Apple’s latest keynote is almost upon us. On Monday 11th June, CEO Tim Cook will conduct Apple’s traditional mid-year report, which will surely include some interesting news for owners of iOS devices.
Those hoping to see the iPhone 5 are likely to be disappointed, since the new phone is expected to be announced in September. Likewise, you shouldn’t expect to be gawping in awe of the new Apple TV, because this seems to be a project for later, too. So, the biggest announcement outside of Apple’s desktop line-up will be iOS 6.0 (if indeed, that’s what it will be called).
When a new iPhone OS is on the horizon, Apple fans get hysterical. From mobbing Apple workers to rummaging through the trash cans of Cupertino, bloggers will stop at nothing to try and get a sniff of what’s in the new version. We’ve compiled a round-up of the most credible iOS 6 rumors (and some that seem to belong to the realms of pure fiction). Check back on Monday and we’ll tell you which ones come to pass.
Place a bet on Facebook integration in iOS 6.0 and don’t expect to earn much if you win. Apple is likely to give more prominence to Facebook in version six, just as it did for Twitter in iOS 5. As 9to5Mac points out, Tim Cook has been dropping hints already that Apple is working on iOS Facebook integration.
There are several possible ways in which Facebook could be integrated into iOS, and none have been ruled out by the rumor merchants. Potential features could include:
- Integration of Facebook friends list into iOS contacts
- Facebook calendar events synced with iOS calendar
- One-click posting of iPhone/iPad photos to Facebook
- Ability to send Facebook chat messages using iMessage (similar to Windows Phone Messaging)
- An ‘app-liking’ feature that posts links to users’ favorite apps to Facebook
Credibility rating: 90% – This should be the big news of the iOS 6.0 announcement, and something that lots of sources seem to agree on. After Twitter support last time round, Facebook support would make sense. More than credible!
One of the most persistent iOS 6 rumors is that Apple will ditch Google Maps in favor of an alternative navigation app. This rumor is strengthened by Apple’s acquisition of Swedish 3D mapping developer, C3 Technologies, back in late 2011.
This video of a 3D map of Oslo, made by C3 Technologies, demonstrates the power of its technology. If this can be reproduced as impressively in a scaled-down iOS version, iPhone and (especially) iPad users are in for a treat.
Credibility rating: 80% – As CultofMac points out, this rumor is supported by persistent leaks. What’s more, the timing of Google’s announcement yesterday of new 3D functions in Google Earth suggests the search firm is trying to take the shine off a coming Apple maps announcement.
‘Do not disturb’ mode for notifications
Anyone with lots of apps installed will know how annoying it can be to be interrupted by untimely notifications in iOS. This is true especially when playing games that require great concentration. Apple may introduce an option to silence notifications temporarily, which the user can toggle on and off.
Tabs and iCloud sync added to Safari
It seems that Safari will almost certainly get a new look in iOS 6. Gone will be the concept of opening pages in the background, and instead they will be shown in tabs, like the desktop version of Safari.
Rumors are that the address bar will get a makeover too, with it doubling as a search box. Although it remains to be seen which search engine Apple will choose!
More interestingly, it’s possible that Apple will introduce Safari synchronization via iCloud, meaning that a single browsing session could be accessed from any device. This is a feature that’s already available between Android and desktop versions of Chrome, and via the Chrome to Phone app.
Credibility rating: 70% – Safari has never been the strongest element of iOS, and it’s overdue for an overhaul, so these changes wouldn’t surprise us if they came to light.
Siri for iPad
By the end of next week we could be seeing Siri running on an iPad, if the rumors are true. Of course, it wouldn’t be able to conduct telephone commands like the iPhone 4S version, but commands for actions such as launching music, accessing the calendar, searching the internet or sending mail would all be present.
Credibility: 60% – It seems a bit odd to integrate Siri into the iPad since it’s been met with a mixed success on the iPhone, and essentially it’s still a beta product. However, stranger things have happened and it would bring the latest iPad in line with the iPhone 4S in terms of features.
Highlight most important contacts in Mail
iOS 6 could allow the user to mark the most important email senders. Known under the codename VIP Mail, this feature would display a single star to help the user access important messages and contacts more quickly.
Credibility rating: 60% – An update like this should not cause too many headaches for the developers at Apple, but precise details are still sketchy based on rumors.
New iTunes, App Store and iBook Store
Apple is rumored to be developing new features for its market applications, iTunes, App Store, and iBookStore. As mentioned before, this could include the ability to recommend things via Facebook, plus we could see major cosmetic changes to the applications, which are starting to look a bit stale.
The search engine application, Chomp, acquired earlier this year by Apple, could bring its expertize to iTunes, making it easier for users to find the kind of music and movies they’d be interested in.
Credibility: 50% – We’re almost certain that iTunes will undergo some modifications with the addition of Facebook support, but rumors talk of a delay in the integration of Chomp, so maybe this should be expected in the iOS 6.1 upgrade.
Other more ‘out there’ rumors
The internet is a breeding ground for rumors, and there’s plenty of iOS 6 gossip that’s a bit harder to digest than the previous ones we’ve mentioned. Here are some of the more far-fetched rumors:
Multi-session support for iPad: if this functionality isn’t announced at the keynote on June 11th, it’s certainly an idea worth keeping for the future. The principle would allow different people in a household to have different log-ins for the iPad, with the ability to set up separate configurations, separate application sets, and separate calendars, mail accounts, etc.
Open multiple applications simultaneously: could be relevant for the iPad but frankly ridiculous on the small screen of the iPhone or iPod touch. Barely conceivable.
Face recognition: since the inclusion of the front camera this idea has made its way into the imagination of iPhone users. A rumor probably started randomly hoping it would one day hit Tim Cook’s eyes.
Fingerprint recognition: in terms of security and privacy protection it would be a huge leap forward, but we’re afraid it’s just a pipedream. The closest you’ll get right now is Phone Security – Theft Protection, an app which fakes fingerprint recognition on your iPhone.
iOS 6 Beta running on iPod Touch: is seeing believing?
What about you? Have you heard any rumors about iOS 6 that we didn’t list in this post? Which do you think are most likely to be included? Will you give up on iOS if Apple doesn’t make enough changes in the next update?