We've seen and heard about many of the new features coming to iOS 6 already, but with the announcement of the iPhone 5, we now know exactly when it's coming: September 19.
Little has been added in the way of functionality besides what we saw at WWDC, but it will be compatible with devices all the way back to the iPhone 3GS (along with the iPhone 4 and 4S, and the iPad 2 and new iPad). Below is a rundown of the new features, and if you're unfamiliar with what has already been announced in iOS 6 there's a quick rundown of the other notable features.
- iMessage: With the latest iOS 6 beta, Apple quietly introduced the ability to send, receive and sync iMessages between multiple devices, even if its sent to your phone number. Messaging on iOS is now a near seamless experience that allows you to pick up any of your Apple devices (or even Messages on Mountain Lion), and continue a previous conversation in stride.
- Wi-Fi + 3G/4G: A new secret little feature in iOS 6 is the ability to keep your mobile data alive if there's no internet available on a Wi-Fi network you might be connected to. Maybe you're on a network that's set up solely for AirPlay, or maybe you've setup an ad hoc connection with a Wi-Fi flash drive. Either way, it's nice not to lose mobile data entirely. Also expect this to play nice with AirPlay direct.
- Siri: The search functionality of Siri has been greatly expanded to fetch sports scores, list movie times and book tables at restaurants. It's almost to the point where it serves some practical function in our lives.
- Maps: Gone are Google Maps. In its place is Apple's own home-cooked Maps app, complete with data from TomTom. From what we've seen so far, it's not a finished product quite yet, but the addition of 3D maps and turn-by-turn navigation are welcome additions to be sure.
- Passbook: Apple's answer to Google Wallet and Pay With Square is Passbook. It will store your credit card data, customer rewards cards, coupons and plane tickets. And either with the use of a QR code or bluetooth, merchants can collect your payment info and send you on your way. It's not yet clear how this will manifest in Australia -- if at all.
- Facebook: Like being able to Tweet from anywhere in iOS? You can do the same with Facebook now. And as an added bonus, you can update Facebook and Twitter straight from Notification Center. Just be careful with contact sync, as Facebook will overwrite your contacts primary info with its own.
- Facetime over 3G/4G: Like Facetiming on the go? If you do, you can now do it over mobile data without needing a Wi-Fi connection.
- iCloud Tabs: iCloud tabs is a nice little feature that will allow you to access open Safari tabs on other iCloud connected devices. Pages viewed on iPhones, iPads, MacBooks (running Mountain Lion) can all be accessed from any device. A bit overdue, perhaps, but a welcome feature nonetheless.
- YouTube: Apple's baked-in YouTube app is no longer available in iOS. Be sure to download Google's standalone app if you don't want to view YouTube vids in Safari.
Check back as we find out more about what the final version of iOS 6 has in store for us. There's certain to be a few secrets floating around.