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Refined iOS 6 highlighted by stunning Maps overhaul

Dan Moren | Sept. 20, 2012
Following on the heels of the massive update that was iOS 5, iOS 6 might seem like merely a modest update. But that doesn't make it insignificant by any means: A key app has received a substantial overhaul in this latest update, Apple has added an intriguing new--if yet unproven--built-in app, and the company has even, for the first time, removed a piece of software present since the iPhone's launch.

The URL for the Shared Photo Stream is accessible from its settings page, which you can get to by tapping on the blue arrow next to your Shared Photo Stream (on your iPhone) or tapping the Edit button and then tapping on your the desired stream (on your iPad). The URL is listed at the bottom of this setting screen, right below a Share Link button, which will let you email, text/iMessage, tweet, Facebook, or copy the URL. The preferences also let you remove people from your stream, or delete the stream entirely.

If you're viewing a stream that doesn't belong to you, you can tap on the blue arrow to see who else is subscribed or unsubscribe yourself.

Panorama Users of the iPhone 4S and iPhone 5 get one additional feature: the new Panorama mode. Panorama photos are nothing new--plenty of apps exist to make this job easier, and I even remember using disposable panorama film cameras years ago. But Apple, as is its wont, has attempted to make the process of taking a Panorama shot even easier.

Fire up the Camera app in portrait orientation and tap the Options button. Below the toggles for Grid and HDR, you'll see a new Panorama button. Press it and you're off to the races.

Like other panorama photo apps, iOS captures a scene by having you pan across it, rather than the old-fashioned messy technique of taking a bunch of pictures and having software stitch them together. A small box shows you where to pan, while you keep the camera steady using an arrow that points at the centerline. If you start to move too fast, iOS will tell you to slow down.

The process generates an impressively high-quality--and rather large--image file that rings in at 10,800 by 2470 pixels. (A test shot I did ended up as a 17.8MB file, so keep that in mind before you start emailing them to your friends.) It's worth noting, however, that this isn't a 360° panorama--it's probably more like 270°. Also, the smaller area you're trying to capture, the more curvature you'll get--so landscapes will probably look more impressive than, say, your home office. Still, it's a remarkably easy process that produces a pretty seamless image.

Face(book) the music (and books, and photos, and video)

iOS 5 brought Twitter integration, so I suppose it's only fair that Facebook get its day in the sun. If you've used the existing Twitter integration at all, you'll find the Facebook options pretty straightforward. In pretty much any place you can Share something, you can now post it to Facebook in addition.

First, you'll need to configure it by visiting the Facebook section of Settings. You'll need to enter your username and password--or create an account if, horrors, you're one of the few who doesn't have one. Apple will provide you a lengthy list of things that you're giving access to, along with telling you to disable many of the features. You'll also be prompted to download the Facebook iOS app if you haven't already.


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