Apple unveils iOS 6 at WWDC, launch apps with Siri, Facebook integration, Maps

Looks like they didn't print the banner out for nothing -- as anticipated, it's not just refreshed MacBook Airs or Mountain Lion getting the red carpet treatment at today's World Wide Developer's Conference keynote. Cupertino has also taken the shiny cling wrap off of the latest version of iOS. What's new? Well at least 200 things! Most notably, Siri has gotten a little make over, including the ability to launch apps, more knowledge of sports, restaurants and movie times, it's also coming to iPad. There's better Facebook integration too, with photos, websites, maps and more getting the instant share option -- you can even "like" or share app from the Appstore. Other tweaks on the phone side of things let you dismiss incoming calls with a swipe, or send a pre-written SMS, even set it to give you a reminder once you change location.

Another popular feature will be "Do Not Disturb" which holds off all those notifications (from your new Facebook friends, we guess). You'll still get them, but the won't alert, or light up the screen. Face-timers will also be pleased to see that feature finally working over cellular. Sharing images also just got easier with shared Photo Streams -- choose the pictures, choose the friends. Done. New "Guided Access" allows parents or teachers (for example) to keep users from exiting an app accidentally (or in the case of the teachers -- intentionally!). More info and PR after the break.

As we'd already been speculating, Apple has developed its own maps app, with more than 100 million businesses already integrated. There will be live traffic information (sourced in real-time anonymously from iOS users) and turn-by-turn navigation in the works. Directions will be visible from the lock screen, and you can -- of course -- use Siri to get them. There are vector-based 3D maps (just like Google's) when you zoom in close,

Wondering if and when you can get these features? Well, it's supported by iPhone 3GS and upwards, that includes the second and third generation iPads, plus fourth-gen iPod touches. Beta is going out today, with a full release in the fall.

Check out our full coverage of WWDC 2012 at our event hub!

iOS 6 Unveiled

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Apple Previews iOS 6 With All New Maps, Siri Features, Facebook Integration, Shared Photo Streams & New Passbook App

Available to iPhone, iPad & iPod touch Users This Fall

SAN FRANCISCO--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Apple® today previewed iOS 6, introducing over 200 new features to the world's most advanced mobile operating system, and released a beta version to iOS Developer Program members. iOS 6 will be available to iPhone®, iPad® and iPod touch® users this fall as a free software update. New iOS 6 features include: an all new Maps app with Apple-designed cartography, turn-by-turn navigation and an amazing new Flyover view; new Siri® features, including support for more languages, easy access to sports scores, restaurant recommendations and movie listings; Facebook integration for Contacts and Calendar, with the ability to post directly from Notification Center, Siri and Facebook-enabled apps like Photos, Safari® and Maps; Shared Photo Streams via iCloud®; and Passbook, the simplest way to get all your passes in one place.

"iOS 6 continues the rapid pace of innovation that is helping Apple reinvent the phone and create the iPad category, delivering the best mobile experience available on any device"
"iOS 6 continues the rapid pace of innovation that is helping Apple reinvent the phone and create the iPad category, delivering the best mobile experience available on any device," said Scott Forstall, Apple's senior vice president of iOS Software. "We can't wait for hundreds of millions of iOS users to experience the incredible new features in iOS 6 including the new Maps app, expanded Siri support, deep Facebook integration, Shared Photo Streams and the innovative new Passbook app."

iOS 6 includes an all new Maps app with vector-based map elements that make graphics and text smooth, and panning, tilting and zooming incredibly fluid. New turn-by-turn navigation guides you to your destination with spoken directions, and the amazing Flyover feature has photo-realistic interactive 3D views. Real-time traffic information keeps you updated on how long it will take to get to your destination and offers alternate time-saving routes if traffic conditions change significantly. Additionally, local search includes information for over 100 million businesses with info cards that offer Yelp ratings, reviews, available deals and photos.

Siri, now available for the new iPad as well as iPhone 4S, includes language support for English, French, German and Japanese, and adds support for Spanish, Italian, Korean, Mandarin and Cantonese. Siri is optimized for use in 15 countries and helps you get even more done with just your voice, whether it's finding the latest sports scores or making restaurant reservations. You also can ask Siri to update your status on Facebook, post to Twitter or launch an app. Additionally, Siri takes hands-free functionality even further with a new Eyes Free mode, enabling you to interact with your iPhone using nothing more than your voice.

Built-in Facebook integration is the best ever in a mobile device, allowing you to sign in once and post from Notification Center, Siri and Facebook-enabled apps, including Photos, Safari and Maps. Your Facebook friends' information is kept up to date across all your iOS devices, automatically updating details in Contacts when they change, and scheduling events and birthdays in your Calendar. You can also "Like" content directly from the App Store™ and iTunes® and see what your friends recommend.

With more than 125 million users already enjoying iCloud, iOS 6 introduces new ways to share photos with friends and family using Shared Photo Streams. Simply select the photos you want to share, pick which friends you want to receive the album, and the Shared Photo Stream album is instantly available on their iOS devices, iPhoto® and Aperture® on their Mac®, via the web or even through Apple TV®. You and your friends can leave comments on or "Like" any photo in a shared album.

The new Passbook app is the simplest way to get all your passes in one place, such as boarding passes and baseball tickets. Passbook lets you scan your iPhone or iPod touch to use a coupon, get into a concert or check into your hotel. Passbook automatically displays your passes on your Lock Screen based on a specific time or location, so when you walk into your favorite coffee shop your loyalty card appears and you can scan it to buy a coffee or check your balance. Passbook can even alert you to last minute gate changes or flight delays at the airport.

Building on Apple's commitment to provide innovative solutions for education and accessibility, iOS 6 introduces Guided Access. This new feature allows a parent, teacher or administrator to disable hardware buttons to lock an iOS device into a single app, especially useful for test taking or helping someone with a disability stay focused on learning. Guided Access also includes the ability to confine touch input to certain parts of the screen.

Additional new iOS 6 features include:

• enhancements to Safari, the world's most popular mobile browser, such as iCloud tabs, offline reading lists, photo uploads and full screen view;

• support for FaceTime® calls over cellular networks;

• the ability to set up a VIP Mailbox, making it easier to quickly view messages from important people you designate as VIPs;

• the option to decline incoming calls with a quick message, set a callback reminder and enable a new Do Not Disturb option; and

• a whole new set of improvements and services specifically for iOS users in China, such as improved text input and built-in support for popular Chinese services including Baidu, Sina Weibo, Youku and Tudou.

Availability

The iOS 6 beta software and SDK are available immediately for iOS Developer Program members at developer.apple.com. iOS 6 will be available as a free software update for iPhone 4S, iPhone 4, iPhone 3GS, the new iPad, iPad 2 and iPod touch (fourth generation) this fall. Some features may not be available on all products.

Apple designs Macs, the best personal computers in the world, along with OS X, iLife, iWork and professional software. Apple leads the digital music revolution with its iPods and iTunes online store. Apple has reinvented the mobile phone with its revolutionary iPhone and App Store, and is defining the future of mobile media and computing devices with iPad.

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Apple unveils iOS 6 at WWDC, launch apps with Siri, Facebook integration, Maps