Apple taunts E3 rivals in keynote

iOS5, Game Center upgrade revealed

The star of the show was undoubtedly iCloud, but as E3 kicked off in Los Angeles, 350 miles north in San Francisco Apple couldn't resist flexing its gaming muscles.

Apple taunted its gaming rivals during this evening's WWDC keynote, talking up the strength of iOS and growth of Game Center, while announcing a series of improvements to its games platform coming with iOS5.

"iOS is the most popular gaming platform on the planet," the company boasted, adding that there are now over 100,000 games available in the App store.

With iOS5 a major focus, Apple outlined a series of improvements to its Game Center service but not before taking another swipe at console makers.

Game Center has secured 50 million users in nine months, the company said. And, as Microsoft brought its Xbox press conference to a close, this figure was contrasted with Xbox Live, which Apple gleefully reported has taken eight years to reach 31m users.

Improvements scheduled for Game Center include Achievement Points and Game and Friend Recommendations, plus photos to make the experience "more social". You'll also be able to buy games from within the App.

Meanwhile, support for turn-based games is being added "at OS level" to help developers who, until now, have had to do "all the work".

Apple had more stat porn for the audience of developers: over 14 billion Apps have now been downloaded, with 425,000 Apps in total, including 90,000 specifically for iPad. $2.5 billion has been paid out to developers.

iPhone 5 was nowhere to be seen, but Apple used iOS5 to claim it was "ushering in the post-PC world" devices no longer needing to be connected to a PC as part of set-up. And via iCloud, new devices can be updated wirelessly and seamlessly over the air.

iOS5 will release to consumers this autumn.

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