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The Top 6 WWDC Announcements For Parents

Today was Apple’s annual Worldwide Developers Conference (WWDC), so while Elle and I played with her new dollhouse, I kept one eye on the live-blogs. They debuted lots of new and updated technologies, including a ramped-up MacBook Pro with Retina Display, available for purchase from the Apple online store today, and iOS 6, which launches in the fall.

There were several updates that made me, as a parent, particularly excited. Here my the top 6 announcements from WWDC for parents:

  • Completely redesigned Maps application for iOS devices. Parent-friendly features include: Turn-by-turn navigation (finally!), business information card (every location in Maps includes all of the info you’d need to know about it, including reviews, ratings and photos for restaurants), enhanced traffic information (which can tell you where there are accidents, or construction), and Flyover: “See the world from a whole new perspective with amazing photo-realistic and interactive 3D views of major metro areas. Explore like never before as you zoom, pan, tilt, and rotate around a city and its landmarks.” Kiddo doing a report on the Sydney Opera House? Why not explore it using Flyover?
  • FaceTime over cellular! Now Nana can see the kiddos in action over FaceTime without needing to be connected to wifi. I can totally see us FaceTiming our family on vacation, showing off the awesome sights and adventures.
  • The Phone Got Useful. I don’t know about you, but I hardly ever talk on the phone, mostly because when friends call, I’m usually not able to pick up (it’s either bath time, or my hands are covered in sidewalk chalk or bubbles or something). “Now when you decline an incoming call, you can instantly reply with a text message or set a callback reminder. And when things are just too hectic, turn on Do Not Disturb and you won’t be bothered by anyone — except can’t-miss contacts like your boss or your better half.” How RAD is Do Not Disturb? I see not only peaceful sleep in my future, but better gadget etiquette for us all.
  • Passbook: This is a brand-new app, and if it works the way they describe it, I’m excited. “Your boarding passes, movie tickets, retail coupons, loyalty cards, and more are now all in one place. 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. Wake your iPhone or iPod touch, and passes appear on your Lock screen at the appropriate time and place — like when you reach the airport or walk into the store to redeem your gift card or coupon. And if your gate changes after you’ve checked in for your flight, Passbook will even alert you to make sure you’re not relaxing in the wrong terminal.” This is dope. I can’t tell you how frustrated I get, fishing for a coupon, or trying to find my Costco card, while Ellie is trying to pull everything out of my purse. I hope this fixes that. 🙂
  • Guided Access (Kid-friendly customization): “It allows a parent, teacher, or administrator to limit an iOS device to one app by disabling the Home button, as well as restrict touch input on certain areas of the screen.” Ellie is constantly calling people on the phone, or tweeting nonsense, so if I could hand her my iPhone and KNOW that all she’s capable of doing is playing Fish School, I’m stoked. Also, no more accidentally closing her app when she pushes the home button!
  • Find My Friends: While not new, they’ve updated Find My Friends with location-based alerts, “Find My Friends is a great way to share locations with friends and family. Those who share their locations with you appear on a map so you can quickly see where they are and what they’re up to. And with iOS 6, you can get location-based alerts — like when your kids leave school or arrive home. Find My Friends can also notify others about your location, so you can stay connected or keep track of the ones you love.

This list is by no means all-inclusive, just the stuff that excites me the most as a parent. If you want the scoop on all of the announcements made at WWDC 2012, head to apple.com and explore. All of the iOS updates I mentioned will be available in when iOS 6 is released in the fall, and are compatible with iPhone 3Gs and up, iPod Touch 4th Generation, and the iPad 2 and up.

Are you excited about any of this stuff? Think I missed a feature that is particularly parent-friendly? Let me know in the comments.

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