Yes, Apple’s annual Worldwide Developers Conference (WWDC) is finally here, bringing with it the long-awaited details on the next-generation software iOS 6.
Rumours have been doing the rounds for a few months now, as WWDC edged ever closer – and we aren’t disappointed either, as Apple has indeed unveiled iOS 6 in all its Google Maps-ditching, Facebook-liking glory.
And it seems yesterday’s report of iOS 6 landing in September is true too, as the company revealed on day one of its WWDC event in San Francisco that the final version of its upcoming software will be released for its iPhones and iPads this autumn – although only the iPhone 4S and new iPad will get the complete OS version.
So what new features can you expect in iOS 6?
The answer is quite a few, actually, as Apple has updated a number of key components of its operating system including Siri, social networking, calls and the Safari browser.
As anticipated, Google Maps has been dropped from Apple’s software, replaced by the company’s own maps app that boasts turn-by-turn navigation, voice direction and support for 3D maps.
Scott Forstall, Apple’s senior vice president of iOS software, introduced the new maps software during WWDC, commenting: “We’re doing all the cartography ourselves. This is a worldwide effort, we’re covering the world.”
It’s not yet known if Google will be able to add its own Maps app to the Apple App Store, but somehow we doubt it.
Another leak that has turned out to be correct is that iOS 6 features Facebook integration, so you’ll be able to update your status or add photos from pretty much any app on the iPhone or iPad.
And as previously thought, Siri is coming to the new iPad. The voice assistant service Siri has also been expanded to include the ability to handle sports-related questions such as match results and player profiles, and a greater “local search” for restaurants, and the option to get reviews for films. You can also launch apps via Siri on command too.
Apple has delivered improvements to its Safari browser in iOS 6, including better privacy controls so you can now choose the personal data apps can access. There is also a “Do Not Track” feature designed to make it harder for advertisers like Google’s DoubleClick network to aim targeted ads at users based on browsing history. This is said to be something Microsoft is keen to include in its next version of Internet Explorer too.
Other new features include support for easy sharing within the Photo Streams app, letting you select the photos and friends you want to share with effortlessly. There are also new call features such as the option to send a text message to respond to a call you’re unable to take, and the “Do Not Disturb” option that prevents audio and visual notifications when you’re super busy.
In addition to announcing all that iOS 6 has to offer, Forstall shared a few statistics too. The Apple App Store has hit 30 billion downloads, and the company has sold more than 365 million iOS devices, has more than 400 million registered iTunes users and 125 million registered iCloud users. He added that there are 140 million users of the iOS 5 iMessage service, who send more than 1 billion messages each day.
Are you impressed by iOS 6?