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Apple iOS 6 Unveiled with Updated Siri, Facebook Integration, New Maps App

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As expected, Apple unveiled the iOS 6 at WWDC 2012.  This is the next iteration of Apple’s operating system with main features that include the ability to launch apps with Siri, Facebook integration, and a new Maps app.  Apple says there are actually more than 200 new features on the iOS 6.

The biggest update has got to be the new features for Siri, Apple’s voice-controlled personal assistant.  Siri now has the ability to launch apps and even update your status on Facebook and post to Twitter.  Siri now has more answers to sports-related questions and has more knowledge on restaurants and other things.  Siri includes language support for English, French, German and Japanese, and adds support for Spanish, Italian, Korean, Mandarin and Cantonese.  Siri now takes commands even just with your voice with a new Eyes Free mode.  The best news perhaps is the announcement that Siri is coming to the new iPad.

iOS 6 has better Facebook integration as well, with photos, websites, maps and more getting the instant share option.  Apple says it’s the best ever Facebook integration 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.  Facebook friends’ information is immediately updated across all iOS devices, automatically updating details in Contacts when they change, and scheduling events and birthdays in Calendar.

One of the biggest changes with iOS 6 is the new Maps app.  Apple has ditched Google maps as iOS 6 now runs its own Maps app with vector-based map elements.  Apple says that panning, tilting and zooming will be fluid and graphics and text will be smooth.  There’s a new turn-by-turn navigation that will guide users to their destination with spoken directions and it also includes a Flyover feature that offers interactive 3D views and real-time traffic information.

A helpful new feature in iOS 6 is called “Do Not Disturb” which simply turns off notifications whenever you want things to be quiet.  When the Do not Disturb feature is on, it removes the alert tone and the screen will not light up.  Face-time users will also rejoice since it now works over cellular data, not just Wi-Fi.  There’s also shared Photo Streams that makes photo sharing easy, and a new “Guided Access” feature that allows parents or teachers to keep users from exiting an app accidentally.  Additional new iOS 6 features include enhancements to Safari such as iCloud tabs, offline reading lists, photo uploads and full screen view, the ability to set up a VIP Mailbox, the option to decline incoming calls with a quick message and the ability to set a callback reminder.   iOS 6 also now lets you dismiss incoming calls with a swipe.

The iOS 6 beta software and SDK are now available for iOS Developer Program members and 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.

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