iOS 6: More than 200 new features

Apple has promised more than 200 new features as part of iOS 6, which is set to launch alongside the new iPhone this autumn. iOS 6 will also be available for the iPhone 3GS, 4 and 4S, and the iPad 2 and 3. So you don’t need to buy a new iPhone to take advantage of all these features. Here are some highlights:

Flyover maps Maps now has a 3D technology that lets you fly around photo-realistic landscapes (see below).

Yelp reviews You can now view, and add, Yelp reviews of businesses in Maps.

Turn by turn navigation You can use Maps as a sat-nav for directions.

Siri for iPad Siri finally makes it to the iPad with an all-new interface. It can also be used to launch apps.

Siri sports, movies and restaurants Siri has got a bit smarter (in the US at least) and can give sports information,  as well as film and restaurant reviews.

Facebook You can now sign into Facebook (as well as Twitter) from the Settings. You can read and write posts throughout iOS, including the Notification Center.

Facebook contacts and calendar When signed into Facebook, your Friends info updates automatically in Contacts, and Events appear in the Calendar app.

Shared photo streams It’s now really easy to share photo streams from Photos to your friends.

Passbook A new app that enables you to download and view tickets, receipts and Airport Boarding Passes (hence the name).

FaceTime You can now use FaceTime over the mobile phone networks, as well as with Wi-Fi.

Phone You can now send calls to Voicemail, or send a quick Templated text (such as ‘in a meeting’ as a reply).

Do Not Disturb This silences incoming calls and alerts, leaving you in peace. You can also schedule Do Not Disturb to switch on and off at specific times, and make exceptions to allow calls from people or groups.

VIP Inbox You can star Contacts and groups and view emails from just those people. Perfect for busy inboxes.

iCloud tabs Open browser tabs from one device on another with two clicks.

Fullscreen Safari Get rid of all the clutter (buttons, URL and so on) and just view a web page.

Offline Reader Add whole web pages to your Reader list and view them even when you haven’t got a web connection.

New-look stores The App Store and iTunes Store have both been completely redesigned, making it easier to find the latest apps, books and music.

Apple’s new 3D maps

Amazing new photo-realistic maps

Apple has built an entire new mapping solution “from the ground up”, doing all the cartography itself. And the assortment of features Apple will include for free may leave the folk over at Google feeling a little envious.

Part of Maps is local search: more than 100 million business listings, integrated with Yelp for reviews and ratings. Maps also integrates a traffic service, so you can minimise delays.

But the real killer feature is Flyover, a 3D model Apple has built by flying over major metropolitan areas with planes and helicopters. The maps are vector-based, so zooming in and out is quick and painless; tap on a specific building to get an information card.You can view wireframes of individual buildings, adjust camera angles, toggle between 2D and 3D and more. No part of Apple’s presentation induced more “oohs” and “ahhs” than Flyover.

Now that Google Maps is off the radar, the rarely updated YouTube app is the last remaining vestige of Google’s once-tight integration with iOS’s core offerings.

iPhone 5 Gallery

The anticipation of the next iPhone has led to lots of designers imagining what the new model will look like. Some have created remarkably realistic 3D renders of the iPhone 5, based on rumours, patents and their own imagination. One team even went so far as to build a realistic iPhone 5 model from glass and metal. While none of these are exactly what Apple will be making, they look pretty close to the sort of thing we’re expecting to see from Apple in the next few months.

iPhone LM

Nak Design’s (nak-design.over-blog.fr) concept of how the iPhone would look with a high-performance Liquidmetal case.

iPhone Plus

This concept design from ADR Studio (www.adr-studio.it) combines a Liquidmetal case with a much larger 4.3in display.

Concept iPhone

FuseChicken (www.fusechicken.com) came up with this idea of an iPhone 5 with a tapered reverse, square home button and a 4in screen.

iPhone Air

A smaller, thinner device that takes its cues from the MacBook Air range is how Ciccarese Design (www.ciccaresedesign.com) imagines the new iPhone may look.