Apple is separating the new smartphones into its usual low-cost versus high-cost categories, with big differences between the two models coming down to the camera, display, and battery life.
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Apple Announces iOS 6 with Siri Improvements, Facebook Integration, New Maps App, Passbook for Fall Release
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.
In iOS 6, Siri will gain new capabilities to provide sports scores and schedules, make restaurant reservations via OpenTable, find local movie listings and even launch apps. Siri will also debut in new languages including Spanish, Italian, and French.
Facebook integration will be much like the current Twitter integration in iOS 5 with a system-wide log-in and the ability to quickly post from within apps. Contacts can be updated automatically using information obtained through Facebook. Third-party developers will be able to add this functionality easily with a public API.
A new Do Not Disturb mode allows users to schedule when notifications should not cause any sounds or visual alerts. The iPhone's Phone app will get new options to reply with a text message or prompt a reminder to return a call later when an incoming call arrives.
Shared Photo Streams lets you choose photos to share with selected family and friends. Shared photos can be viewed by others on iOS devices, iPhoto and Aperture on a Mac, or on the web or through an Apple TV.
Passbook is a new wallet app that will consolidate payment cards and electronic tickets. For example, customers at Starbucks can make payments using their Gold Card through Passbook. Also, movie tickets purchased through Fandango can be redeemed through Passbook. Airline boarding passes and even sporting event tickets will be accessible through Passbook as well. A new API will offer developers access to Passbook.
As expected, Apple has revamped the Maps app with its own map data. It will offer integration with Yelp for business listings and traffic information sourced anonymously and in real-time from iOS users. Turn-by-turn navigation will also debut in the new Maps app and guidance can be triggered by Siri.
iOS 6 will be compatible with the iPhone 3GS and later, 2nd-generation iPad and later, and the 4th-generation iPod touch and will be available in the fall. A beta will be available to developers today.