At Apple's annual developers conference this year, Scott Forstall, senior vice president of iOS software, introduced a slew of new features for its latest mobile OS.
Among them are updates to the virtual personal assistant/voice command software Siri, integration with a handful of automotive manufacturers, message replies for incoming calls and the ability to FaceTime over a mobile network.
While it's nice to see that iOS 6 will boast 200 new features compared to the previous iteration, some have been long overdue. Integrated Facebook photo sharing and turn-by-turn navigation have been available on other mobile operating systems for some time now. Here, we take a look at the new features of iOS 6, and see whether these services have already existed on other platforms. Though some of these features existed on Android before Ice Cream Sandwich (Android 4.0), I used it in this chart because it is the most recent version of Google's OS.
|New iOS 6 features||Android 4.0||Windows Phone 7.5|
|Launch native apps by voice||S-Voice, third party||Microsoft Tellme|
|Launch third-party apps by voice||S-Voice||Microsoft Tellme|
|Message replies for incoming calls||Yes||No|
|Set call reminders||No||No|
|Video calling over mobile network||Google Talk||Third-party apps|
|Offline reading of web pages||Yes||Third-party apps|
|Natively share photo streams||Galaxy S III only||No|
|Natively store and access tickets||No||No|
|3D mapping||Coming to Google Maps||No|
|Info about nearby businesses||Yes||Yes|
Drilling down the details
Sometimes, breaking down what each OS offers depends on what devices you're considering. The Samsung Galaxy S III, which is slated to release in the coming weeks, promises a voice assistant known as S-Voice.
Similar to Apple's Siri, S-Voice is more than just a voice-command feature. It can launch apps (both native and third-party ones), schedule events and fetch weather info.
Microsoft's voice-action software, Tellme, isn't as complex as S-Voice or Siri, but it can launch applications as well.
Likewise, Apple's Photo Stream feature, which does exactly what it sounds like, is similar to the Galaxy S III's Share Shot. Both services let you share photo streams instantaneously with your friends.
Keep in mind that only a few devices are equipped with Android 4.0, so devices with Gingerbread or earlier may not have all of the features described above. However, it's easy to see how Google's mobile OS has forced Apple's hand into incorporating some highly demanded features. Windows Phone, on the other hand, has a long way to go, compared to both OSes.