Joe Belfiore, corporate vice president of Microsoft, introduces the Windows Phone 8 mobile operating system in San Francisco. (Photo : REUTERS/Noah Berger )
This year introduces a slew of new operating systems onto the market. Google unveiled Android 4.1 Jelly Bean, and Apple released its Mountain Lion OS X. There are still three major releases on the horizon: Microsoft Windows 8, Microsoft Windows Phone 8, and the Apple iOS 6. Here's a look at the two upcoming mobile operating systems: Apple's iOS 6, and Windows Phone 8. In the end, it's clear that Microsoft is beginning to play Apple's game, and it will take some time before it can successfully outcompete it.
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Apple iOS 6
Apple's next iteration of iOS aims to introduce a slew of new features. Noticeably, both Google Maps and Youtube will be gone as default apps. Instead, Apple will replace it with their new Apple Maps, and Youtube has stated that it is working on a standalone app for the iOS 6. Apple's iOS boasts 650,000 apps and 225,000 for the iPad more than any other smartphone or tablet.
iOS 6 will also introduce a better version of Siri, Apple's voice-assistant. Facebook will now also be integrated into iOS 6 in an attempt to make the world's most popular social network more streamlined and accessible. Facetime will also work over cellular networks now, and a new app called Passbook will act as a loyalty card, coupon book, and boarding pass all at once.
More importantly, iOS 6 will be an integrated experience that includes Mountain Lion OS X which means that streaming media and sending information over social networks will be a piece of cake.
Windows Phone 8
Microsoft's next mobile operating system will sadly not be available for existing Windows 7 mobile phones. What it will do, however, is bring the Microsoft experience much more in line with the cloud-based direction that Apple has taken computers, tablets, and phones with a visual tile-like aesthetic.
It will work with Windows 8 computers and tablets and will make developing apps much easier. Microsoft also unveiled a new app marketplace designed to convince developers that developing for the Microsoft platform is worthwhile. This should allow Microsoft to try and bump up the number of apps it has.
Windows Phone 8 will also include a wallet feature, Facebook integration, and will come with Nokia's mapping system. What it does lack, however, is a robust voice-assistant like Siri, and the ability to sync browsers like Apple does with iCloud.
Microsoft's next mobile operating system is a step in the right direction, but it might not be enough. Apple's systems are usually more secure than Microsoft (mainly because the sheer number of Windows users makes it more efficient to target maliciously). Every other feature has essentially been a part, or will be a part of, Apple's iOS. Windows Phone 8 is certainly a step in the right direction, given Apple's success, but it will take some time for it establish itself against Apple's smooth, reliable interface.