Apple’s Worldwide Developer’s Conference is only six days away, and Apple is absolutely going to be announcing a new version of its mobile operating system, iOS 6. Apple’s post-PC computing platform is already powerful — its functionality is cherry-picked from OS X, after all — but that doesn’t mean it’s perfect by any means. Apple has big plans for its mobile OS in 2012, and here is my list features I believe iOS 6 is going to gain when it launches later this year (along with a few stretches):
- BGR was the first to report that iOS 6 will include a substantial shift as far as the UI theme is concerned — from blue and blue stripes, to silver, much like the iPad. This is a cleaner look, fitting completely with Apple’s mantra of getting the hell out of the way and let the content and apps do the talking.
- Apple will unveil a new Maps app with Apple mapping images and data — Google is gone — and a 3D mode for amazing 3D maps.
- Automatic app updates! I believe this is finally coming in iOS 6. This new feature could include a requirement that the device is connected to Wi-Fi or plugged into a power source (or both).
- An iCloud keychain that syncs with your iOS devices and your Mac computers.
- iCloud tabs to let you open any tabs you have open on your desktop browser in the iOS browser.
- Facebook integration at the OS-level, just like Twitter — post photos and videos to Facebook, possibly check in as well.
- Location-based profiles/actions. This is a little bit of a stretch, but with Apple’s use of geofencing, I don’t think this is an impossibility. I would scream to have my phone customize different settings like ringers, Bluetooth and more based on my location. Apple may also add a notification silencing feature that is location and/or time-based.
- Siri for iPad.
- Expanded Siri functions, possibly including API access for third-party developers. This is a big challenge, but it should come sooner or later.
- AirPlay: 1080p mirroring.
- Live app icons. If Apple isn’t going to do widgets (though the company still may, at some point), a less resource-intensive way of showing updates on the home screen could come in the form of customizable icons or live app icons.
- Inter-app communication — this would finally solve the issue of apps not being able to share data with each other. It would still be sandboxed, but would solve a bunch of headaches that make iOS in some ways still feel like a mobile OS, and not just an OS.
- Unified omnibox in the browser for URL and search.
- New multitouch gestures, possibly two finger swiping.
- Improved multitasking interface and UI.
- Widgets in notification center (another possible compromise between home screen widgets and nothing new on this front).
- Improved email, maybe even multiple signatures, with a default for each account?
Let us know what you’d like to see in iOS 6 next week, though I have a feeling the notes above cover a lot of what we’re going to see with regard to iOS at WWDC.
P.S. The image above is a mockup of what I believe iOS 6 will look and feel like with the new color scheme.