Monday Morsel - iOS6

Let's talk about iOS6!

This is an exciting week for users of Apple mobile devices. The really big news is the new iPhones that will be shipping starting Friday, September 21. In addition to new iPhones, there is also a new version of iOS - the foundation of iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch - set to be released Wednesday, September 19. That means that even if you're not buying a new iPhone, this week you'll be able to update the features on your iOS devices (like your iPhone 3GS, 4, 4S, iPad 2 & iPad 3, and various iPod Touch models).

In today's Monday Morsel, I'd like to discuss iOS6, the free and easy upgrade designed to make the things you do every day even better. Let's focus on five standout features that stand to make iOS 6 worth your immediate attention.

Maps will be one of the most significant changes about iOS 6. They've been redesigned from the group up. Now maps on your Apple devices are no longer Google Maps; they are built partly by Apple and partly with a hand from the GPS hardware and software maker TomTom. They will provide you turn-by-turn spoken directions, real-time traffic information, and a new feature called Flyover that will allow you to explore cities and landmarks with interactive 3D views.

There have been a number of apps over the past few years designed to manage your loyalty cards, digital coupons, tickets, and more. In theory, it's a digital way to streamline your wallet. For example, instead of carrying your grocery store's loyalty card, you keep that info stored digitally on your iPhone. Instead of printing your airline boarding pass, you send it to your iPhone and show that to the TSA agent and/or gate attendant.

Apple's getting a piece of that market with Passbook. Knowing that many companies, including Visa, MasterCard, Starbucks, and Intuit, are working to make mobile payments a part of mainstream retailing, the future seems to be wide-open around this feature. More than anything else about iOS 6, Passbook is the one I'm going to watch over time as I feel that it's a feature more and more people will use to help simplify their daily lives.

Would you believe that I'm excited about how Apple's changing the calling features on the iPhone? The iPhone will now be a better phone! Specifically, when you decline an incoming call, you can now instantly reply with a text message or set a reminder to return the call. You also can turn on "Do Not Disturb" to suppress all incoming calls and notifications. You will be able to enable this manually or schedule a recurring quiet time. You also will able to allow calls from your favorites or specific contact groups.

Mail hasn't received a major overhaul, but it's been redesigned a bit to be more streamlined for easier reading and writing. If only it would write for you!

In addition, the iOS 6 update will incorporate a VIP list. It's a preference that you establish that will send messages from designated users to a VIP inbox. No more missed message from the most important people in your life.

It also will be easier to add photos and videos to emails. Rather than attaching them, you'll just tap within the message you're composing and inset the photo or video on the fly.

Finally, and perhaps most logically, Mail will have an added function similar to many other apps: To refresh your mailboxes, simply swipe down.

Most of my clients know that one of the things I appreciate about Macs is that the OS does accessibility well. So if you or a member of your family is differently-abled, your Apple product has historically been easy to customize so that everybody can get the most from the devise.

With this release, iOS is catching up with three features for accessibility:

First is Guided Access, which is designed to help individuals with disabilities such as autism to remain on task and focused on content. Guided Access enables an iOS device to be limited to one app by disabling the Home button and restricting touch input to certain areas of the screen.

Next is VoiceOver, which is a screen reader for blind and low-vision users. VoiceOver is now integrated into Maps, AssistiveTouch, and Zoom.

Finally, Apple is now working with several manufacturers to introduce Made of iPhone digital hearing aids that will make it possible for those who wears hearing aids to easily use iPhones. That's a development that has been a long time coming, so I'm glad to see this happening. Also, for those of you kind readers that wear hearing aids currently, Apple's new iPhone has the following hearing aid ratings compatibility: iPhone 5 (Model A1428 – AT&T): M3, T4 and iPhone 5 (Model A1429 – Verizon/Sprint): M4, T4.

There are numerous other features and enhancements with iOS 6. These are just a few favorites that I wanted to share with Tech Me Back's Facebook friends. Don't hesitate to contact me if you have any questions about iOS 6 or other technology questions you may have!