Apple's mobile update will add 200 features
Apple Inc. showed off the next version of its mobile software, adding maps and integration with Facebook Inc., to extend its lead over Google Inc. in the market for handheld devices and downloadable applications.
Apple's iOS 6 will have more than 200 new features, including turn-by-turn navigation and tools that make it easier to access Facebook from iPhones and iPads, Cupertino, Calif.-based Apple said on Monday. The company upgraded its MacBook computers, adding faster chips and sharper displays to the high-end Pro model months before competing devices with Microsoft Corp.'s Windows arrive on store shelves.
Chief Executive Officer Tim Cook is using new software, shown at the company's annual Worldwide Developers Conference, to widen Apple's user base and woo developers who can add to a store that has more than 650,000 downloadable games, magazines and productivity tools. The success of Apple's App Store has helped to create a market for applications that will reach $58 billion in 2014, according to Gartner Inc.
IOS 6 will include Apple's own map tools, replacing Google Maps and giving Apple access to revenue from businesses that pay to post advertising messages within map-search results. Apple will work more closely with Facebook, making it easier for mobile-device users to use the social network's profile pages and other tools. Cook is beefing up Siri, which lets users control devices with voice commands.
More than 30 billion apps have been downloaded from Apple's store, and developers have received $5 billion from the sales, Apple said. Apple keeps 30 percent of the revenue raised from app-store sales, and developers get the rest.
Apple introduced thinner, lighter MacBook Pro computers that boast high- definition screens and start for $2,199. The MacBook Pros feature more powerful chips from Intel Corp., graphics capabilities from Nvidia Corp. and a port that connects to video from TVs or another source.
New MacBook Airs -- thinner and less pricey than Pros -- will sell for $999 to $1,499, Apple said.
Even as Apple works more closely with Facebook, it will also compete with the owner of the world's most popular social network in sales of apps. Facebook opened an online bazaar last week. Google's store has more than 500,000 apps, while Microsoft has lined up design firms, recruited interns and sent engineers on an around-the-world road show to line the shelves of its app store.