Apple's been showing off new features for iOS, the company's mobile platform that runs under the hood of the iPhone, iPad and iPod touch. The latest version is iOS 6 and is arrives on the iPhone 5 with more than 600 new features on board. Read on to learn about the most important changes.
iOS 6 release date
The iOS 6 update will be available for you to download on 19 September, just two days shy of the release of the new iPhone 5 and iPod touch.
iOS 6 will work on the iPhone 3GS, iPhone 4 and iPhone 4S, as well as the iPad 2 and new iPad, and the fourth-generation iPod touch. That's a healthy selection of gadgets and it's good to see Apple's not leaving the 3GS behind just yet.
Not every new feature will be supported on every device. Scroll down to the, 'Feature compatibility' section at the bottom to see exactly which new treats are arriving on which gadgets.
iOS 6 features
Without further ado, here's what you have to look forward to in iOS 6.
Apple's gone its own way with iOS 6, ditching Google in favour of its own maps service. The maps offer a 3D view of buildings, making it easier to remotely get to grips with where you're headed. Flyover sets the app to pan scenically around locations, though it's not clear exactly what function this tool performs, apart from looking dead flash. Maybe Spider-Man can use it as a sat-nav.
More than 100 million businesses are listed in Apple's Maps app, with reviews and ratings popping up when you tap on individual buildings. A brand-new feature is turn-by-turn navigation, so the app also functions as a sat-nav. This works with Siri, so you can bark a location at your phone and Siri will find you driving directions.
Maps should arrive stuffed with UK location data -- a good sign for us Brits.
New Siri features
Siri is getting a much-needed update and will be arriving on the iPad in iOS 6.
Siri now knows all about sport. If you have baseball or American football-related questions, it's got you covered of course, but for this side of the pond, Premier League football scores are featured too.
Siri knows more about restaurants too, having partnered with Yelp, and promises to offer movie listings. Best of all is news that Siri now has local information in the UK, making it possible for Brits to ask where the nearest fish and chip shop is, or demand directions to the pub.
Siri can now launch apps. So bark 'launch Spotify' and Apple's robot butler should oblige. Car manufacturers like BMW, Mercedes, Land Rover, Jaguar, Audi, Toyota and Honda will be integrating Siri into cars, with a button on the steering wheel. That should make it easier to use Siri while you're driving, in a feature dubbed Eyes Free.
Much like iOS 5's Twitter integration, having Facebook baked into the next version of iOS means you'll be able to do things like post photos to Zuckerberg's social network straight from the Photos app. Facebook events and birthdays will appear in the Calendar app, helping you avoid those awkward missed-birthday situations.
You can update your Facebook and Twitter status right from the iOS notification bar too, saving you precious seconds.
Phone app changes
A new tool will remind you to call or text people back later or you can set reminders that will tell you to call someone when you leave your current location.
There's also a 'do not disturb' feature -- push notifications will be muted and the screen won't light up, which means you can sleep in peace. You can ignore calls from certain folks and set it so that if someone calls multiple times, they'll get through, because it could be an emergency.
FaceTime over 3G
At last, Apple's video calling service is no longer restricted to Wi-Fi calling only. That doesn't bode well for the Skype iOS app.
The Safari app now uses iCloud to remember tabs you're checking out on other devices. An Offline Reading List lets you download articles, so you can peruse them later, which could be useful for those who travel by train and frequently lose signal. With iOS 6, you'll be able to see web pages in full screen if you tilt your iPhone on its side.
You can now share photo streams with other people, which means you can see all the photos your buddies take, if you choose to let them into your secret circle of trust.
VIPs in Mail
Messages from people you really want to hear from will go into a special VIP mailbox, and missives from these folks will be highlighted on your device's lock screen. A sorely sought tweak means you pull up in mail to refresh messages.
This one's brand new -- Passbook collects all of your tickets and passes in one bit of software. Gig tickets, coupons, gift cards or boarding passes or things like your Starbucks card could be added to this app.
Changes to the events you have in Passbook get updates, so for example, if your flight is delayed, you'll see that in the app. Currently this is only confirmed for US carrier United Airlines.
Security will be an issue for this app -- customers will want to know that their tickets and passes are completely secure.
This accessibility feature means parents can disable on-screen controls, making it impossible to exit an app. Single App mode, meanwhile, could stop students from exiting a test application, for instance.
Other niceties include 'lost mode' for Find my iPhone, which lets you send a phone number to your errant mobile, for anyone who finds it to call. iOS 6 will also let you use multiple email signatures, so you don't subject your buddies to your boring business sig.
Not all these new features will be present on every device. iPhone 4 owners will be bereft of turn-by-turn navigation and 3D Flyover mode in Maps, and Siri. iPhone 3GS owners miss out on all those items, as well as shared photo streams, 3G FaceTime and the VIP smart mailbox. There's no offline reading in Safari either.
The iPad 2 gets all the new features and apps, but not Siri. The snarky assistant is exclusive to the new iPad and iPhone 4S.