Apple introduced iOS6 last week and is causing some ripples in an already volatile OS market. It introduced some 200+ new features and claims that it will take your iOS devices in an entirely new direction. First, we’ll validate if this claim is indeed true and then the next question is what are the other OS guys doing to keep and grow their share? Our mobile team compares some of the sleekest features in iOS6 with Android’s Jelly Bean and Windows8. We’ll do feature comparisons for Siri, iOS Maps, and Social integration in part 1 of this blog.
1.Expanded Siri functionality
Apple’s very own, Siri has become better. According to iOS apps developers, these new features have provided them with endless possibilities to think something new and program unique customized apps for iPhone, iPad and iPod Touch. Here, Siri not only follows the user’s voice command but also does many other things that a normal phone cannot do. With iOS 6, Siri understands more languages and so used in more countries. Siri services have been tied into more databases, and will now answer more questions regarding movie info and times at local theatres, have more access to actor and director profiles, sport scores and schedules. They’re planning to make Siri ‘eyes free’ and tying up with major automakers like BMW, Audi, and Mercedes etc. This feature should be available for cars in 2013.
There are two very Quasi API (Siri Text Message API and Calendar API) functions available for development today, but still Apple has not officially announced the intent to open API, although this seems highly likely.
What are Jelly Bean and Windows 8 doing?
Since Apple introduced the Siri for Iphone4S, there was pressure on other platforms to deliver similar service. Windows Phone takes a different approach with voice control for apps. Although windows phone voice assistant does not understand contextual search queries, it took a very practical for a hands-free experience. In Android devices with Jelly Bean, speech recognition is about to get a big update. Google has always allowed for voice search and dictation across the entire OS, but now it taps into Knowledge Graph and a built-in speech recognizer that will be in future devices.
2. iOS maps with 3D and flyover option
Apple Introduced a new map application in iOS 6 that will replace Google maps as the default map application on iOS devices. The elements in the maps are vector based and also available in 3D to offer the user a realistic flair. Apple engineers have included in maps turn by turn directions that work with Siri, local search with 100 million business listing from around the world, Yelp integration , a free crowd – sourced traffic services and 3D mapping with Google earth like feature called ‘Fly over’.
In iOS 6 and later, MapKit offers support for providing map-based direction to the user. Third party apps can be providers of directions or they can use the Map app. To generate direction request to Maps App, use the openMapsWithItems:launchOptions: or openInMapsWithLaunchOptions: method of MKMapItem. Maps attempts to display direction from the start and end points you specify. Apps that offer routing information, such as turn-by-turn navigation services, can now register as a routing app and make those services available to the entire system.
Developers must do the following:
1 .Configure your app’s info.plist with the keys needed to indicate the type of direction your app offers and the handlers you use to process incoming directions requests.
2. Declare the map regions that your app supports GeoJson file.
3. Process direction request URLs when they are sent to app.
What are Jelly and Windows8 doing?
All Windows Phone 8 devices will feature Nokia Maps, powered by NAVTEQ data. The Nokia 3D Maps will offer 3D modelling and first-party directions with traffic information, turn-by-turn voice navigation, offline map support, apart from map control for developers. According to Microsoft, this will be available across all Windows Phone devices rather than limited to just Nokia devices. Also improved in this space is Local Scout, which will be able to list deals alongside location-based business listings. A location pinning feature will be available on the Nokia Transit start menu, and Nokia Drive will get the My Commute feature, starting from Live Tile information, to route selection and estimated time. For android Jelly Bean which Google showed off a few weeks ago at its special media event, 3D building and offline caching will be added to Map apps with combination of search, turn-by-turn navigation and street view. Plus compass mode employs a phone’s gyroscope to give you 360-degree for interior views.
3. Going Social
Integration with Facebook, much as they did with Twitter in iOS 5. , Its now easier to share photos, update statuses or other postings on Facebook. You will now be able to share photos and safari links on Facebook within the respective apps using the share button. The friends profile information has been integrated directly into the contact list and calendar, and also updated automatically. Photo Streams allows you to create groups that are automatically notified when pictures are added, and these photos are automatically delivered to their iOS Devices. If you have an AppleTV, your pictures can even be transmitted to one that has access to your Photo Stream, so your Apple TV screen saver will always display the latest pictures, automatically.
The Social. Framework provides a simple interface for accessing the user’s social media accounts, This framework supplements the twitter framework that was introduced in iOS5 and adds support for Facebook and Sina’s Weibo service. App can use this framework to post status updates and images to user’s account. .It works with account framework to provide single sign on functionality. UIKit framework also provides a new UIActivityViewController class for displaying the action that user performed like post content to social sites like Facebook or Twitter.
What are Jelly Bean and Windows8 doing?
Windows 8 doesn’t just feature Facebook and LinkedIn contacts in its People contact book, it lets you anchor people on your Start screen, see status updates and share across multiple social networks from all over the OS. When it comes to photos, Microsoft has integrated Facebook and Flickr at the core, letting you see images stored on your accounts, other peoples’ accounts, and up on your own SkyDrive cloud storage account. Android always had a great Facebook sharing feature. Users can share and upload from pretty much anywhere in OS, or from most Android apps. Users can pull Facebook data for their contacts already stored on the devices or pull all Facebook friend into contacts. With Jelly Bean OS, Android beam apps now supports NFC-based picture and video sharing with other NFC-enabled devices as well as NFC-based connectivity with Bluetooth devices.
More in Part 2…