New features include a do-not-disturb option, the ability to reply to phone calls with a message, and Facetime over cellular.
Apple showed off the latest version of its mobile operating system today at its Worldwide Developers Conference in San Francisco. iOS 6 brings 200 new features to the iPhone and iPad.
The revamped operating system includes an updated version of Siri. In addition, iOS 6 comes with more personalization options, allowing users to turn on a do-not-disturb mode as well as respond to phone calls with a set message and set VIP status for individuals whose e-mails come through as alerts.
Apple will also finally allow Facetime to work over the cellular network; it previously worked only over a Wi-Fi network.
Apple will also consolidate a user's Apple ID and phone number, so calls and messages can be picked up via the iPhone or iPad.
Other new features include the ability to compile an offline reading list, a new photo upload feature, the ability to share photo streams, and an app called Passbook, which stores boarding passes, store cards, and movie tickets.
The latest version of iOS keeps the pressure on mobile competitors even as Android and Windows Phone ready their own updates to their respective operating systems. While Android long ago overtook iOS as the most popular mobile operating system, Apple's platform continues to be the one that draws in the most attractive mix of affluent customers and top-tier developers.
The beta for iOS 6 will go out to developers today, and will be available to consumers in the fall. The operating system will work with iPhone 3GS and later, as well as the second and third generation of the iPad.