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The Top 6 Features of iOS 6.0

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The 3rd Generation iPad

Photo © Apple, Inc.

With over 200 new and updated features, Apple's iOS 6.0 update represents a substantial upgrade for iPad, iPhone and iPod Touch users. But many of these changes such as improved language support and better JavaScript performance in the Safari browser will go unnoticed to most users. So which new features are you likely to notice right away?

  • Improved Siri Comes to the iPad

This one is a double whammy. Not only has Siri been improved to give you better results and answer a wider range of questions, but it is now compatible with the iPad 3. It even has a pretty slick iPad implementation, with Siri sliding in from the side to take up only a portion of the screen while she answers your questions.

So what you can you ask her? Siri can now give you all kinds of sports scores, stats and scheduling information. She knows a lot about movies, including local movies and reviews, as well as restaurants, integrating Yelp to help you find the good spots and OpenTable to help you with reservations. Siri can also send a tweet, update Facebook, launch an app and give you 'eyes free' support in supported automobiles.

In addition to debuting on the iPad, Siri has also come to the 5th generation iPod Touch.

  • Apple Maps

Google Maps, which has been a pre-installed app on the iPad and iPhone for years, has been replaced with Apple Maps. But because Apple designed the Google Maps app, both have similar interfaces, so you won't have a learning curve using the new Maps application. Some neat features in the new Maps app include the ability to get a 3D view (including 3D flyovers of major cities), traffic information with warnings about accidents and road construction, local search results with Yelp reviews, Siri integration for getting directions and the big new feature: turn-by-turn directions using data provided by TomTom.

Find that you miss Google Maps? Google is working on a version that will be downloadable from the App Store.

  • Share Photo Stream With Your Friends

Photo Stream was a great addition in the last iOS update, allowing photos and videos to be automatically be shared between devices that were connected to the same Apple ID. But it was a closed implementation with no way to share those photos with your friends and family... until now. Shared Photo Stream will let you create new photo streams that can not only be viewed by your friends on their iPhone, iPad or iPod Touch, but can also be seen on their Apple TV.

Anyone that has Apple TV knows how mesmerizing the slideshow can be when it is hooked into Photo Stream. It'll be really cool to pull up a friend's photos when they come around to visit.

  • Connect to Facebook

In the last update, the iPad and iPhone got connected to Twitter, with built-in integration making it much easier to tweet a web page or a photo. Now, that same type of integration comes to Facebook, with a single sign-in located in the settings allowing you to easily share on the popular social network. You can even use your voice to make a status update thanks to Siri.

Connect Facebook to Your iPad

  • Redesigned App Store

While the functionality remains relatively the same, the new app store is one of the first features many users will notice about the update. Rather than having small tabs with app information, the newly redesigned store has large profiles of each app that includes a screenshot. The intention here is to give you a nice look at the app before you drill down into the profile to get more information.

And for iPad users, the store finally breaks the Games category into different sub-categories like role-playing games, puzzles, etc.

  • Passbook (iPhone/iPod Touch only)

Passbook is Apple's starting point of turning iDevices into an electronic wallet. Passbook will store boarding passes, movie tickets, store cards and other passes and display a barcode for interacting with those passes. This feature only works on the iPhone and iPod Touch, which makes sense considering most of us don't carry our iPad every place we go and have it at the ready to whip out all the time. However, it remains to be seen if Passbook will pop up on the soon-to-be-announced much-rumored iPad Mini.

  • Clock App for iPad

How does a list of 6 new features get a 7th feature? With Passbook only coming to the iPhone and iPod Touch, it wouldn't be fair to leave the iPad with one less feature. And perhaps that is what Apple was thinking when they decided to add the Clock app to the iPad. The Clock app can display world clocks, allowing you to pick any spot in the world and display the current time. It also includes an alarm, stopwatch and a timer.

Read about all the features added in iOS 6

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