According to a leaked image posted on Twitter, Apple plans to release iOS 6 – the latest version of its mobile operating system – this afternoon at 1:00pm EST. The image lists numerous major cities across the world and their respective iOS 6 launch times, with all major American cities listed at 1:00pm EST (thus, it looks like the west coast will be able to download iOS 6 while sipping on their second cup of coffee).
Apple announced last week that all new iPhone 5s would have iOS 6 pre-installed, but that all current Apple device users would have to download the new mobile OS through iTunes separately.
iOS 6 is Apple’s first full version upgrade since October 12, 2011, when the company released iOS 5. Apple has generally released a new full version of iOS every year since the iPhone’s debut in 2007, so today’s release of iOS 6 follows that timeline.
iOS 6 has a lot of new features, of which the main ones are promoted by Apple here. The Maps app has been significantly upgraded to include real time traffic updates (a feature that has since been provided by third party GPS apps) and 3D Flyover views of several major cities. The actual maps have also been updated to be more aesthetically pleasing and easier to use. I use the Maps app a lot, so I am definitely looking forward to this upgrade. Additionally, Apple is using its own sourced maps rather than using Google’s compiled maps, demonstrating that Apple is moving even more in the direction of proprietary technology (more on that later). The Camera app has also been upgraded to allow for panorama photos, which should be fun to test out.
Facebook has gotten a major boost from iOS 6, as their app will now be integrated into all Apple mobile devices. This follows the Twitter app integration that occurred with iOS 5. The markets have responded favorably to this news, with shares of $FB increasing about 10% in the last week.
Lastly, Siri has been upgraded and will be available for all Apple mobile devices now (here’s looking at you iPad and iPod Touch). Siri adoption has been pretty weak so far, as many users complain it simply doesn’t work. I personally almost never use Siri, as I find its error rate high enough that it’s way easier for me to search something on my iPhone via typing in Google. We’ll see if this latest version of Siri actually provides users some benefits.
Finally, perhaps what’s most interesting is what’s not included in iOS 6. YouTube integration is over (you may have noticed a stand-along YouTube app pop up in the App Store recently). This follows Apple’s decision to stop using of Google for its Maps app; Apple’s license agreement with Google ended the past year and the company decided against renewing.
Those are the main features of Apple’s new iOS 6. If the above release chart is correct, you’ll be able to start downloading iOS 6 in less than an hour.