The Apple Worldwide Developers Conference (WWDC) kicked off in fine style today in San Francisco and amongst all the other announcements was an early preview of iOS 6, slated for release sometime this Autumn (northern hemisphere). The new OS will ship with several killer features including a newly Apple-designed Maps app with included turn-by-turn navigation, and Passbook, an app created to manage your boarding passes, gift cards and movie tickets. Without further ado, let's take a look at some of the more notable aspects of iOS 6.

The Google-powered Maps app of old has been replaced with one of Apple's own design, which offers turn-by-turn spoken directions, real-time traffic information and a graphically impressive Flyover feature which has photo-realistic and interactive 3D views. Maps will also host a local search which plugs into Yelp to offer information from over 100 million business listings.

The built-in Phone app has been given its biggest overhaul in some time, with all-new options open to those who do not wish to accept a call. Mail has also been revisited, furnished with a more streamlined interface and new VIP list to help iOS users cut the wheat from the chaff and more quickly read messages from contacts who are designated as VIP's.

Siri has kept busy in the interim also, brushing up on geography to work properly in more countries and languages than before. In addition, the diminutive personal assistant can now launch third-party apps and understand commands related to sports, restaurant recommendations and movie listings - perhaps most importantly though, Siri is also coming to the latest generation iPad in iOS 6.

Passbook is an app which promises to manage your boarding passes, gift cards and movie tickets in one place, allowing iPhone and iPod Touch users to scan their device to use a coupon, check into a hotel or get into a concert. The app will update live and make use of location data in order to alert users to a late plane or the proximity of their favorite coffee shop.

Added to all the above are a slew of other additions such as Facebook integration, the freeing of FaceTime from its previous Wi-Fi-only restrictions, an overhaul of Photo Stream to enable sharing, and some further innovations in accessibility in the form of Guided Access. There's also the usual nip-and-tuck of many existing features which comes with a new iteration of iOS, and no doubt we'll learn further details as the northern autumn release date approaches.

Source: Apple