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iOS 6: Guided Access improves app experience for children

Apple today announced that iOS 6 will include a new accessibility feature called Guided Access. This new feature is aimed at children with autism and allows a parent or other adult to select specific portions of apps—such as navigation controls—to disable, and also provides the option to enable or disable the hardware buttons, touch controls, or motion controls independently.

Apple introduces iOS 6, coming this fall

Apple today announced iOS 6, the latest version of its operating system for the iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch. iOS 6 will be compatible with the iPhone 3GS and later, second- and third-generation iPad, and fourth-generation iPod touch. It will contain over 200 new user features and will ship to consumers this fall; a developer preview is available today. Apple highlighted several of the new features during its WWDC Keynote Address; you can find more information on those select features by following the links below:

iOS 6: Siri comes to iPad, gains new features
iOS 6: Facebook integration coming to iOS, iTunes + App Stores
iOS 6: Enhancements to Phone, Do Not Disturb
iOS 6: FaceTime over cellular, Apple ID unification
iOS 6: Safari gains offline Reading List, image uploads
iOS 6: introduces Passbook
iOS 6: Shared Photo Streams, Mail improvements
iOS 6: Guided Access improves app experience for children
iOS 6: New Maps with traffic & turn-by-turn navigation

iOS 6: Shared Photo Streams, Mail improvements

Among the new features of iOS 6 announced by Apple today are enhancements to its Photo Stream service and Mail app. The Shared Photo Streams feature will allow iCloud users to select photos and friends with whom they’d like to share the photos. Those friends will receive a notification alerting them to the stream, and those photos will appear in an album on their device, with the ability for friends to comment on photos. In Mail, users will be able to select certain users to designate as VIPs, which will elevate their alert status and cause the app to file all emails from that person in a dedicated mailbox, which will sit alongside a new Flagged mailbox. The new version of Mail will also allow users to insert photos and videos right from the compose window, open password-protected documents, and pull to refresh their messages.

iOS 6 introduces Passbook

During its presentation on iOS 6 today, Apple unveiled Passbook, a new integrated app designed to serve as a digital storage for information such as boarding passes, tickets and store cards. Initially integrated with companies such as United Airlines, Amtrack, Starbucks and Fandango, Passbook allows users to store digital copies of items for quick and easy retrieval on demand or based on geo-location; for example users can have the app automatically pull up their Starbucks card directly on the lock screen when near their favourite Starbucks location. Information such as boarding passes can also be updated as departure times and gate changes occur and push notifications provide users with near real-time updates as updates are received.

iOS 6: Safari gains offline Reading List, image uploads

Apart from the already revealed iCloud Tabs feature, Apple has announced that Safari in iOS 6 will receive a number of other enhancements. The Reading List feature, introduced in iOS 5, will gain a new offline mode so users can read when away from an Internet connection, and the updated app will allow for image uploads directly from the browser. Apple is also adding fullscreen support in landscape, and a new feature called Smart app banners that will let services sync between web activity and app activity, and will allow users to easily jump into or download the app.

iOS 6: FaceTime over cellular, Apple ID unification

As part of its unveiling of iOS 6, Apple has announced that the new OS will support FaceTime calls over cellular connections. As part of this feature rollout, the company will also be unifying users’ phone number and Apple ID, so that if a FaceTime call comes to a phone number, that user could answer the call on a Mac or iPad. This same unification will be used for iMessage, hopefully allowing for more streamlined interoperability between various iOS devices and Macs.

iOS 6: Enhancements to Phone, Do Not Disturb

As part of iOS 6, Apple will be rolling out several enhancements to the iPhone’s Phone application and offering a new notification setting called Do Not Disturb, The Phone application will now offer users the option of replying with a message or reminding them later should they choose not to answer a call. Both features have a number of built-in options, with preset text messages available for the first and reminder options based on time or location for the latter. In addition, iOS 6 will add a new feature called Do Not Disturb to the Settings app near notifications. The feature will allow users to set scheduled Do Not Disturb times, with fine-grained control over what calls should be allowed.

iOS 6: Facebook integration coming to iOS, iTunes + App Stores

Apple this morning announced that iOS 6 will offer integration with Facebook. As shown during the company’s Keynote Address, Facebook will be given its own space in the Settings app—similar to iOS’ current Twitter integration—and posting to the service will be handled in a very similar fashion. Apple will also be adding Facebook sharing options to the iTunes and App Stores, and will be integrating contacts and events into the appropriate apps on both iOS and OS X. Finally, new Facebook and Twitter sharing buttons have been added to Notification Center just below the top widgets area.

