Safari, there is now a sharing button, which will give you the option to: Add to a reading list, Add a Bookmark, email this page, Send the page using messages, Send to Twitter, or post it to Facebook, all without leaving the Safari App.

As I said before, there were 200 new additions and listing them all here would have been terribly long winded on my part. If you got these updates, what was your favorite addition or upgrade? Let us know in the comments.

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