What to expect in iOS 6

We all know Apple's iPad event is tomorrow, but what about the future of iOS?

iOS 6
We already know that Apple's mobile and desktop devices are steadily moving closer together, but what's the next step for iOS? Apple

The Apple event to allegedly announce the iPad 3 is tomorrow and this is as good a time as any to talk about what's in store for the OS that will eventually run on it. iOS 5 brought us notifications, Twitter integration, and more cloud support, among other things, but what's next for Apple's mobile OS?

There are many rumors to what will be available in iOS 6, but I have a few on my wish list that hopefully will make it into the next major update.

Multitasking
The current multitasking is useful, definitely, but simultaneously running apps would be better. Screenshot by Antuan Goodwin/CNET

True multitasking
Earlier versions of iOS didn't have any kind of multitasking, and, judging by the television commercials at the time, it was a huge selling point for Android phones (I remember the phrase "Multitasking all over the place!"). Apple added in a sort of multitasking in iOS 4 back in 2010 that technically suspends apps, rather than lets them run simultaneously in the background.

Though the current brand of multitasking is useable, it would be great if iOS 6 included real multitasking allowing people to run separate programs simultaneously.

Siri for everybody
One of the most talked about updates when Apple launched the iPhone 4S was the ability to talk to Siri to help with dictating e-mails and messages, get information like weather reports and answers from Wolfram Alpha, and many other interactions. The only problem was, Siri was only available on the iPhone 4S.

Since then, we've had reports of people who were able to make Siri run on a jailbroken iPhone 4, but as the linked article states, you have to jump through a lot of hoops for the convenience.

Siri
I still have an iPhone 4 so you can bet I want Siri to be added to older hardware in the iOS 6 feature list. Screenshot by Jason Parker/CNET

Hopefully, with the iPhone 4S showing record sales compared with previous iPhone launches, Apple has become less worried about it being a selling point and will let the rest of the iOS users have Siri on older hardware (even if it's just on newer iPads and the iPhone 4). I would also hope that Apple would let us finally have some extra voices to do the talking. I'm hoping my dream of having the voice of Samuel L. Jackson reading my e-mail will become a reality.

Better directions, with voice!
The iPhone's map features are pretty great already, but a feature many have clamored for is still not available on iOS: turn-by-turn directions with voice. The map app already lets you find your location via GPS, get directions from anywhere with multiple routes to your destination, and helps you find shops and restaurants easily--just like every other smartphone.

As any Android user will tell you, Google Maps already has turn-by-turn voice directions standard. In iOS 6 we hope Apple comes out with its own brand of turn-by-turn directions (why not use Siri's voice?) so iOS users can take advantage of those great map features when we need them most: while behind the wheel.

Facebook
It's true we already have a Facebook app for iOS, but having it integrated just like Twitter (in iOS 5) would make it much more useful. Facebook

Facebook integration
iOS 5 already brought Twitter Integration to iOS devices, and frankly it was kind of a head-scratcher that Facebook didn't get similar treatment. Hopefully iOS 6 will add the ability to quickly transfer photos, links, videos, and more to Facebook at the touch of a share button.

It's important to note that in the preview release of Mountain Lion, Facebook integration is noticeably absent, so we wonder if Apple will ever make this jump. Frankly, with so many Facebook users out there, it seems like a no-brainer for iOS 6, but there may be other factors involved.

More cloud integration
We're already seeing deeper cloud integration in Apple's preview release of Mountain Lion (more info at the above link), and we expect to see many of those features mirrored in iOS 6. You already can download an app, set a reminder, change a contact, and more, and those changes will be reflected across all your devices.

In iOS 6, we expect to see much the same features we saw in the preview for Mountain Lion. The Document Library will be especially useful; it lets you manage and edit the most recently used documents in the appropriate apps on your iOS device. This will mean the document you edited at work can be further edited while out on the road using your iOS device, and your changes will show up everywhere.

 

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