iOS 6: Siri comes to iPad, gains new features

As part of its announcement of iOS 6 today, Apple showed off a number of new features it is adding to Siri. In iOS 6, Siri will be able to launch apps, get sports scores and information, retrieve more information about restaurants and book reservations, tweet, and get movie listings. Under iOS 6, Siri will support a number of new countries and languages, and will support a new feature called Eyes Free, in which Apple has partnered with a number of auto manufacturers—including BMW, GM, Mercedes, Land Rover, Jaguar, Audi, Toyota, Chrysler, and Honda—to include a steering wheel-mounted button that activates Siri without so much as lighting up the iPhone’s screen. Finally, Siri will also be available to users of the third-generation iPad under iOS 6.

iOS update: 365 million devices, 80% running iOS 5

As part of its WWDC Keynote Address this morning, Apple gave an update on the state of iOS. Through the end of March, Apple had sold 365 million iOS devices, 80% of which are running iOS 5. Push Notifications has seen widespread adoption, with 84 of the top 100 social apps using the service. 7 billion notifications are now sent per day, and over 1.5 trillion have been sent thus far. Game Center has also been adopted by many, with over 130 million Game Center accounts registered, 5 billion scores being posted every week, and adoption in 67 of the top 100 games. Finally, the Twitter integration in iOS 5 has led to 10 billion tweets sent from iOS 5 devices; iOS 5 devices now account for 47% of all images uploaded to the service.

iCloud Tabs to share Safari tabs between Mac, iOS

Apple today announced iCloud Tabs, a new feature of iCloud that will enable automatic syncing of Safari tabs between Macs running OS X Mountain Lion and iOS devices. The feature was unveiled during a demonstration of Mountain Lion, which also discussed the arrival of Notes, Reminders, and Notification Center on the Mac, as well as Dictation, Airplay Mirroring, and Game Center, all of which were unveiled in February. Apple will release OS X Mountain Lion exclusively through the Mac App Store next month for $20.

Apple to launch Back to School promo tomorrow

Apple will launch its annual Back to School promotion tomorrow, according to a new report. MacRumors claims that this year’s promotion will again involve iTunes Gift Cards for those purchasing new equipment. Students purchasing qualifying Macs will receive a $100 iTunes Gift Card, while those purchasing an iPad will receive a $50 Card. Notably, this is they first year in which those purchasing an iPad will be eligible to participate. While specifics were not available, Apple’s Back to School promotions have traditionally ended in September.

Apple to intro new user tracking tool

Apple will soon unveil a new way for mobile developers to track who users their software, according to a new report. Citing people briefed on Apple’s plans, the Wall Street Journal reports that the new tool could be unveiled “in the coming weeks”—although next week’s WWDC event would seem the most likely place for such an announcement to take place—and is aimed at serving as a substitute for the Unique Device Identifier, or UDID. The report notes that details of the tool, including how it works what metrics it will allow developers to track, are still unclear.

Introversion releases Uplink for iPad

Introversion Software has released an iPad version of its classic hacking RPG Uplink. Originally developed for the PC platform in 2001, Uplink puts the player in the role of a freelance hacker in a futuristic world of high tech computer crime and corporate espionage. As an Uplink Agent the player makes a living performing hacking jobs for clients ranging from major corporations to shady underworld organizations, breaking into classified computer systems, stealing research data, sabotaging systems and “adjusting” academic and criminal records. As players earn more income they are able to upgrade their hacking tools to tackle jobs against more sophisticated systems such as banks and government mainframes, all the while being careful to cover their tracks to avoid getting caught. In addition to standard one-off missions, a storyline also unfolds that draws players into a web of intrigue as a global conspiracy unfolds that could take down the entire Internet and plunge the world into an information dark age.

Notably, the iPad port of Uplink was actually developed by a fan of the game rather than Introversion itself. In an interview with Modojo, Introversion Software’s Mark Morris explained that while the company had worked on a mobile version of the game as far back as 2001 for the Windows CE and Palm OS platforms, the iPad version actually came into existence after the company was contacted by a fan, Andrew Carne, who had purchased the Uplink developer CD who then carried on to actually produce an almost complete port that Introversion was then simply able to polish and release. Morris went on to note in the interview that “If Andrew Carne hadn’t finished the port for us I don’t think we would have done it internally.”

Uplink requires iOS 4.2 or later and is available from the App Store for $5. [via Touch Arcade]

WWDC banner confirms iOS 6 announcement

A photo taken during the raising of banners in preparation for Apple’s Worldwide Developers Conference has confirmed that the company will reveal iOS 6 at the event. 9to5Mac has posted the photo in a gallery of other shots showing the preparations; the iOS 6 logo is featured prominently, and has changed ever so slightly from the prior iOS 5 logo. Below the iOS 6 logo is the tagline “The world’s most advanced mobile operating system.” While it was widely assumed that Apple would announce the software at the event, it had yet to confirm as much, stating only that developers at the conference would “learn about the future of iOS”.

