Today, millions of people using a variety of Apple’s iOS devices will get a free upgrade to their latest mobile operating system, iOS 6. Find out what the most interesting iOS 6 features are while you’re downloading!

Announced back in June during Apple’s World Wide Developers Conference (WWDC), iOS 6 has finally been released to the public. The new mobile operating system is being released alongside Apple’s long-hyped iPhone 5, which will be arriving on doorsteps and on the tables of Apple stores this Friday.

However, iPhone 5 users aren’t the only Apple users who get to experience the latest iOS 6 features. If you have any one of the following devices, you too will be able to download iOS 6:

  • iPhone (3GS, 4, 4S, 5)
  • iPod touch (4th and 5th generation)
  • iPad 2 and the new iPad

So what are some of the iOS 6 features you can expect? We’ve broken down the top 8 features that you’re going to want to use when you’ve got the new operating system on your device (in no particular order).

1. All new Maps app

Say goodbye to your former Google Maps app. Apple has built an all new Maps app from the ground up. The new Maps will include:

  • Turn-by-turn navigation
  • 3D mode (with flyover which let’s you zoom in to cities and see a 3D rendering)
  • A sleeker, more Apple-friendly design

2. Facebook integration

Much like Twitter integration in iOS 5, Facebook has now been integrated throughout all of iOS 6. You can now import all of your Facebook contacts directly to your Contacts app, post statuses directly from your notification center, and share links directly from Safari.

3. Siri enhancements

If you have an iPhone 4S or 5 you have Siri built in to your device. With iOS 6, Siri gets some enhancements including:

  • The ability to reveal sports scores
  • Make restaurant reservations
  • Show you a list of movies playing in your area
  • Launch apps for you
  • Post to Facebook and Twitter without ever having tapped the screen!

4. FaceTime over cellular

In iOS 6, for those with FaceTime enabled devices, you are able to FaceTime over cellular. In previous versions of iOS you were only able to FaceTime over WiFi. But be careful with this, because some carriers are charging extra for the use of this feature of cellular.

5. Phone enhancements

Have you ever received a call and you can’t take it and wish you could just hurry up and text them that you’re in class or in a meeting? iOS 6 makes that a lot easier for you. Now, a new call screen allows you to swipe up to reveal multiple options. You can decline, remind yourself later, or reply with a message. The reply with a message feature allows you to directly reply with a preconceived text, or gives you the option to immediately create one yourself.

6. Passbook

You know how you have gift cards for Target, iTunes, Starbucks and a variety of other retail outlets? Or, you know how you hate carrying your boarding pass around in an airport because you’re always afraid you’ll lose it and miss your flight? Apple has now created an app that combines all of these physical issues in to one simple, easy-to-use app. Just load the information from your gift card or boarding pass right into the app and have it there all in one spot. You can then pull out your phone and have a clerk scan the bar code on the screen rather than your physical card.

Apple better explains Passbook here:

With Passbook, you can scan your iPhone or iPod touch to check in for a flight, get into a movie, and redeem a coupon. You can also see when your coupons expire, where your concert seats are, and the balance left on that all-important coffee bar card.

7. Mail enhancements

The new Mail app comes with some pretty cool new features that will enhance your user experience on an iOS device:

  • VIP – you can now assign certain contacts as VIP which will notify you on your lock screen as well as filter in to a special VIP folder in your inbox
  • You can also now add photos and videos in to your emails as you are composing them (as opposed to copy and pasting from the Photos app as before)

8. Camera with panorama

Now, you can take panoramic pictures straight from the Camera app itself. Just tap the Panorama option and your iPhone or iPod touch will guide you to swipe across your field of vision at a particular pace, and voila! This feature is only available on iPhone 4S, iPhone 5 and iPod touch (5th generation).

 

 

There are apparently 200 new features to iOS 6, but these eight seem to really enhance the overall user experience. Do you have iOS 6 yet? If so let us know what you like and don’t like about it in the comments section below.

For more details about all of the features included in iOS 6 check out Apple.com.