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Device operating systems

Apple iOS 6 Shakes Up Mobile Communications

The latest version of the Apple Inc. (Nasdaq: AAPL) mobile phone operating system has some updates that should have the wireless operators wondering how they'll cope and why they didn’t think of it first.

That's because a number of the new features include revitalizations of the communications experience. Apple Senior VP of iOS Software Scott Forstall announced the updates Monday at Apple's Worldwide Developer Conference keynote.

iOS 6 includes more than 200 new features, and some the most advanced ones center on interaction. Forstall confirmed Apple's rumored partnership with Facebook , which will let users post to Facebook from any of the phone's apps, integrate their contacts' birthdays into the calendar and "like" apps in the App Store. The integration also includes Apple's virtual assistant Siri, so you can speak your updates, now in Korean, Mandarin, Cantonese and many more languages.

If speaking's not your thing, iOS 6 lets you automatically reply to incoming calls with a text message or set up a reminder to reply to that person later. If you're particularly busy, you can activate iOS 6's "do not disturb" feature that mutes all incoming calls and dims text messages during specified times, alerting the caller that you're busy.

Apple will also let users set up a list for people whose calls need to get through even during that do-not-disturb time. Or, a different rule can let a call go through if the person calls more than twice in under three minutes. Likewise in iOS's Mail, you can select VIPs and be alerted when they send you an email.

Interestingly, LR Mobile has seen similar functionality in development in AT&T Inc. (NYSE: T)'s Innovation Lab, but Apple beat its partner to the punch. (See AT&T Defends Carrier Incubators and From AT&T Labs: A New(er) Network Vision.)

FaceTime: Coming soon to 3G
Perhaps most notable -- and potentially most worrisome to the wireless operators -- is that iOS 6 will let users make FaceTime video calls over the cellular network and answer them on their iPhone, iPad or Mac via a unified number. The service will work via the iPhone on carriers' 3G networks or over Long Term Evolution (LTE) on the iPad 2.

Apple has said in the past that it was waiting for operators' networks to be reliable enough to enable cellular video chat. Two-way video chat adds extra strain to the network that operators have yet to really have to cope with. With new tiered data plans, moreover, using the service over 3G might not be that appealing. (See How Will Apple Support LTE Voice Services? and Apple's iCloud Lets Wi-Fi Take the Strain.)

A beta version of iOS 6 is available to developers today, and the OS will be available to consumers this fall, presumably around the time the iPhone 5 is launched. (See Apple Seeks 4G Talent.)

— Sarah Reedy, Senior Reporter, Light Reading Mobile

sarahthomas1011 12/5/2012 | 5:30:37 PM
re: Apple iOS 6 Shakes Up Mobile Communications

I'm a little surprised Apple didnt reserve network-based FaceTime for the (presumably) LTE iPhone 5. It's more equipped to handle it, although it'll also hurt with data caps. 

krishanguru143 12/5/2012 | 5:30:31 PM
re: Apple iOS 6 Shakes Up Mobile Communications



“If speaking's not your thing, iOS 6 lets you automatically reply to incoming calls with a text message or set up a reminder to reply to that person later. If you're particularly busy, you can activate iOS 6's "do not disturb" feature that mutes all incoming calls and dims text messages during specified times, alerting the caller that you're busy.

 

Apple will also let users set up a list for people whose calls need to get through even during that do-not-disturb time.”

 

None of this is actually new and is rather quite “old” technology.

Since 2004 all of the phones I have had would allow you to send a canned response(s) when a call comes in.  When a call comes in, the option is there and you can even customize the canned response(s).  My current phones only gives you the option if you reject the call, this way the UI is cleaner.

My current phone has something similar to DND, so once again, it is nothing new.  New to iOS, but not new overall.

While my current phone doesn’t have a white or blacklist built-in, those apps have been around for over a decade.  You can allow certain callers to come through while sending others to VM or have an SMS sent to them.  The apps are cheap enough and with some being free that it really doesn’t need to be built-in.  Actually having it not built-in is better, I can use a text editor to modify the files rather than being forced to use the UI.  I can also only allow just my contacts, certain contacts, no calls, all calls or certain non-contact numbers or even numbers with wildcards.

As for FaceTime over 3G, why doesn’t Apple adopt the current video calling standard?  The standard that has been around since 2004 and was designed for EDGE and UMTS.




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