August 18, 2012, 7:05 AM — Apple has already given us a brief preview of the new operating system that is set to launch this Autumn. Here's everything we know about Apple's upcoming iOS 6 update for iPad, iPhone, and iPod touch owners.
When will iOS 6 launch?
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Apple announced iOS 6 on Monday 1 June at WWDC and we expect iOS 6 to launch alongside the iPhone 5, which is rumoured to launch on 12 September, for an on-sale date of 21 September. Traditionally a new OS is launched at the same time that the phone is available to the public.
Can I get it earlier than that?
Apple does run a beta test of iOS to members of the Apple Developer connection (iOS app developers) so they can test out their apps and ensure they work correctly with the upcoming operating system. Apple recently release iOS 6 beta 4 to developers with several new features implemented.
Will there be anything special for iPhone 5 owners?
The iPhone 5 hasn't been launched yet, so it's possible it will have some features that aren't part of the iOS beta.
One thing we do know is that Apple's iOS 6 can be scaled for taller iPhone 5 display with 24 icons.
How much will it cost?
We expect the update to be free to all iOS device owners with supported devices. Apple hasn't charged for iOS updates since iOS 3, when it applied a small nominal charge to iPod touch owners to comply with some obscure US tax requirement.
Will my iPad/iPhone/iPod touch be updated?
iOS 6 is designed to work on all devices that Apple is currently shipping. So that's the iPhone 3Gs, 4, 4S; the iPad 2 and new iPad (third-generation); and iPod touch (fourth-generation).
One noticable exception is the first generaton of iPad, which isn't getting the iOS 6 update even though it theoretically has much more capable hardware than the iPhone 3GS. This is somewhat annoying to first-gen iPad owners.
Note that the features you get depend on which device you have. Here's a chart outlining support for devices and some of the key features.
So, what's the big flashy feature?