Release and Controversy
At WWDC 2012, Apple announced the coming release of iOS 6, the latest software for the iPhone and iPad. Apple boasts that there will be more than 200 updates and improvements over the previous operating system, and have outlined a bevy of new features to be included in the new package.

Among these new features is what Phil Schiller, Apple’s senior vice president for worldwide marketing, has called a “redesigned app store to allow developers to provide moreinformation about their apps.” Apple has asserted that this release will make it easier for app developers to sell their product within a fair and balanced system.

App developers have retorted that the changes are simply not enough. They criticize thestore design, claiming that is just more of the same. “The top 100 paid apps list is very static and difficult to penetrate even with significant app sales,” says Ben Hamey, co-founder of Bonobo Pte.

Despite what has been said about the app store redesign and the ease with which app developers will be able to sell their product, it is impossible to deny the popularity that this coming update to iOS will have among developers. Currently, 7 out of 10 apps are developed for iOS, as reported by mobile analytics firm Flurry.

New Features
Among the new features included in iOS 6 will be an update to Siri, including newlanguages, the ability to launch apps, and Twitter, Facebook, and Yelp integration. Another key feature will be the new Passbook. Using this feature, a user will be able to keep all their important bits of paper, such as airplane tickets, gift cards, vouchers, and concert tickets, in one consolidated place – right on their Apple mobile device. It is interesting to note, however, that Apple has decided to distance themselves from mobile payment options, a service that Googleand Microsoft have already started exploring.

Yet another important feature will be App Banners on the Safari web browser. This will allow users to have instant access to an app, straight from Safari. With one touch, they can immediately start downloading an app or just jump straight to the app if they already have itinstalled without going through the App Store. App Banners will allow an instantaneous, fluid,and functional switch from web browsing to using an app.

Facebook Integration
The most important new feature may be Facebook integration with iOS devices that will allow instant access to Facebook within web browsers, Siri, and apps. With this addition, users will be able to “like” apps on the app store and purchase apps based on what friends are using. Facebook integration will also exist within an app, so users will be able to share photos, scores,and other bits of information with their Facebook friends. Consider the social media integration incorporated in the previous incarnation of Apple’s iOS. Twitter integration was included with the main apps on iOS 5, and it allowed sharing ofphotos and in-app tweeting. This integration between apps and social media has allowed users toshare something they normally would only be able to experience by themselves with theirfriends, all with just a single sign-in. Twitter integration with iOS 5 meant developers needed tostart thinking about why users would want to share their app with other people.

Now think about the ubiquity of Facebook. Think about the way it fits into our day-to-day lives seamlessly and how it does so without us being consciously aware of it. We post incredibly personal information about ourselves and our day for friends, family, prospective employers, and even the occasional stalker. Facebook integration with iOS 6 creates anopportunity for developers to make apps that are a part of a user’s daily life. Sharing an impressive score from a game, a creative drawing, or a funny photo can become as inconspicuous as posting a status update about a delicious breakfast, a new relationship, or how weird Prometheus was. When an app can be integrated with our lives through Facebook, it becomes far more meaningful. The user doesn’t experience the app simply from the moment it is opened to the moment it is closed. Now the experience exists in a space outside of the app’s original confines, in a social universe that allows it to spread and be shared. If Facebook integration is as significant as one would hope, then iOS 6 may make apps socially relevant like never before.

Prit Patel is a Public Relations intern at Appency with an interest in technology, culture, and viewers like you.

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