Apple Announces iOS 6, Bringing Siri to Next-Gen iPad

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Apple announced its newest operating system update, iOS 6, at its World Wide Developer Conference in San Francisco. Among the 200-plus new features, Apple is bringing Siri to the next-generation iPad, which previously only supported voice dictation.

iOS 6iOS 6 is also bringing new features to Siri, including sports scores and athlete bio information, Yelp restaurant reviews, OpenTablet reservations, and Rotten Tomatoes movie review and listing info. Also new is the ability to launch apps through Siri. Apple is also expanding Siri to support new countries and languages, including Spanish and Korean.

Apple has also embraced Facebook with iOS 6, and now user “friends” have been integrated with iOS contacts and notifications, including birthdays into the iOS calendar. iOS 6 will feature a “tap to post” function from the Notification Center, and friends will be able to share App Store app like info.

As previously rumored, Apple is ditching Google Maps in iOS 6 for Apple’s own mapping service. The new Apple Maps has Yelp integration with 100 million restaurant and business entries, crowd-sourced traffic data, turn-by-turn directions, and Siri integration to help answer the question, “are we there yet?” Apple Maps will also display 3D renderings of cities in a new feature dubbed Flyover.

Apple updated Mobile Safari with iCloud tabs for syncing tabs across Apple devices, full-screen mode for landscape orientation, and offline reader, like the popular and now possibly obsolete Instapaper app.

Other new features include:

  • Shared Photo Streams with users now having the ability to select particular photos and particular users, who will receive a notification when said photo is posted
  • Inline photos and video for mail messages, VIP features for important contacts to receive distinct notifications, and pull to refresh
  • Passbook app for keeping barcode “passes” in one place, including airport boarding passes, reward cards, and movie tickets
  • Guided Access for accessibility, which allows users to disable certain functions and features, both in hardware and within apps
  • For iPhones with iOS 6, users can now text reply prewritten messages from the call screen. Other new features include a a Do Not Disturb function for turning off all incoming calls and messages with an option for certain important contacts to be able to break through as well as an option to enable those calling twice within a short period of time to break through, and a Lost Mode that displays a number to call on lost devices that launches with a quick user tap.
  • Facetime will be available over cellular networks in iOS 6 with Apple ID and phone number integration, meaning iPhone owners will be able to answer Facetime calls from an iPad or Mac

iOS 6 will be coming to the iPad 2 and new iPad, with Siri only coming to the new iPad, as well as the 4th-gen iPod touch, iPhone 3GS, iPhone 4, and iPhone 4S. Apple claims that not all features will be on all products. The original iPad will not get the update. iOS 6 beta is now available while the full release is coming in the fall.

Apple also announced a new MacBook Pro model with a Retina display, as well as a general MacBook product refresh. In addition, Apple revealed the latest details on its newest desktop and laptop operating system dubbed OS X Mountain Lion.

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