Apple has announced the release of the iOS 6 mobile operating system at its World Wide Developers Conference 2012 in San Francisco, as well as a host of other additions to its business and consumer technology lineup.
Several major changes characterise the latest iteration of iOS. The first is Apple's already publicised Map app, which the company says has been built from the ground up to offer convenient navigation.
A vector-based graphics engine displays the surrounding area in 3D, with a detailed Fly Over mode to view high-detail maps of cities.
Turn-by-turn navigation also now features, which allows voice-activated assistant Siri to come into its own in iOS 6.
Apple appears to have improved Siri, with response times down to just one or two seconds. Local search has been expanded to work worldwide.
The final major addition concerns Facebook, with complete integration of the social platform into iOS 6's structure. The Notifications Centre and Siri will both have quick, single-touch Facebook and Twitter abilities.
The move is both pragmatic in terms of the social platform's huge user base, but may also have an eye on closing down the rumoured launch of a Facebook phone next year.
On phones, FaceTime will now work on a standard 3G phone connection, and has been integrated into Apple ID, meaning calls can be picked up on a separate device.
Apart from the new mobile operating system for its iPhone and iPad range, the company announced a beefed-up MacBook Pro range, the top-end spec of which includes a 2880 x 1800 Retina display, 16GB RAM and 768GB of solid state storage. Battery life is said to be seven hours. A similarly-specified MacBook Air line was also revealed.
OS X 10.8 – Mountain Lion – made an appearance, but short of a more iOS-like GUI and powerful system-wide integration with Flickr, Vimeo and Facebook, there were few surprises.
In fact, the biggest surprise of the day was the non-announcement of any major development of Apple TV.
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