* Apple gets into maps, burnishes Siri
* Signals Apple remains invested in Macs
* More on mobile expected later
(Adds new map service, iPads also to get new Siri, Facebook
By Poornima Gupta and Alexei Oreskovic
SAN FRANCISCO, June 11 (Reuters) - Apple Inc took
the wraps off its own mobile mapping service and made its
enhanced Siri voice-search available for iPads as it rolled out
souped-up software and hardware on Monday to help it wage war on
CEO Tim Cook, who took over from late co-founder Steve Jobs
last August, spearheaded the unveiling of new services -- such
as in-house mapping and beefed-up Siri software -- to help keep
at bay Google and its fast-growing Android mobile platform.
Its new mobile operating software -- the iOS6 -- comes with
a mapping system "built from the ground up," said software chief
Scott Forstall, sidelining the Google map service that the
Internet giant has invested heavily in.
Apple's map service comes with three-dimensional images of
cities called "Flyover" along with real-time traffic updates and
And Siri, the innovative voice-activated iPhone
search-feature users have criticized as faulty and inadequate,
is now available on iPads and recites a larger database of
answers, especially sports, restaurants and movies. It is also
integrated into the new mapping service.
Finally, executives said Apple has integrated No. 1 social
network Facebook deeper into the operating system,
allowing Siri-users to post photos with voice commands.
Long lines marked the beginning of the week-long annual
Worldwide Developers' Conference, where Apple developers rub
shoulders with employees, test the latest products and software,
and connect with peers. Apple kicked off proceedings by touting
its hardware, its biggest edge over Google.
At 0.7 inches, the new MacBook Pro -- Apple's highest-end
laptop -- ranks among the thinnest laptops in the market and
will hit store shelves months before many Microsoft
Windows-equipped "Ultrabooks." They will employ the "retina"
displays that have won strong positive reviews for the new iPad,
but start at an eye-popping $2,199 price tag.
Marketing chief Phil Schiller outlined how the redesigned
MacBook Air notebooks, also unveiled at the conference, will be
about $100 cheaper on average than predecessors, but sport
quicker Intel Corp processors, potentially eating into
territory staked out by Hewlett-Packard, Dell Inc
and other PC makers.
Analysts have speculated that the company will begin
aggressively competing on price, gradually shrinking the premium
its Macs carry in general.
More than ever, Apple finds itself in a pitched battle with
Google: in smartphones, cloud computing, and a never-ending
competition to attract the best software developers. That is
crucial as Apple looks to draw users deeper into its
Cook told the audience that customers have downloaded more
than 30 billion Apple apps so far, choosing from more than
650,000 apps -- the largest library in the industry.
Battling in many arenas, the rivals employ different
weapons. Apple's vise-like grip on its ecosystem - with the
closely managed app store and its seamless integration with the
hardware - stands in sharp contrast to Google's free-for-all
The open system approach, reminiscent of Microsoft Corp's
hugely successful strategy of creating standard-setting
software that runs on a variety of hardware, has allowed Android
to capture the market lead in smartphones, albeit with nothing
close to Apple's profit margins.
Android has also helped create several potent hardware rivals
to Apple. Samsung Electronics' Android-driven Galaxy
SIII is drawing favorable comparisons to iPhone and Amazon.com
Inc's cheaper Kindle Fire is challenging Apple in
tablets and digital content.
The move - years in the making - to replace Google Maps is a
dramatic example of how the rivalry between the companies has
Google has invested huge sums in mapping technology over the
years, and about half its map traffic now comes from iPhones and
iPads. Among other things, the traffic from those devices
reveals valuable location data that helps improve the mapping
service and provides features like real-time traffic reports.
(Reporting by Poornima Gupta and Alexei Oreskovic; Editing by
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