Algoriddim releases vjay for iPad

Algoriddim, developer of the popular djay DJ mixing app for iOS devices has released vjay, a new mixing and mashup app for video content on the iPad. Providing direct integration with the iPad media libraries, vjay allows users to mix and scratch both video and audio content from iTunes along with personal video footage to create their own interactive audio visual experience. Users can also record their very own clips into the mix using the iPad camera and add real-time video transitions and audio visual effects, loops and real-time VideoScratch. Users can also take advantage of a three-band equalizer, on-the-fly BPM and tempo detection with AutoSync and a split output mode for pre-cueing using headphones and an appropriate DJ mixing cable. 

Resulting mashups can be saved to the iPad video library for sharing with friends or displayed on a TV using a direct connection or wirelessly via AirPlay. iTunes Store integration allows users to easily search for and purchase music videos on the fly directly from within the app. A free bundle of content is also included in the app to help users get started including a music video from Parov Stelar, a dance video from Lil’Buck and Yak Films, a soccer video by football duo F2, a skateboarding video from Stereo Vinyl Cruisers, a snowboarding video by Isenseven, a video of parkour artist group, Parkour Paris and a collection of visual art videos by VJLoops. vjay requires an iPad 2 or third-generation iPad running iOS 5.1 or later and is available from the App Store for an introductory price of $10.

Apple hit with penalty over iPad ‘4G’ moniker

Apple has agreed to pay a AU$2.25 million (roughly $2.22 million) penalty to settle a case involving the third-generation iPad’s prior “4G” labeling. The Wall Street Journal reports that Apple admitted that it may have misled consumers over the ability of the iPad to connect to fourth-generation cellular networks in Australia. Apple has also agreed to pay the court costs for the Australia Competition and Consumer Commission, which amount to AU$300,000, or roughly $296,000. Apple originally listed its cellular data-capable third-generation iPad as the “Wi-Fi + 4G” model, a name that drew the ire of regulators in a number of territories; it soon changed the name to “Wi-Fi + Cellular”.

The Omni Group launches OmniPlan for iPad

The Omni Group has released OmniPlan for iPad, the iOS adaptation of its popular Mac project management app, completing its commitment to bring its five premium Mac apps to the iOS platform. Designed to help users visualize, maintain and simplify projects, OmniPlan for iPad provides mobile access to important project management information with advanced features such as enhanced collaboration, change tracking and smart scheduling for project teams. Users can also share and synchronize entire projects over-the-air between multiple devices using a WebDAV service, allowing project teams to keep current while on the go; change tracking further allows users to easily see the latest updates at a glance.

OmniPlan for iPad also provides advanced resource management including resource splitting and hammock tasks with user-defined prerequisites along with a Smart Scheduling feature to help project managers schedule projects for both individual resources or the project as a whole, including working back from a fixed end date and both automatic and manual resource levelling. Custom filters allow users to easily focus on specific aspects of a project plan based on criteria such as resource, status, type or date range and users can also create multiple baselines for project history analysis. OmniPlan for iPad can be used as a standalone app or synchronize with OmniPlan for Mac using Omni’s Sync Server or any WebDAV server; users can also configure multiple server repositories for sharing different projects with different teams. OmniPlan for iPad requires iOS 5.0 or later and is available from the App Store for $50.

Apple quietly posts iOS Security guide

Apple has quietly posted a new iOS Security guide (PDF Link) online. Seemingly aimed at businesses and other organizations considering the adoption of iOS devices, the 20-page document addresses several broad topics related to iOS security, including system architecture, encryption and data protection, network security, and device access. For those interested, the full document is available as a free download from the link above. [via MDN]

Siri for iPad, more coming in iOS 6

Apple is preparing to bring Siri to the iPad in iOS 6, according to a new report. Citing trusted sources, 9to5Mac reports that Siri on the iPad will offer the full slate of features offered on the iPhone 4S—minus phone call dialing, obviously—and will rely on the iPad’s built-in microphone, which the report claims is fully capable of handling Siri queries accurately. The report goes on to claim that Siri’s interface on the iPad will not be full-screen, as on the iPhone 4S, but will instead slide up from below the display using a “clever” animation, and will appear to float atop the current interface. While the feature has apparently been tested on both the iPad 2 and third-generation iPad, the report suggests that it will likely be exclusive to the latter in an effort to limit the strain put on the still-in-beta feature’s servers. The report claims that it is still unclear whether the feature will be announced next week at WWDC or at an assumed fall event to announce the next-generation iPhone.

In a separate report, 9to5Mac claims that iOS 6 will also bring several small improvements over from OS X Mountain Lion, including support for syncing open Safari tabs between Macs and iOS devices using iCloud, Mail VIPs, a feature that puts a star next to emails received from a specific group of people—this list would also be synced across devices using iCloud—and a Do Not Disturb toggle for Notification Center that will disable alerts and banners while on, and will be located near the Airplane Mode toggle in Settings.

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