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Apple ditches Google Maps software in latest iOS 6

Posted By Stuart Errington

Apple has unveiled its latest mobile operating system, iOS6, at its annual Worldwide Developers Conference.

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Apple will instead run its own mapping app, which has a high-quality 3D mode, on the platform.

Google announced its own 3D mapping software last week on its competing mobile platform, Android.

Both companies have used fleets of planes to capture the imagery, drawing concerns from some privacy campaigners.

Apple's updated iOS software is being released in beta on Tuesday, and will be available for general consumers by the autumn, chief executive Tim Cook said.

It will be a free update for owners of either an iPhone 4S, iPhone 4 or iPhone 3GS - as well as users of the latest iPad, the iPad 2 and fourth generation iPod touch.

'Biggest cheer'

Additional features include "eyes free", a feature on which Apple said it had worked with car manufacturers to integrate a "Siri button" to activate the iPhone's voice-operated assistant.

For the first time on Apple's devices, video calls will be able to be made over a cellular connection, rather than relying on wi-fi or another mobile internet source.

The switch to its own mapping platform will provide Apple with even more opportunities to monetise its users, said Carolina Milanesi, an analyst for Gartner, who attended the event in San Francisco.

"The opportunity that controlling maps gives to Apple for learning more about what their users are doing, keeping that information, and then being able to leverage that for advertising purposes is huge.""Maps got the biggest cheer [from the audience]," she said.

Ms Milanesi said the announcements appeared to be warmly received by the developers in attendance.

"iOS6 is a continued evolution," she continued.

"I think the whole operating system is getting more clever. It's learning from what consumers are doing and improving the experience."

Macbook revamp

The company also announced revamped models in its Macbook Pro and Macbook Air ranges.

Its new Macbook Pro is 0.71 inches thick, with a high-resolution Retina display. It utilises Intel's Ivy Bridge processor.

Its slimline Macbook Air range has also been upgraded with enhanced graphics and processing capabilities.

Both will offer a free upgrade to OS X Mountain Lion, the latest version of the Mac operating system which is set for release in July.

Among its features is enhanced synchronisation between desktop, laptop and mobile, thanks to iCloud, the company's cloud-based storage service.

Once again, predictions that Apple was set to announce a long-rumoured television failed to materialise.