So at WWDC 2012, Apple showed us a handful of cool stuff coming to iOS 6. One of those new cool things was Passbook, a competitor to Google Wallet that steps into the plane ticket, movie ticket, ‘loyalty card’, realm. What we all knew what was on the tip of Apple’s tongue when they announced this new app and previewed it on stage at WWDC probably had a lot to do with near-field communications and a widespread payment system in the next iPhone coming this Fall.
So Apple showed off this app, which appears to be lifted right out of a post-iOS 5 ecosystem. This app looks like nothing we’ve seen in a native app since the birth of iOS. And I think that this is what we can expect apps from Apple to begin looking like from now on. Perhaps there is even more appearance changes we’ve got in store for this Fall alongside a new piece of hardware. But on to the real story here…
All of the movie and plane tickets garbage is cool, but the real story behind Passbook is integrated near-field communications (NFC) and a payment system. This will probably be one of the biggest selling points of what is likely to be the iPhone 5 in October. NFC was rumored to be in the iPhone 4S, yet Siri ended up taking center stage last year. This year, however, NFC and a payment system alongside a larger screen are sure to be the hot topics after Apple unveils the fifth-generation.
Other than that iOS 6 is going to bring iPhone and iPad — yes iPad — users extended Siri functionally, OS-level Facebook integration (much like the recently added Twitter functionality), and the topic that stole the show, Maps. Siri is said to now be able to provide more information such as movie times and sport scores. Facebook integration is…well, Facebook integration. And Maps, is the successor to the Google Maps-based app that has been included with iOS since its inception.
While the app’s name has always only been Maps — not Google Maps — it’s always utilized Google’s search engine, and its Maps engine. For iOS 6 Apple has designed the app from the ground up, and will not use any of Google’s services. It will, however use location information from the likes of Yelp. The huge flashy new feature of that Apple is banking on to reel in those addicted to eye candy, dubbed Flyover, are 3D ariel views that Apple has created from scratch using their own aircraft. This sounds like a gamble, though, Apple’s coverage of 3D maps will likely be limited for quite some time, and will probably only be available in larger urban areas.
While it won’t be nearly as useful as Google’s Street View, Apple has finally included actual turn-by-turn navigation in Maps this time around. Google’s Android map application has had a fairly robust presentation of navigation features for a while. Siri will also back up the turn-by-turn navigation to be found in the new Maps app in iOS 6 with voice feedback. Traffic reporting in the new Maps app is said to be greatly improved as well, using realtime reports to give info on accidents, construction alerts, and more.