New Apple mobile software gets maps, Siri updates

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IOS 6 will have enhancements to Siri, which interprets voice commands and talks back to the user. It is also coming to the iPad for the first time.

Since Siri was introduced in October with the iPhone 4S, Siri has been “studying up and learning a lot more,” says Scott Forstall, Apple’s senior vice president for iPhone software. Siri’s sharpened intellect will be especially apparent when the voice assistant is fielding questions about movies, restaurants and other things, according to Forstall.

He demonstrated that by having Siri tell whether LeBron James or Kobe Bryant is the taller basketball player. Siri replies, “LeBron James appears to be slightly taller” as the cards of both players are displayed on an iPhone screen.

Apple says it is partnering with Yelp Inc. so that Siri can include ratings and prices of restaurants when you ask her about places to eat. The company is also partnering with OpenTable Inc. to make reservations.

Siri will now be available in more languages and more countries.

Apple also says it’s working with car manufacturers to let you use a button on the steering wheel to talk to Siri, allowing you to keep your hands on the road. Apple says General Motors Co., BMW AG and Daimler AG’s Mercedes are among the automakers that have promised to offer Siri integration in the next 12 months.

_ Calls

Don’t want to be disturbed?

Apple’s new software will give you more options for preventing messages and text notifications from disturbing you at night, for instance.

You can control how and when you get back to people. If you can’t call someone back right away, you can set a reminder to call that person back later or have a text message sent directly to the caller.

There’s a “call when you leave” feature that reminds you to call back when you are leaving a building or office. The phone can detect when you are leaving.

_ Passbook

Apple’s new Passbook feature will be a central place to keep your boarding passes, tickets and gift cards.

When you get to a Starbucks, for instance, the device will bring up your gift card if you have one and if you have the location feature turned on. Likewise, when you get to a movie theater or baseball stadium, the ticket will pop up. Passbook will also alert you to gate changes and flight delays once you have a boarding pass stored.

Forrester Research analyst Charles Golvin suspects Passbook will be the foundation for a digital commerce hub that Apple is trying to implant on its mobile devices starting with the next iPhone. “This looks like a harbinger of a digital wallet that could handle a variety of transactions,” Golvin said.

Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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