At a "Let's Talk iPhone" keynote event today, Apple CEO Tim Cook announced that iOS 5 would be launched as a free update for iPhone (3GS+), iPod Touch (3rd Gen+) and iPad devices on October 12.
As previously revealed
the new update will include enhancements to Apple's Game Center social gaming app, such as achievement points, photos, and friend recommendations. Game Center now enjoys 67 million users, Cook said at the event.
Users of iOS5 will also have free access to Apple's iCloud service, which will allow for easier app syncing and daily, automatic app backups to the cloud.
iOS5 will also include other enhancements, including a Cards app that allows users to send printed cards through snail mail, quicker access to the Camera app, and improved location tracking and sharing services.
Apple used the opportunity to talk up the success of the iPod Touch, which Cook called "the most popular portable game player in the world." The device will now be available at $199 for the low-end 8GB version, down from $229, and will also be available in a new white case.
The iOS App Store has now passed 18 billion downloads, at a current rate of over 1 billion a month, from a selection of over 500,000 apps, including 140,000 made specifically for the iPad.
The iPhone now has 5 percent of the worldwide handset market, according to Apple, making it the world's number one smartphone, and 70 percent of iPhone users are reportedly satisfied with the device. "We believe that over time all phones become smartphones," Cook said. "This market is an enormous opportunity."
[Thanks to Gdgt's Liveblog for providing coverage and quotes from the event.]