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Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) has released its much-awaited new mobile operating system that was first announced at the company’s developers’ conference in June and adds over 200 new features. Apple is making the update available to existing users of its mobile devices in a staggered release on Wednesday. The new software is compatible with the iPhone 3GS, iPhone 4, iPhone 4S, the iPad 2, the new iPad, and the fourth- and fifth-generation iPod touch.
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While Apple adds several coveted features with the update, one of its biggest earliest criticisms has been the automatic removal of the Google’s (NASDAQ:GOOG) Maps app. Apple is debuting its in-house navigation app with the update, with features such as 3D mapping, turn-by-turn directions, and traffic support, but initial reviews for the new system have not been very positive. As The New York Times’ David Pogue points out: “Not all is rosy in Mapsland.” According to Pogue, Apple’s database of points of interest is “sparser than Google’s”. In addition, the app lacks built-in public-transportation guidance, does not allow users to “rotate the map with your fingers or zoom in by more than a couple of degrees.”
Among other new features, the software includes an improved Siri for the iPhone 4S and adds the voice-activated assistant to the third-generation iPad and the new iPod Touch. iOS 6 is also much better integrated with Facebook (NASDAQ:FB) and adds Apple’s new Passbook app that can digitally store boarding passes, movie tickets, and other such items.
The new Safari browser allows the user to save a web page to read later even without an Internet connection and introduces iCloud Tabs, which share open tabs between multiple Apple devices. Other new features include the addition of shared photo streams, e-mail improvements, camera panoramas, and FaceTime over cellular data for at least some devices and on certain wireless operators.
The software can be downloaded from within the Settings app on the mobile device, and is available under the General option and then by tapping on Software Update.
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