Like every other website that covers technology, we’re forced to write a piece about the announcement at Apple’s WWDC (Worldwide Developer’s Conference) because, let’s face it, Apple owns you.
That being said, I own an iPhone, and I’m excited. TechCrunch has the rundown here, but I thought I’d provide my own, Three Yards-ian take on things. Basically, one of the bigger keynotes was the formal, official announcement of a bunch of the features for iOS 6, the new version of the iPhone/iPad operating system (basically like Windows for your computer, but for your phone). iOS 5, the last big update, included groundbreaking stuff like increased Twitter integration and the iMessage capability, so expectations were high for the announcement of iOS 6.
New Feature Highlight #1 : Siri Now Does A Bunch of New Shit
Siri, the artificial-intelligence-but-not-really personal assistant, now has more integration with other apps available on the iPhone and iPad. Examples include puling sports data from Yahoo!, making reservations with OpenTable, and actually, you know, opening other apps. Basically, this involves holding the button, telling Siri “I want to play Angry Birds,” and BOOM there’s Angry Birds. Why this is any more efficient or productive than just, I don’t know, one finger tap to open the app, is beyond me, but I will admit it’s a lot cooler. Also included is the new ability to Tweet by voice, so brace yourselves for more people speaking like assholes.
Theres a lady standing in front of me at gas station buying a can of Skoal and condoms. I can only assume one thing #rednecktranny—
Douchey Tweets (@callmedouchey) April 13, 2011
This will be a lot harder to do while speaking out loud, but I have faith in America! Siri will also be integrated in the steering wheels of new automobiles from makers like Audi, BMW, and Land Rover, so now you can proudly blare your pretentiousness through your car’s speakers.
I don’t have an iPhone 4S, so I don’t get to play with Siri, but my girlfriend does so I’ll get to use a lot of this stuff by proxy. Mostly to ask it silly things like “Siri, why shouldn’t we eat sushi at that Exxon station?”
New Feature Highlight #2: Facebook Now Infests Your Whole Phone, or, Faceapple
When iOS 5 was released, Twitter was more deeply integrated into the phone, where you didn’t necessarily have to have a Twitter app to do things like send photos you just took to your six followers, two of which are your mom and dad. “Why didn’t they add the ‘Post to Facebook’ option?” we asked. Because they were waiting to do even more: now, Facebook will sync your friends’ birthdays to your Calendar, as well as any Events you RSVP to through the social network. While this sounds awesome, remember that Facebook’s app SUCKS GIANT DONKEY DICK and now they won’t have to worry so much about it because a lot of the more heavily-used functionality will be baked in, so to speak. Also, this pretty much quells the idea, for the moment, that Facebook would make a giant sucky phone of their own to compete with Google’s Android and the Windows Phone.
New Feature Highlight #3: New Phone App Lets You Tell People To Fuck Off
“Phone,” the appropriately named app which lets you use your iPhone to actually call people, is getting a face lift as well.
New features for the Phone app include a “Do Not Disturb” function, which basically disables all notifications for everything for as long as you’d like. Much like putting the phone on silent, but without the SUPER ANNOYING bright flash of the screen, I guess? Didn’t know that was an issue. Included with the DND ability is the many new ways you can ignore phone calls from creditors, like “Reply With Message” and “Remind Me Later,” functions that basically supersede your own memory and save you two button pushes. The really cool bit, though (and I’m gonna be serious for a second), is something they’re calling Geo-Fencing, where you can set a reminder to call someone once you leave a certain area. Call your wife when you’re on your way home from work, call your boss when you get close to work, call your bookie when you’re close to the track, whatever. It’s super helpful.
New Feature Highlight #4: Apple Told Google Maps To Get The Fuck Off Their Lawn
Since the original iPhone, the Maps app was powered by, and serviced with, the minions of Google Maps and their creepy Street View cameras. Apple basically loaned the app and all of its data from the Google team. Last year, though, Apple bought a few 3D mapping companies and it seemed like something fishy was afoot.
So, the new Maps app will be entirely Apple-based, and will reflect the design elements Apple fans have grown to love. It’ll integrate with Siri, and Yelp, and have a real-time traffic database culled from other iOS 6 users (HOLY FUCK PRIVACY! AAAAARRRRRGH!) for real-time updates. The coolest thing, I think, is the new 3D option where you can “flyover” your route, complete with the view from a helicopter or airplane. You can tap on anything in the map and learn more about it, too, which is fun and interactive…if you’re somewhere the buildings house interesting things.
Other features include tabbed browsing in the Safari web browser, some email VIP thing, and the ability to FaceTime over wireless instead of just WiFi, but most of those things Google does already anyway.
In closing, this stuff may sound exciting and awesome, but there is one corollary: Releasing This Fall. So, there may be significant changes to the “Ooh, aaah, cool-as-shit” stuff they showed at the conference; with anything tech, it’s always good to take these kinds of announcements with more than a few grains of salt. With that, enjoy the next few months of fanboy suspense! I know I will.