Apple rolls out iOS 6, upgrades Mountain Lion

New mobile OS adds Siri to iPad 3, Apple's mapping tech to all

Apple today shipped iOS 6, an upgrade that replaces Google Maps with Apple's own mapping technology and turn-by-turn GPS navigation.

The company also released OS X 10.8.2, an update for Mountain Lion, shortly after 1 p.m. ET.

Apple shipped the iOS 6 upgrade Wednesday at 1 p.m. ET, as expected.

Computerworld immediately began retrieving both iOS 6 and OS X 10.8.2, and in the initial stages, the downloads proceeded with little sign of stress on Apple's servers.

On Apple's support forums, there were dozens of messages announcing the availability of iOS 6 and OS X 10.8.2, but none that reported technical problems retrieving the upgrades. Some users, however, noted that their iPhones were taking longer-than-expected at the "Preparing Update" screen or that download speeds had quickly slowed, hinting at high traffic volumes.

iOS 6, which also powers the new iPhone 5 that Apple introduced last week, is a free upgrade for owners of the iPhone 3GS, iPhone 4 and iPhone 4S; iPad 2 and the new iPad launched in March 2012; and the fourth-generation iPod Touch that debuted two years ago.

Apple introduced iOS 6 in June at its annual developers conference, where Scott Forstall, Apple's top executive for iOS development, highlighted a handful of new features, including Apple's mapping technology, an enhanced version of the Siri voice-activated digital assistant, tight integration with Facebook and Passbook, a boarding pass and ticket manager.

iOS 6 adds Siri, Apple's voice-activated digital assistant, to one older device, the third-generation iPad.

OS X 10.8.2 includes Facebook integration for Mountain Lion, several new languages -- including Mandarin, Cantonese, Spanish, Korean and Italian -- in the operating system's Dictation feature, and Power Nap support for older MacBook Air notebooks first released in late 2010.

Apple launched Mountain Lion in July. By Sept. 1, the $20 upgrade had been snared by 20% of all Mac owners.

iOS 6 drops Google Maps in favor of Apple's own technology, and for the first time, turn-by-turn GPS directions.

The iPhone 5 and fifth-generation iPod Touch will have iOS 6 pre-installed. Both those devices go on sale in Apple's retail stores on Friday, Sept. 21. Pre-ordered units, meanwhile, are winging their way to customers, according to reports from buyers tracking the progress of their purchases through the delivery pipeline.

iOS 6 weighs in at 888MB, about 15% larger than last year's iOS 5, while OS X 10.8.2 is a 365MB download.

iOS 6 can be downloaded over the air from iPhones, iPads and iPod Touches, or through iTunes. OS X 10.8.2 is available by selecting "Software Update..." from the Apple menu, or by opening the Mac App Store application and clicking the Update icon at the top right of the screen.

Gregg Keizer covers Microsoft, security issues, Apple, Web browsers and general technology breaking news for Computerworld. Follow Gregg on Twitter at @gkeizer, on Google+ or subscribe to Gregg's RSS feed. His email address is gkeizer@computerworld.com.

See more by Gregg Keizer on Computerworld.com.

Read more about ios in Computerworld's iOS Topic Center.

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