Depending on which way you look at it, these are just catch ups from what other mobiles do and in a few cases they’re just adding more Apple lock in where as their counterparts are cross platform and better in all cases. It’s also not available on all devices and different features have different availability depending on your device. So check the link below for full details in the footnotes.
Maps: Depending on which way you look at it, they’re 5 years late and only after Google had provided for them all these years. It’s a mashup of Google Earth, navigation and maps with local and traffic data built it. If you’ve ever used Google Maps on Android then you know they’ve been doing this for years and on much older version of Android. It’s on Apple that it took this long to produce their own maps app. One big notable feature missing is public transport. I know they’re touting flyover but that’s essentially what Google earth is and let’s be honest that’s not a feature I’m looking forward to using and if I do it’s because I’m bored and have nothing else to do.
Siri: Basically Siri comes to only the latest iPad and adds 2 new features, you can now ask it about sports and restaurants.
Facebook Integration: As far as I’m concerned this should have been done from the start and before Twitter. But Apple being as stubborn as they are realised that they need this and they’re only 5 years too late on it. This also adds to the disjointed iOS sharing paradigms where apps are still very separate silos from each other. You can now share links and photos from Apple apps as well as being able to like apps on the App store.
Shared Photo Streams: As I mentioned in my earlier post this is just a roundabout way of sharing photos with other iOS users, Microsoft has been doing this for years with Live and Gallery. To me it’s a waste of development time, it’s a mashup of email attachments and social features like commenting on photos which realistically will probably have very low usage statistics. The best way to share photos with groups of people is still Facebook because you can control who sees the albums and everyone is already friends so you don’t need to manage that social graph aspect of it.
Passbook: This is another app that already exists in multiple forms in the App store. The good thing I see here is that it’s going to be based on partnerships that Apple makes. This is also a bad thing because more integration by others will mean it depends on Apple building these relationships and its likely going to be very US centric. No NFC which means no touch payments which is where it’s likely heading but again it’s late and unfinished. They show a lot of boarding passes and QR codes but in reality this never works in real scenarios, I’ve yet to get any barcode scanned correctly by checkout operators for my loyalty cards. And checkins are now a breeze via the airport kiosks.
Facetime over cellular: Well that should have been something that they do from the start, Skype and all other video calling apps already do this and they’re cross-platform which means you don’t need everyone to have an Apple device to do it.
Phone: Probably the feature that excites me the most is do not disturb, it basically puts your phone on silent during selected times. For me that means I can go to sleep in peace without hearing any dings for new emails etc. They also have quick shortcuts for texting a caller without answering and setting reminders to call someone back.
Mail: They’ve caught up the mail app to use the Twitter innovation of pull to refresh. You can now ADD ATTACHMENTS from inside a new email! Wait, this is Apple so there’s naturally a caveat and that is they can only be photos or videos from the gallery, honestly what did you expect?
Safari: iCloud tabs sync your open tabs between your Apple devices. And now you can see web pages in full screen when in landscape on iPhones.
Accessibility: Enhanced accessibility features such as motion controls.
Camera: Has been updated to take panoramas, only on 4S+.
Find my iPhone: Should be renamed to ‘Find my Apple Devices’ if you ask me, but here are a few new improvements like keeping a trail of the device rather than only live updates.
App Store: App store has been remodelled after 5 years. Nothing particularly new just a cosmetic refresh.