Developers begin seeing iOS 6 hits in App Store application usage logs

Last week, we revealed Apple’s decision to drop Google Maps in iOS 6 in exchange for its own in-house solution branded simply as “Maps.” At the time, we told you many versions of iOS 6 have been floating around Apple’s campus, which indicated Apple is likely on track for a mid-June unveiling at this year’s World Wide Developers Conference. Shortly after, references to an upcoming iOS 6 beta were found in the code strings of the iCloud.com beta website.

One app developer informed us today that it has recently noticed users running iOS 6 using its app. The developer observed the “iOS6″ string when collecting the OS version from analytics software. It has not been able to trace exactly when the iOS 6 users started appearing, but it was sometime over the past week. Other developers that we spoke to began seeing hits in late April. There is a good chance that this means Apple is amidst iOS 6 compatibility testing with higher-profile applications from the App Store. The process of next-generation versions of iOS appearing in developer usage logs occurred last year too.

Although Apple’s new Maps app and its 3D mode will likely be pushed as a major feature of iOS 6, we noted previously that anyone anticipating major home screen changes or Android-style widgets will likely be disappointed. Yesterday, The Wall Street Journal reported Apple was preparing to unveil an upgrade to iCloud at WWDC that would include new sharing and commenting features for photos, as well as video syncing capabilities that will likely be the Video Stream feature we told you about last year.
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