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iOS 6: What you need to know

Macworld Staff | June 14, 2012
It’s been a busy start to Apple’s Worldwide Developers Conference: Not only was Monday’s keynote jam-packed with information, but the company continued to release products and programs throughout the day—enough to make anyone’s head reel a bit.

It’s been a busy start to Apple’s Worldwide Developers Conference: Not only was Monday’s keynote jam-packed with information, but the company continued to release products and programs throughout the day—enough to make anyone’s head reel a bit.

To combat confusion and ease your vertigo, we’ve put together answers to some of the more frequently asked questions we received in regards to one of the major announcements to come out of WWDC—the planned update to Apple’s mobile operating system. Here’s a rundown of what to expect from iOS 6.

iOS 6 basics

What’s new in iOS 6?

Plenty! Siri and Maps get the most substantial upgrades: Siri will be able to answer your questions about sports, movies, and more; Maps now uses Apple’s own cartography and includes built-in turn-by-turn directions. Other updates include systemwide Facebook integration, a new app called Passbook, and all sorts of other odds and ends.

What devices will run iOS 6?

The new OS will run on the iPhone 3GS, iPhone 4, and iPhone 4S; the iPad 2 and third-generation iPad; and the fourth-generation iPod touch. Basically, if it’s a shipping iOS device as of this moment, it will run the new operating system.

Noticeably missing from that list is the original iPad. While it may seem surprising that a tablet that only debuted two years ago can’t run iOS 6, it’s really not—Apple hasn’t sold that version of the iPad for a while. And a growing number of newly released iPad apps require the faster processor and improved graphics of the two most recent models. From Apple’s perspective, it’s time for the original iPad to join devices like the iPhone 3G in unsupported bin.

Does every device get the same features?

Not quite. The iPhone 3GS gets left out of quite a few iOS 6 features—no flyover or turn-by-turn navigation in Maps, and it also won’t support Siri, Shared Photo Streams, FaceTime, VIP lists and flagged mailboxes in Mail, or the Offline Reading List. The iPhone 4 also misses out on flyovers, turn-by-turn navigation, and Siri. The iPad 2 remains Siri-less.

What about the new iPad?

The third-generation iPad will indeed join the iPhone 4S as the iOS devices that offer Siri support.

When does iOS 6 come out?

Apple has said only: “fall.” By our calendar, that means sometime between September 22 and December 20 of this year. For those of you who think the past is prologue, iOS 5 arrived on October 12 last year.

How much does it cost?

iOS 6 will be a free update.

Will I need to connect my iPhone to a Mac or PC to upgrade?

No. iOS 5 brought the ability for iOS devices to update their software over the air, without any PC involvement. That extends to the iOS 6 update, which will be able to be downloaded and installed directly on your device.

 

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