Biggest updates from apple, Apple launches the iOS-6 at Worldwide Developers Conference (WWDC) today, June 11.
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.
CEO Tim Cook, who took over from late co-founder Steve Jobs last August, spearheaded the unveiling of new services - such as in-house mapping and beefed-up Siri software - to help keep at bay Google and its fast-growing Android mobile platform.
Apple tweaked several features in its mobile operating system to try to enhance its ability to entice users to stay within its ecosystem. The upgrades marked a bolstering of Apple’s arsenal as it tries to keep its top-down applications and hardware environment ahead of competition from Android device makers such as Samsung Electronics and Motorola Mobility.
But the highlight was the debut of Apple’s in-house mapping service after years of development, a direct challenge to the same Google service that is one of the most popular functions on both Android smartphones and the iPhone.
Apple’s new mobile software — the iOS6 — will be available in the fall. It comes with a mapping system “built from the ground up,” said software chief Scott Forstall.
It will be replacing Google Maps, until now a pre-loaded app on the iPhone and iPad, with its own in-house map service, delivering a big blow to Google, which gets about half its mobile map traffic from Apple mobile devices.
The move signals how the friendship between the two tech giants — former Google CEO Eric Schmidt once sat on Apple’s board — has become a bitter rivalry shaping the evolution of the mobile industry. Late co-founder Jobs was famously quoted as saying he was willing to go “thermonuclear” on the search leader, after it decided to position Android against the iPhone.
Now Apple will do its utmost to reduce its reliance on Google, said Colin Gillis, analyst with BGC Partners.
“What happens if one day Google decides to not provide Apple with maps,” said Gillis. “You can’t have that kind of dependency on a competitor.”
Apple’s map service comes with three-dimensional images of cities called “Flyover” along with real-time traffic updates and also turn-by-turn navigation, the last a feature that Google has in Android devices but had not made available in Apple devices.
And Siri, the innovative voice-activated iPhone search-feature users have criticized as faulty and inadequate, will now also be available on iPads and recites a larger database of answers, especially sports, restaurants and movies.
Siri is also integrated into the new mapping service so users can ask for step-by-step directions.
While Apple is late to the game with turn-by-turn directions, Forrester analyst Charles Golvin said that Apple’s new service featured various nice touches, demonstrating Apple’s ability to take an experience offered by rivals and “go even further.”
He also cited a new app for iPhone and iPads called Passbook that organizes a user’s electronic airline tickets, movie tickets and restaurant loyalty cards. The app is a “harbinger of them doing much, much more,” said Golvin, pointing to the electronic payment and mobile commerce market.
Finally, executives said Apple has integrated No. 1 social network Facebook deeper into the operating system, allowing Siri-users to post photos with voice commands.
Shares in Apple ended Monday down 1.6 percent at $571.17 after climbing in early trade, repeating a typical pattern where investors buy up the stock in anticipation of news, then cash out.