5 iOS 6 features for real estate pros

Facebook integration, Apple Maps present intriguing possibilities

Last week, Apple unveiled the highly anticipated new iPhone 5. At the event, Apple CEO Tim Cook also announced a new line of iPods and revealed the latest version of the company’s mobile operating system, iOS 6, which will power the iPhone, iPad and iPod touch. The iPhone 5 will ship with iOS 6 and will be available Friday (it’s currently available for preorder). However, iOS 6 will be available tomorrow as a free upgrade.

What you need to know before upgrading

Apple says 66 percent of downloads come directly from iOS devices, and the three key stores (iTunes, the App Store and the iBook Store) will be updated with the release of iOS 6. Also, the desktop version of iTunes is slated for a much-needed upgrade in late October. The application boasts a simplified design, new library views and deeper iCloud integration. 

The upgrade is available for these devices: iPhone 4S, iPhone 4, iPhone 3GS, the new iPad, iPad 2, and iPod touch (4th generation). However, not all of the features of iOS 6 will work on all devices. Be sure to cross-reference this helpful support chart created by MacRumors to check the compatibility of your device. Also, if you have "enhanced" your iOS device via a jailbreak, you may have to decide between those customizations and the new offerings of iOS 6.

5 new features real estate pros can use

Maps

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Back in June 2012, Apple announced its new mapping application at the Worldwide Developers Conference. The new platform is developed by Apple from the ground up and replaces Google Maps as the native map app on the iPhone. The app features Flyover, which allows a user to view cities and points of interest from a sky view, turn-by-turn navigation (Android users have enjoyed this feature for quite some time) and traffic reports.

As a consumer and a publisher in the real estate industry, I am incredibly intrigued with Apple Maps. It remains to be seen how the product will stack up against Google Maps.

As Inman News columnist Gahlord Dewald observed in his article, "Apple keeps mobile landscape in flux":

"Apple’s walled garden approach may make adjusting to the new map landscape a little more opaque than most marketers would like. Now would be a good time to examine what sort of traction you get from current location and mapping initiatives driven by Google map technologies.

"This will help you adjust to any disruptions that occur as the new map landscape unfolds."

Facebook

As expected, Facebook is globally integrated with iOS 6. As stated on Apple’s website, "Now it’s easier than ever to interact with the world’s largest social network. And there’s no need to leave your app to do it. Share a photo to Facebook right from Camera or Photos. Post your location right from Maps. Brag about a high score right from Game Center."

Realtors will really enjoy this feature. The ability to post a status update without leaving the current utilized app is extremely efficient. Contacts and Calendar are also integrated with Facebook, allowing you to keep touch with family, friends and clients.

Shared photo streams

Apple has added shared photo streams to iOS 6. They made a good decision to support non-iOS users as well. If you are not using an Apple device, the photos are shared via the Web. If you have Mountain Lion or an iOS 6 device, photos are delivered automatically. As you can imagine, this presents a wonderful opportunity to share property and other real estate-related photos with clients and colleagues. Photos can even be viewed on an AppleTV connected screen. You can learn more here.

Upgraded phone features

With all the super-cool things you can do on smartphones (browsing the Web, email, photography, video, etc.), we sometimes forget that you can actually makes phone calls with the device! Apple has upgraded the phone features with iOS 6, and it’s about time. Apple has added custom and preset messages, reply with SMS (text message), and reminders. Best of all, Apple has finally added a do-not-disturb option, which the busy real estate pro will appreciate.

Safari

Apple has revamped Safari with iOS 6. Some of the new features include an offline reading list, a full-screen view in landscape mode, which should be more prevalent on the new 4-inch iPhone screen and iCloud Tabs. The iCloud Tabs feature is similar to Google Chrome in allowing a user to start browsing right where they left off on another device.

Apple is making iOS 6 available tomorrow as a free download. The new system includes a ton of new features and showcases further integration with Mountain Lion (Apple’s latest desktop operating system) and iCloud.

Tom Flanagan is the director of information technology at Residential Properties Ltd. in Providence, R.I. You can contact him at tflanagan@residentialproperties.com or @tflan on Twitter.

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