200 new features rolled up in new version of the platform.
As usual, Apple took the stage at WWDC to reveal the goodies in its new OS update, which will be available to iPhone, iPad and iPod touch users this Autumn as a free software update.
There were no real fireworks, but enough to keep the pressure on rivals and spook a few independent firms with updates that encroach on incumbent territory.
So, for example, Apple also did the expected and booted out Google Maps. It replaced it with a new mapping solution with local listings for over 100m businesses integrated with Yelp.
Interestingly, the maps are updated with real-time crowdsourced data – all very alarming for location firms like Waze and Navmii, which base their apps on this model.
There was also a new Flyover feature with photo-realistic interactive 3D views.
Siri got an expected update too. It's now available for the new iPad as well as iPhone 4S, and includes language support for English, French, German and Japanese, Spanish, Italian, Korean, Mandarin and Cantonese.
Users can now ask Siri to update their status on Facebook, post to Twitter or launch an app. There's also a new Eyes Free mode, which seems to remove the need to even look at the phone and yet still operate it.
Facebook integration has been pimped so that users can sign in once and post from Notification Center, Siri and Facebook-enabled apps, including Photos, Safari and Maps.
Thus, details in Contacts are automatically changed, as are scheduled events and birthdays in Calendar.
Inevitably, Apple took the opportunity to keep attention on iCloud, which now has more than 125 million users. iOS 6 introduces Shared Photo Streams. This feature instantly shares pics etc to the iOS devices of selected contacts.
There was nothing in the way of NFC, commerce or m-wallet type activity in this update. However, there were hints in the intriguing new Passbook app. This aggregates various passes and coupons - letting users scan them to their iPhone or iPod touch, which then automatically displays them on the Lock Screen based on a specific time or location.
Additional new iOS 6 features include:
* Guided Access - disables hardware buttons to lock an iOS device into a single app. Pitched at educators and parents.
• Safari updates such as iCloud tabs, offline reading lists, photo uploads and full screen view
• Support for FaceTime calls over cellular networks;
• VIP Mailbox to quickly view messages from important people you designate as VIPs
• The option to decline incoming calls with a pre-set message
“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.”
The iOS 6 beta software and SDK are available immediately for iOS Developer Program members at developer.apple.com.