WWDC 2012: Facebook integration, Apple Maps for Fall's iOS 6

By Jonny Evans

The biggest news from the Apple [AAPL] WWDC 2012 shindig is, of course, all about iOS 6, the future of almost every iPhone when the software ships -- and the company's kicking the walls with the release, which includes much improvement within Siri and that oft-requested feature, turn-by-turn navigation.

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Now with Facebook, better Siri and Apple Maps

Apple's iOS chief, Scott Forstall, took the stage to tell developers the company's shifted 365 million iOS devices up until the end of March, and also confirmed what most people know: iOS users upgrade their iOS, 80 percent of iOS users already run the latest operating system. That compares to just 7 percent of Android users who allegedly use the latest version of that operating system.

There were a series of interesting statistics concerning the behavior patterns of iOS users, who are apparently sending over 1 billion messages (via iMessage) each day. They also account for over 47 percent of photos shared on Twitter.

Google got its expected kicking. Apple has indeed abandoned its former "special" friend, introducing its own new mapping solutions after a lot of worldwide developmental activity. The app integrates Yelp, traffic views, turn-by-turn navigation and a host of handy traffic data grabbing and usage features.

Maps also delivers Siri support and a new feature -- Flyover -- which simulates flying in helicopters and planes. And yes, it's 3D rendered in real time and capable of varying camera angles.

Siri improvements include support for most sports, Yelp reviews, Open Table reservations, Rotten Tomatoes movie support. Even more interesting: you can now launch apps using Siri. And yes, Siri is coming to the iPad.  

A host of new languages, including French, Spanish, Italian, Korean, Mandarin and Cantonese will also be introduced. Another new OS feature lets you ask Siri to respond to an incoming missed call at a later juncture.

Facebook integration is complete, with Facebook events also appearing in your iOS calendar and on your Mac. You can post from within Notifications Center and from Facebook-enabled apps such as Photos, Safari and Maps.

"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.

Another feature which might be of interest: you now gain FaceTime call support over cellular networks.

It's pretty clear now that Apple won't ship this until near the launch point of its new iPhone. So when will iOS 6 ship? All Apple would tell us is "Fall".

So it's looking like September/October once again. Oh, and the first-generation iPad won't support the new OS, though 2G and 3G models will.

Also read:

WWDC 2012: With Facebook integration OS X Mountain Lion -- $19.99, ships July

WWDC 2012: Retina Display reaches MacBook Pro

WWDC: iPhone in the wings, expect software surprises

Apple WWDC: iOS 6 says farewell to Google Maps

Apple Mountain Lion OS stalks to launch -- free upgrade?

iPhone 5 release: Apple's September launch, what to expect

Apple TV: exec says it's coming 'soon'

Computerworld's WWDC 2012 topic page

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