Apple has announced that iOS 6, the next major operating system update for its line of smartphones and tablets, will release this fall with features designed to better promote applications on the redesigned App Store.
With more than 650,000 apps available on the marketplace (225,000 for iPad), many developers have complained that it can be difficult for consumers to discover their game on the App Store.
During a keynote presentation at its Worldwide Developers Conference today, Apple discussed a number of new changes that will come with iOS 6, including redesigns for its iTunes Store and App Store so that they will "[be more] fluid and better promote your app." For example, each of the store's home pages will nod display "the best of what's new" in games and apps at the top.
The company did mention, however, that as part of its broad integration of Facebook features into the OS, users can now "Like" apps both in the mobile App Store and the desktop iTunes Store. Those apps are shared with their friends on Facebook, and they can see what apps their friends Like, too.
With iOS 6, developers can also integrate features allowing users to post updates to Facebook from within their apps, such as messages about achievements or about their favorite games.
Apple briefly discussed Game Center, its mobile social game network, and said it will soon allow users to send "challenges" to their friends with iOS 6. Players will be able to find their Facebook friends on Game Center, too.
It also reminded WWDC attendees that Mountain Lion, its OS update coming to Macs next month, will bring Game Center to Apple desktop and notebook computers with cross-platform multiplayer support across its tablets, smartphones, and PCs. Apple demonstrated that cross-platform play with a new game from Natural Motion, CSR Racing, which releases this fall.
More than 130 million users have registered for Game Center since its launch in September 2010, and of the top 100 games on the App Store, 67 percent of them have integrated the service.
Beyond that, Apple spent very little time talking about games during its two-hour WWDC keynote, bringing them up to mention how titles like Diablo III will be updated to support the new Macbook Pro's high-resolution (2880 x 1800) Retina display, or how users can launch games like Temple Run on their phones through more powerful Siri voice commands.
iOS 6 will support iPhone 3GS and newer, second- and third-generation iPads, and fourth generation iPod Touches. A beta version of the OS is available to developers starting today.