Apple Unwraps iOS 6 at WWDC
Apple has unveiled iOS 6, in the keynote speech at its Worldwide Developer Conference (WWDC) in San Francisco. The update comes with an improved Safari browser and Maps app, wider Siri support, and Facebook integration across the platform.
A beta version of the platform is being released for iOS Developer Program members, and the full release will be available as a free software update for iPhone 3GS and upwards, and the new iPad and iPad 2 this autumn.
According to Apple's SVP of iOS software Scott Forstall, iOS 6 introduces more than 200 new features to the fold. Forstall went on to demonstrate a handful, starting with the updates to Siri, which is now supported on the new iPad as well as iPhone 4S. Siri will add language support for Spanish, Italian, Korean, Mandarin and Cantonese.
Sports functionality has been added, along with widened restaurant functionality, and – good news for those of us outside of the US – the local features will be extended to fifteen countries. Siri can also be asked to post status updates to Facebook or Twitter, or launch app by speaking their names - expect to hear a lot of people shouting 'Play Angry Birds' at their iPhones on trains this autumn.
Perhaps most interesting is Apple's 'Eyes Free' mode, which is intended to let users interact with their iPhone using only their voice, with Fritz saying Apple is in talks with automotive brands including BMW, Audi, and Honda to incorporate a Siri button into cars' steering wheels.
The updated Maps app is Apple's attempt to push out Google Maps, with Siri integration, a rather handsome 3D mode. Turn-by-turn navigation with spoken directions is apparently on its way, too.
And, with one eye on the growing Asian market, Apple announced a range of improvements and services specifically for Chinese iOS users, including improved text input, and built-in support for popular Chinese services including Baidu, Sina Weibo, and Tudou.