The main event over in California tonight was - needless to say - the spanking new glass and aluminum iPhone 5, but let’s not forget about iOS 6.
iOS 6 was of course unveiled at WWDC back in June, and covered in fairly significant detail, but Apple took some time tonight to remind us why it’s so awesome.
Apple’s favourite iOS 6 feature appears to be Maps. Gone is Google’s effort, and in is Apple’s own system, complete with 3D mapping, flyovers, points of interest, and directions from Siri.
Safari in iOS 6 welcomes a full-screen view, and the ability to share tabs from your desktop to your phone. It’s called – no prizes for guessing – iCloud Tabs.
The iOS 6 Mail app introduces VIPs. You can mark contacts as Very Import People, and any mail from them will go into a separate inbox. Messages can also be flagged for follow-up. How futuristic.
Passbook is entirely new to iOS 6, and integrates all your coupon and ticket goodness into one place. I’m feeling thoroughly underwhelmed by this Passbook nonsense. I’m not entirely sure I “get” it, especially without NFC. More investigation required, perhaps.
There’s also the Shared Photo Streams feature I mentioned earlier tonight. Add a picture and it pops up on your friends’ iDevices automatically.
Siri has been enhanced in iOS 6, too. It can now launch apps, and jumps into relevant apps for particular queries. One example shows Siri firing up Open Table to make restaurant reservations. Oh, Siri will also make the leap to the third gen iPad and the spanking new fifth gen iPod touch.
According to Scott Forstall, we’re looking at "The most advanced operating system in any mobile device." And cue the backlash.
iOS 6 is compatible with the iPhones 3GS, iPhone 4 and 4S, iPad 2, new iPad, fourth gen iPod touch, and of course the iPhone 5 and fifth gen iPod touch. It rolls out on September 19.