Apple took a jab at its rival, Samsung Electronics Co., which had been touting its Galaxy phones as better than iPhones because they sport near-field communication chips that allow people to share files by bumping phones together.
"No need to wander around the room bumping your phone with others," said Craig Federighi, senior vice president for software engineering.
The company also stepped up its rivalry with Google, maker of the Android software on Samsung and other phones. Apple said the Siri virtual assistant will use searches from Microsoft's Bing, Google's rival. Apple also is bringing its mapping service to desktops and laptops to compete with Google Maps and others.
The Cupertino, Calif., company is also launching a Pandora-like Internet radio service, iTunes Radio. It will be built into the Music app and stream music for free. There will be advertising, except for people who pay $25 a year for the iTunes Match online music storage.
Apple was a pioneer of online music sales and is still a leader in that field, but streaming services such as Pandora and Spotify have emerged as popular alternatives to buying. Pandora relies on its users being connected to the Internet at all times and plays songs at random within certain genres for free.
Last month, rival Google Inc. started an on-demand subscription music service called All Access that gives subscribers the ability to pick and choose specific songs and albums from a catalog of millions for playback on computers, tablets and smartphones in exchange for a monthly fee.
Apple updates its iOS operating system every year and doesn't charge for the updates. The new operating system will be available for the iPhone 4 and later models, and on the iPad 2 and later models, including the Mini. The launch of the new software traditionally coincides roughly with the launch of the year's new iPhone model.
Federighi said the new software will be out in the fall.