As expected, Apple used the keynote of its annual WWDC event in San Francisco to announce the latest version of their iOS mobile platform. The sixth major build of the OS aims to bring the user experience to the next level with no less than 200 new features, services and UI tweaks.
The number is certainly huge, but then again so were the expectations of the millions of Apple fans around the globe. The fact that iOS 6 will only go official in three months' time heaps even more pressure on the latest release of the platform. By that point Android will probably have Jelly Bean to chew on, while Windows Phone will have released the multi-core friendly Apollo.
The iOS 6 key features include a Siri upgrade, system-wide Facebook integration and brand new Maps with turn-by-turn voice navigation. There're plenty of lesser new goodies such as achievements in the Game Center, new App store UI and the Music app, improved Safari with full-screen mode, better Mail, etc.
The complete changelog is coming up, but first we'll get the issue of compatibility out of the way. iOS 6 is compatible with the three latest iPhone generations (3GS, 4 and 4S), iPad 2 and 3 and the fourth-gen iPod Touch. The first iPad is not on the list, so if you are still holding on to the original Apple slate, you might finally want to consider an upgrade.
A few other restrictions apply, too: the iPhone 4S has finally lost its Siri exclusivity, but it's only going to share it with the iPad 3. The turn-by-turn navigation and the Flyover mode in Maps can be used only on dual-core iDevices - iPhone 4S, iPad 2 and iPad 3.
Now let's not waste any more time and get down to testing. We installed the beta release on an iPhone 4S, so all impressions of the OS are based on its performance. If you have an older-gen Apple smartphone your mileage may vary.