WWDC 2012: Maps, Siri on the iPad, Facebook integration, Facetime over cellular, Passcard and more

June 11, 2012

Siri’s coming to the iPad, and she’s bringing Facebook with her.

Apple announced Monday that Siri, introduced with the last iPhone, will also be coming to the new iPad with much more functionality.

Siri got some serious upgrades, including the ability to launch apps (!), dictate Facebook updates and the ability to find out the score to the latest game. The assistant can look up movie trailers through a partnership with Rotten Tomatoes, the report said. The company is also offering Facebook integration in much the same way it offers Twitter integration: good news for social creatures.

All part of iOS 6, these upgrades will come to the iPhone 3GS and up, the 4th generation iPod Touch and the iPad 2 and new iPad.

Actually, Apple knocked a lot of things off the user wishlist with the presentation. The company delivered on one of the biggest features that customers have been clamoring for: Facetime over cellular. Users will be able to answer calls sent to their Apple ID from any device. Safari is also getting an upgrade or two, with addition of an offline reading list and iCloud tabs, which tell you what you’re browsing on all of your devices. You can decide to selectively send photos to people over the Photo Stream. Even the good ol’ phone is getting an upgrade, with Apple adding the ability to respond to a call with a message or to set a reminder that someone called you if you get pinged when you don’t have time to talk.

One new feature offered in iOS 6 is the Passbook, which will let you store all of your tickets — boarding passes, movie tickets, etc. — along with gift cards on your phone. It's not quite a digital wallet, but it comes awfully close for something that doesn’t offer credit card integration. The Passbook will even remind you when events you have tickets for are or will check gates for you.

Apple also, as expected, detailed a new Maps program that it’s built in-house from the ground up. The app will offer turn-by-turn directions, traffic overviews and 3D modeling — features already in Android phones that some Apple users have coveted in the past.

Siri will also be able to find your destination and use Maps to find the fastest way to get there, the company said. The maps app will also have local search integration, with small baseball-like cards that outline the phone number, address, Web page and other information from local businesses.

The beta of iOS 6 is going out to developers Monday, and will support the iPhone 3GS and later versions. The operating system will go out to consumers this fall.

Related stories:

WWDC 2012: Apple announces new MacBook Pro, starting at $2199

WWDC 2012: Apple online store is down, updates likely

WWDC 2012: Apple’s iOS 6, Mountain Lion, MacBooks, Macs

Hayley Tsukayama covers consumer technology for The Washington Post.
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