Apple releases iOS 6

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Apple releases iOS 6

Google apps pushed out.

Apple has released the sixth version of its iOS operating system for iPhone, iPad and iPod touch devices.

The US giant claimed the update offered more than 200 new features, including a new in-house designed maps application that displaces the existing Google Maps one.

Google's YouTube app has also disappeared, with a separate and improved YouTube app available instead from Apple's App Store.

Google's search engine remains the default in the new version of the Safari web browser in iOS 6.

The Apple maps app supports turn-by-turn navigation for the first time, with spoken directions on iPhone 4S and 5, as well as second and third generation iPads with wi-fi and cellular connectivity.

Siri, Apple's voice recognition system featured on newer iPhones and iPads, has also received a makeover in iOS 6, and now lets users tweet and post updates to Facebook and launch apps. Several more languages are now supported by Siri too such as Mandarin, Cantonese, Korean and Canadian French and English.

Phone functionality improvements include Do Not Disturb to suppress incoming calls and notifications. Reply With Message and Remind Me Later options for declined calls are also available, while some devices would also be able to make video calls over mobile connections.

China-specific features have been introduced, including improved Pinyin text input as well as for handwriting, Baidu search, and Tudou and Yukou video sharing.

While many of the new features in iOS 6 will only work on newer iPhones, the update is available for 3GS devices too.

Separately, Apple also rolled three updates to versions of its desktop operating system, OS X. Version 10.7.5 of OS X Lion is now available for older Apple desktop machines, and 10.8.2 Mountain Lion for newer ones. A security update is also available for the Snow Leopard version of Mac OS X.

The updates come with security fixes, battery life improvements for portables, and Gatekeeper, which can be set to block the installation of apps that do not carry a specific signature.

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