September 22, 2012, 7:20 AM — With all the hubbub about the iPhone 5, it's easy to lose sight of the fact that there's a new iPhone operating system as well, one that's free and available for all iPhone owners starting today.
Usually you don't think of an operating system in terms of productivity, but iOS 6 does bring a few welcome improvements to that table. If you're wondering whether or not it's worth upgrading (trust me, it is), check out these three ways iOS 6 can help you work smarter.
[ FREE DOWNLOAD: The Apple security survival guide ]
1. The VIP inbox
Want to make sure email from important people, like your boss and clients, doesn't get lost in the shuffle? The new VIP inbox is the answer.
Just add one or more contacts to your VIP list. (You can add them manually or tap any sender's name and then choose Add to VIP.) The Mail app will automatically filter messages from those contacts into the VIP inbox.
When you're in a hurry, or just want to make sure you don't miss anything important, you can bypass your overloaded primary inbox and simply check the VIP inbox.
2. A smarter Reminders app
The original Reminders app, introduced in iOS 5, was a godsend to users who wanted a simple task list that was integrated into the OS. Alas, it was seriously underpowered.
It still is, but Apple did update it with some much-needed features. For example, you can now prioritize and rearrange tasks, set repeating tasks,
Even better, Reminders can now ping you when you arrive at or depart any location, not just those tied to contacts.
Finally, Reminders now syncs with iCloud. And it's a full two-way sync, meaning you can add tasks while signed into iCloud and they'll appear on your iPhone -- and vice-versa. That's a great perk for cross-platform task management, among other things.
3. Siri-powered Facebook and Twitter updates
If you use Facebook and/or Twitter as part of your marketing efforts (and you should), you'll greatly appreciate the option to push out updates using nothing but your voice.
That's not only a time-saver, but also a potential life-saver for anyone who thinks it's okay to tap out a status update from behind the wheel of a car.
Just activate Siri, then say "update Facebook" or "update Twitter." Wait for Siri's prompt, then speak your status. It's a fast and effective way to keep others in the loop when you're driving or otherwise occupied.
But wait, there's more
Other productivity-friendly iOS 6 features include different email signatures for different accounts, Notes syncing with iCloud, and call-rejection options that let you set a callback reminder or respond with a canned text message ("In a meeting," "Be there soon," etc.).
Have you found any other iOS 6 tricks that can help your fellow busy workers? Tell me about them in the comments.