Apple is holding its Worldwide Developer's Conference this week in San Francisco. A key element of the proceedings is news about updates to OS X (the new version is called Mountain Lion) and iOS 6, which is slated for release in the autumn.
ZDNet's Eric Lai noted that iOS 6 will have more than 200 new features. He helpfully zeroed in on those with significant enterprise implications. These include video over cellular via Facetime, better maps, the opening of the Siri API and a feature allowing a lost phone to immediately be locked. There no doubt are others, but Lai presents an impressive primary list.
Michael Miller at PCMag's ForwardThinking agrees with Lai's assessment that the update to iOS is more incremental than revolutionary. He then goes through a rather impressive list of updates for both Mountain Lion and the mobile OS. At both the beginning and end of his piece, however, he suggests that the most important element is that the two operating systems are moving closer together. This is how he ends his story:
Overall, the changes in OS X Mountain Lion and iOS 6 won't seem to change any paradigms, but they will bring a lot of little improvements. Perhaps most importantly, they bring the two environments closer together, making things like iCloud support, reading mode, FaceTime, and Game Center cross-platform. That should both help users and help Apple keep its ecosystem strong.
There are many reactions -- some stronger than others -- whenever Apple does anything. Erica Ogg at GigaOm adds her two cents on the important features of iOS 6. For her, the keys are PasBook, which is designed to make travel easier; the new map application; a do not disturb feature and a way to more easily integrate photographs into email. Forbes has compiled several other takes on the conference.
Though most commentators seem to agree that there is no game-changer in iOS 6, several suggest that at least one new feature-Apple Maps-is important both because of what it brings to the table and the fact it excises Google Maps from the platform. Computerworld cites 9to5Mac (which offers some visuals of the iOS 6) and AllThingsD in assessing the quality of the new offering. The former, according to Computerworld, calls it an "incredible 3D mode" and the latter says it is designed to "blow your head off" (a curious customer retention tool, to say the least). The Computerworld story does a nice job of tracing the ramp up to the new feature.
The commentators appear to be correct in putting the emphasis on the integration of the Max OS and iOS as the key point. While opening Siri and jettisoning Google Maps are not insignificant moves, the closer linking of the mobile and desktop/laptop operating system positions the company moving forward. This is especially true in terms of Apple's relationship with the enterprise, which just a few years ago essentially didn't exist.