If you are an Apple Developer like me, then you probably watched Tim Cook’s very first WWDC on Monday. For mobile developers, there is a lot to be excited about. Personally, I’m very excited about the API’s for Facebook. I know it may seem like a very mundane thing, but I can’t tell you how many times one of the comments on my zApps ends up being someone who says something like “give me a way to share on Facebook, and I’ll give you 5 stars”. Of course, there are ways to do this, but in iOS 6, we are talking a few simple API calls. For Cordova/PhoneGap users, I’m sure a plugin is already in the works, or perhaps I will make one once I finish moving (purchased a new house, woot).
Anyhow, iOS 6 brings over 200 new tweaks. I downloaded the beta copy from the developer’s portal. Unfortunately for most of you, you must have a registered SUID with Apple to run this beta, but honestly, you really shouldn’t run beta software on your primary communication device unless you are asking for trouble. I of course justify it by saying “I’m a developer!” but who am I kidding? I won’t update my Apps for it quite yet.
iOS6 brings a pretty cool new update to the maps. Apple has completely forsaken Google Maps, and have baked their own topography solution. I’m kinda annoyed to see that my iPhone 4 can’t use the new Flyover 3D feature, but the youTube videos of it look fantastic. I still remember playing the original Flight Simulator (on Floppy Disk) on my father’s computer. We’ve surely come a long way.
In addition to Facebook API’s and updated map app, we get a number of interface improvements, a new way to track tickets, updated notification center, and on and on. Nothing really stands out as amazing, but that is never really what has made Apple so successful. It’s the little things that sets an Apple product apart, and this update polishes that experience. Developers can now upload photos and video directly from HTML. Cross your fingers for Nitro support in UIWebView!
If you are a developer, there are two ways to load the iOS beta. You must use the phone with your provisioning profile, or else even if you download and install iOS 6, your phone won’t be usable. Reverting back to iOS 5, I hear, is a pain, so be sure to backup your Apps and settings in iTunes before you take the plunge.
Update to the new iOS by holding down the “Apple” or Option key, while clicking “Restore” in iTunes. Instead of restoring from a backup, a Finder window will appear allowing you to select the iOS beta file that you downloaded from the Apple Developers site. Sit patiently for 20 minutes or so, and your phone should be ready to go!