Apple's mobile operating system, iOS – which runs its popular iPhone and iPad – is getting even more user-friendly. The Silicon Valley giant showed off improvements to the system during the opening keynote at its Worldwide Developers Conference (WWDC) in San Francisco Monday morning.
Siri – the voice-activated personal assistant available on the iPhone 4S – seems to have gotten smarter. It was able to reel off the day's sports scores and statistics during a demonstration. Garnering more excitement among developers at the event, Siri will now launch apps simply by telling it to "Play Angry Birds" or whatever app you want it to launch. Apple confimed that Siri will be included in the next iPad – no release date for the tablet just yet.
Scott Forstall, Apple SVP of IOS software, also announced a partnership with major vehicle manufacturers – BMW, GM, Audi, Toyota, Honda, just to name a few – who will integrate iOS into select cars over the next year. A button on the steering wheel will allow drivers to access many of the functions on their iPhones hands-free.
Forstall says iOS 6 features "the best Facebook integration ever in a mobile device." It's also been integrated with the App Store. And FaceTime, the company's video-chat feature, will be available over cellular networks in iOS 6, not just Wi-Fi.
Safari, Apple's mobile browser, is also getting some improvements, and the company is offering a 3D traffic map program that it "built from the ground up." It offers real-time information from users and includes turn-by-turn navigation, integrated with Siri.
The company said iOS 6 would be available this fall. Developers at WWDC are getting their hands on a beta version this week.
Apple said there have been 365 million iOS devices sold as of March, with four of every five running on iOS 5. There are a whopping 200 new features in iOS 6.
Meantime, CEO Tim Cook also announced staggering new stats from the company's App Store: 400 million accounts worldwide; 650,000 apps – with 225,000 of those specifically designed for the iPad; 30 billion apps downloaded (a new milestone); and more than $5 billion now paid out to developers.
The 23rd annual WWDC is bringing together attendees from 60 countries.