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Next iOS update could be Apple's biggest in a long time

June 04, 2012|By Salvador Rodriguez
  • Siri could be heading to the iPad in the next version of iOS. This is a mock-up from 9 to 5 Mack of what it could look like.
Siri could be heading to the iPad in the next version of iOS. This is a mock-up… (Spencer Caldwell / 9 to 5…)

A week before the annual Worldwide Developer's Conference, rumors of what Apple has packed into iOS 6 have become rampant -- and it looks like the update could be the biggest in a long time.

Apple may be gearing up to launch Siri on the iPad, add brand new features to iOS, redesign its store apps, integrate Facebook, launch a 3-D map app and put it all on a larger-screen iPhone.

Although the actual update for iOS 6 likely won't arrive until October, to coincide with the rumored launch of the next iPhone, speculation of what Apple will be throwing into the new operating system has picked up because the update will likely be revealed June 11 in San Francisco at the WWDC keynote event.

Among the rumors, the most important feature would be Siri's jump from the iPhone to the bigger screen  iPad. Apple is expected to announce Siri will be moving to Apple's tablet computer, where it will be able to execute all of its commands, except for those having to do with making calls.

But unlike its form on the iPhone, Siri will only take up a portion of the iPad's screen. The voice assistant will slide up from the bottom of the screen in a small window that overlaps whatever app is being used, according to 9 to 5 Mac, which created a mock-up of the feature.

What is not yet known, though, is if Siri will be coming to all iPads or just the most recent model, which was released earlier this year. 

But the iPad won't be the only device getting new features. Nine to 5 Mac, citing "trusted sources," also reports iOS 6 will come with three other features that'll be included on the iPhone.

One of those is iCloud Tabs, which will let users see a list of all the tabs opened on Safari across their iCloud-connected devices, choose whichever tabs they like and open them on the device they are currently using.

In theory, this feature would let a person leave his tabs open on his Mac and iPad, then check them on his iPhone and reopen them there.

Another feature coming to iOS is called Mail VIPs, which is already part of the Mountain Lion system for Macs. This feature is similar to Gmail's Important label. Mail VIPs will let you place stars on people who email you, highlighting those contacts that are more important.

And perhaps the most helpful of the bunch will be the "Do Not Disturb" feature for iOS's Notification Center. This feature, which is also on Mountain Lion, will be in the Settings app and will let users turn off their notifications, which would come in handy for when you need to focus on a single app or you simply need some quiet.

But along with the new features, iOS 6 is also expected to include redesigned apps for iTunes, iBooks and the App Store.

The emphasis here is making Apple's products more discoverable, and 9 to 5 Mac reports Apple plans to do that by making the redesigned apps more social. This rumor is probably pretty likely since Apple is also expected to integrate Facebook into iOS 6.

Along with these rumors, it's also been speculated that Apple will be launching a new map app that will include 3-D graphics that will replace the current Google Maps App.

And as if all these changes, new features and updates weren't enough, the actual platform for the system is also expected to receive a renovation. The sixth generation iPhone, which many are dubbing the iPhone 5, is expected to have a near-4-inch screen, keep the same width but probably become a little longer.

Who knows what exactly Apple will reveal next week, but one thing's for sure: Apple rumor season is in full swing.

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