Apple's iOS operating systems for iPhone and iPad have long integrated GPS and location-based features, but the iOS 6 operating system will put location technology to work more extensively than ever before. Let's take a look at iOS 6 GPS from top to bottom.
In iOS 6, you will see many changes to the familiar Maps app. First and foremost, the new app will include spoken turn-by-turn directions. Maps, with its familiar blue dot to show your location, has been a modest navigation aid at best, and users have had to purchase dedicated turn-by-turn navigation apps for real assistance. Apple has partnered with GPS-maker TomTom to make turn-by-turn an integral part of the app. TomTom is known for its strong route-preview features and real-time traffic detection and avoidance, so expect to see strong functionality in these categories as well.
Another big change in the Maps app is the use of Apple's own mapset, rather than Google's maps. Apple will be pumping up its Maps with a Flyover feature that provides 3D aerial views of major metro areas.
Apple's voice assistant, Siri, will also play a role in Maps and navigation. Users will be able to access directions and do searches for restaurants, lodging and much more simply by asking Siri.
Next to Maps, the addition of a new, free Passbook app will change the way you interact with location services and GPS on the iPhone and iPad. Passbook presents the user with an array of services that are triggered by time and location. One of the best examples of this feature is the capability to show the correct airplane boarding pass, automatically, as you move about an airport. "If your gate changes after you’ve checked in for your flight, Passbook will even alert you to make sure you’re not relaxing in the wrong terminal," states Apple. Passbook also promises to organize and automate movie tickets, retail coupons, loyalty cards and more in one place.
Find My iPhone, Find My Friends
Find my iPhone is a super-useful app that will live on in iOS 6 with few changes. Find my iPhone lets you see the location of your phone on a map (your Apple password is required), and you may send a sound or readable message to your iPhone, or completely freeze your phone's functionality. I haven't needed Find my iPhone for a lost phone outside of the home, but it's even useful for finding a misplaced phone around the house.
The free Find My Friends app is useful in many situations, such as keeping track of family and friends in a range of locations, including shopping malls, city streets, amusement parks, ski areas, and more. "Those who share their locations with you appear on a map so you can quickly see where they are and what they’re up to. And with iOS 6, you can get location-based alerts — like when your kids leave school or arrive home. Find My Friends can also notify others about your location, so you can stay connected or keep track of the ones you love," states Apple.
Apple has been steadily improving its entire suite of photo services, even as it has upgraded the cameras significantly on the iPhone and iPad. In iOS 6, users will still have the opportunity to geotag all of their photos and to show, sort, and organize photos by the locations where they were taken. A significant new feature of iOS 6 is the ability to share photo streams. "Friends using iCloud on an iOS 6 device or a Mac running Mountain Lion get the photos delivered immediately in the Photos app or iPhoto. You can even view shared photo streams on Apple TV. If the folks you're sharing with aren’t using an Apple device, they can view your photos on the web," states Apple.
With free turn-by-turn directions, new Apple maps, and Passbook, iOS 6 is an exciting new operating system that makes powerful use of GPS and location services.