We’ve all been itching to get our hands on iOS 6 since it got its first unveiling at WWDC back in June, and today, three months after that announcement, the software finally gets its public debut. Apple’s packed a ton of new features into this update, including some major new features like Map and Passbook, plus some enhancements to existing apps and features, such as new Siri capabilities and a VIP inbox in Mail.
Apple’s been promoting some of these features on its website, but there are tons you may not have heard about. With that said, here’s your comprehensive guide to everything that’s new in iOS 6.
Even before its launch, the iPhone 5 is creating concerns and challenges for businesses and IT departments.
Apple will launch the next iPhone (presumably named the iPhone 5) along with iOS 6 tomorrow. The new iPhone is expected to pack a range of updates that will make it a much more significant release than last year’s iPhone 4S. The biggest expectation is that the iPhone will include 4G LTE support and that, unlike the new iPad, it will support LTE bands used outside of North America.
We won’t know all the details of the iPhone 5 until Apple’s unveiling at the Yerba Buena Center. There are, however, three important issues that business users and IT managers will need to in mind during and after following tomorrow’s launch event – all three of which could have a significant impact on bring your own device (BYOD) programs that encourage users to bring their personal mobile devices into the office.
Multiple airlines have already announced plans to support Apple’s digital wallet service called Passbook, and now more companies are jumping on the bandwagon. Accessco, a leading provider for attraction ticketing, will start rolling out support for the Passbook iOS 6 app in the coming weeks. This means that Cedar Fair Entertainment U.S. theme parks (Cedar Point, Kings Island, etc.) and attractions like the Columbus Zoo will work with Passbook on the iPhone.
Google Wallet has been out for almost a year now, and it allows you to store your credit cards on your Android phone and make payments via NFC, but because of limited partnerships during its launch, it hasn’t really taken off yet.
Now that Google’s seen some of the features Apple plans to bring to the iPhone with the Passbook app, Google has decided to double down on Wallet and bring in new features so it functions more like Passbook.
Here’s an interesting theory from Macotakara, riffing on photos highlighted by Apple.pro last week: the square chip seen at the top of the next iPhone, to the right of the built-in iSight camera, could be an NFC chip. In fact, it looks exactly the same size as one.
Square scored its big partnership with Starbucks by realizing mobile payments aren’t really about mobile payments.
Last week’s announcement that Starbucks is partnering with Square for mobile payments and credit card processing is big news for the nascent U.S. mobile payments market. It was also a warning shot fired by the startup across the bow of traditional payment processing companies, many of which have struggled to bring together an effective and successful digital wallet (or iWallet) solution. The move could also complicate any plans that Apple has to move into that market following the release of iOS 6 and its Passbook feature.
Have you ever watched your iPhone attempt to load a webpage with a poor Wi-Fi connection, and wondered why it doesn’t just switch to 3G automatically? In currently iOS releases, your device can’t do that. If you’re connected to a Wi-Fi network, it will only use the Wi-Fi network. But iOS 6 changes that. You’ll soon be able to use “Wi-Fi Plus Cellular” connections, which allows apps to switch to a cellular data connection automatically when Wi-Fi is poor.
Passbook could be a brilliant way for Apple to trump any other mobile payment option.
Mobile payment technologies have an interesting and complicated relationship with local businesses. On the one hand, local mom-and-pop restaurants, shops, and services are probably the companies that you’d expect to adopt new payment technologies the slowest – particularly if those technologies require new point of sale hardware like an NFC reader. On the other hand, mobile payment systems could be poised to deliver a new wave of business to such local companies.
Making the situation more complicated is the fact that any mobile payment system (Google Wallet, PayPal in-store purchasing, or any system that Apple may be slowly developing) can’t be considered a solid winner or option unless that system strikes it big with local businesses. A system that only applies to large chains, like the in-store purchasing the PayPal rolled out to Home Depot and other retailers, can’t be considered mainstream unless it’s adopted very widely and by a significant percentage of small businesses.
Further complicating the relationship is the fact that many players in the race to create a true digital wallet are on focusing widely varying options for small and local businesses. That means that no one company is leading and no company really seems to have a consistent strategy for tapping this immense and important market.
Could Apple add NFC to the iPhone after all? This patent would suggest so.
Apple’s rivals are already producing smartphones with NFC capabilities, and although NFC is yet to really take off, it’s still capable of some pretty incredible things that we all want from our smartphones. However, there has been some debate about whether or not Apple will adopt the feature, or create an alternative of its own — possibly utilizing Bluetooth.
Since the company unveiled Passbook in iOS 6, that debate has hit an all-time high. Passbook would work wonderfully with NFC, and would allow us to ditch physical cards and tickets in favor of a “contactless” system in which we just hold our devices up to a sensor. And according to a newly granted Apple patent for “iTravel,” it appears the Cupertino company is just as excited about that prospect as we are.
We’ve all been waiting with bated breath for Apple to take the mobile payment industry by storm and bring it to the mass consumer market. For years, there have been whispers that Apple is working on its own approach to reinventing mobile payments, including the possibility of a NFC-equipped iPhone. When Apple unveiled Passbook in iOS 6 last month, the company announced its first real foray into mobile payments by partnering with select companies for handling virtual goods like coupons and airline tickets.
According to a new report on The Wall Street Journal, Apple’s Passbook is only a shadow of things to come. The company is “deliberately” working on its own mobile payment system, and while the rest of its competitors scramble to test the waters, Apple is sitting back and developing the right strategy.