By Wendy Sarubbi | November 13, 2012 1:10 pm

A doctor at the College of Medicine is taking to dinner a colleague who doesn’t eat dairy or meat. She turns to her iPhone and summons the voice-activated assistant Siri: “Where is the nearest vegan restaurant?” She gets a detailed answer and can even make a reservation through Open Table.

That is only one of the ways to make the most of Apple’s new operating system for iPhones, iPads and iPods, faculty and staff learned November 8 at the Harriet F. Ginsburg Health Sciences Library’s Fall Info Expo 2012. Medical informatics librarian Michael Garner offered a look at a few of his favorite innovations out of about 200 new features in iOS 6:

  • Maps.  Apple replaced Google Maps, losing Street View and picking up Flyover, a 3-D model.  Another change is the use of vector maps, which allow you to smoothly zoom in to your destination with a pinch of the fingers. The resulting map isn’t blurry and can contain more information, such as names of streets and landmarks.
  • Passbook. This app allows you to store boarding passes, movie tickets, retail coupons, loyalty cards and more.
  • Greater privacy control. A new Privacy settings page offers on/off switches for data each app might request – such as your location.
  • Guided Access. This makes it easier for users with vision, hearing, learning and mobility challenges to use their iOS devices.
  • Shared photo streams. You can publish groups of images to specific people, such as grandparents or Fido’s fan club.
  • YouTube. Speaking of Fido, if you’re a fan of funny pet videos, iOS 6 no longer has a built-in YouTube app. However, you can download YouTube’s new app.

Senior library technical assistant Raney Collins also showed a short video to help demystify cloud computing, which refers to the concept of storing your files on a remote network of servers. That network – the cloud – makes it possible to access photos, videos or documents from any device with an Internet connection.

“If you have used Facebook, you’ve used cloud computing,” Raney said.

Attendees also enjoyed a barbecue lunch, and participated in game of library “Jeopardy!” and a raffle. Prizes included a $25 iTunes gift card, styluses, and library coffee mugs.

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