Apple offers iOS 6 to developers ahead of iPhone 5 launch

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Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) released the final Golden Master build of its new iOS 6 operating system overhaul to registered developers hours after confirming the launch of its new iPhone 5.

Apple will roll out iOS 6 to iPhone 4S, iPhone 4, iPhone 3GS, new iPad, iPad 2 and fourth-generation iPod touch devices on Sept. 19. iOS 6 also will arrive preloaded on the iPhone 5, which hits U.S. retailers Sept. 21. "To prepare your apps for submission, download the [Golden Master] seeds for iOS 6 and Xcode 4.5 and test your existing apps for compatibility," reads an announcement posted to the iOS Dev Center site, adding "Be sure to review the updated App Store Review Guidelines and the iOS 6 Readiness Checklist and submit your apps today." To download the GM seeds, click here.

Apple first announced iOS 6 at its annual Worldwide Developer Conference in June, promising deep integration with Facebook and introducing a new Maps platform to replace Google's (NASDAQ:GOOG) Maps data. iOS 6 also brings Passbook, a new app that stores and updates boarding passes, retailer loyalty cards, movie ticket apps and related consumer information and documents, as well as new photo-stream sharing tools, simplified message flagging and overhauled Siri voice-activated software.

The iPhone 5 features a 4-inch screen replacing the 3.5-inch screen found across previous iterations of the smartphones. Apple has redesigned core iOS apps to take advantage of the larger display and said developers can also tweak their software to maximize the expanded real estate. The company is already working with a handful of developers to test apps designed for the iPhone 5 screen, including Open Table and CNN. Apple added that apps that have not been tweaked for the larger screen will be displayed in their original format optimized for the 3.5-inch screen and will be surrounded by a black border.

Apple also touted dramatic increases in app performance and speed with the iPhone 5's new A6 chip. "Compared to the A5 [chip], it's 2x faster," Apple Senior Vice President of Worldwide Marketing Phil Schiller said, adding "It's a huge jump in performance, but 22 percent smaller." Schiller noted highlights like a 2x increase in computing speeds as well as a 2x increase in graphics processing: "You're going to see this in many things you do," he told iOS developers. "2x performance across the board."

Electronic Arts Executive Producer Rob Murray joined Schiller onstage to demonstrate the A6 chip's impact on the publisher's Real Racing 3. "Look at the graphics here," Murray enthused. "Full console quality."

Apple CEO Tim Cook said the company's App Store now touts more than 700,000 iOS applications in all, including more than 250,000 optimized for the iPad tablet. Cook added that 90 percent of all iOS apps are downloaded at least once every month. "There's something [in the App Store] for everyone," Cook said. "And believe it or not, every app has its fans." He added that the average iOS device owner uses more than 100 apps in all: "It's a revolution. It's phenomenal."

For more:
- read this Verge article

Special ReportApple's iPhone 5: Complete coverage

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