Apple recently updated the iOS software that runs on iPhone, iPad and iPod touches to iOS 6. The main headline-grabber has been Apple’s poor offering in place of Google Maps, but there are a great deal of positive additions, tweaks and improvements that carry on Apple’s fine tradition of useful things that ‘just work’. Apple have also added some new features that developers can take advantage of to improve and promote their apps.
Facebook / Twitter Integration
Facebook and Twitter integration are now built-in with iOS, making it easier for developers to connect their apps to the wider world. Being able to make posts directly from apps also gives apps a greater chance of being discovered, so developers should take note to get the best out of better social integration.
Smart App Banners
These new banners are the best way to let a user know about your app from your website. They are extremely simple to implement, and provide a user-friendly direct link from your website to your app in the form of a neat banner running across the top of the page on your iOS device. The smart banner can even pick up in the app where the user left the web if they already have the app – for example remembering what page a user was on and launching the relevant part of the app.
For some, the disappointment of Apple Maps is a nuisance but for others it is an opportunity. Developers can plug in to the Apple Maps functionality in their apps using MapKit. What’s more, developers creating route-finding apps can actually register with Apple and have their services implemented into the system. This is a great chance for new developers to get a foot in the door before Apple get their Maps up to scratch!
Passbook was one of Apple’s main touted new features with iOS6 – exchange your printed ticked or boarding pass for a neatly designed screen on your iPhone with a barcode or QR code. But so far, not very many companies are offering tickets in this way. Come on, people, the paperless ticket revolution is just around the corner! All we need is the developers and services to get on board so I don’t need to printing big flappy paper tickets out every time we take a cheap flight or go to a gig!
Are you a developer? What are your favourite new features in iOS6? Are there any others you would like to see added?