Query for "iPhone 5 prices" (left) opens Apple Store app (right). | Source: Apple
The update comes less than a month after it was reported that changes were being made to the EasyPay point-of-sale system used in all brick-and-mortar Apple Stores, with the upgrades rumored to be in preparation of support for Passbook-based purchases.
According to the release notes, users will be able to purchase gift cards and email them to friends and family directly from the Apple Store app. Upon receiving the email, the digital cards can be stored in Passbook for use at one of Apple's retail locations.
At the time of this writing, the Apple Gift Cards were not yet available through the app, and a search for "gift card" brought limited results for App Store, iTunes, and iBooks cards, all of which are offered only with physical delivery options. It is unclear when Apple will activate the gift giving service.
The update also brought integration with Apple's Siri virtual assistant, which opens the Apple Store app when questions about price and availability are asked. For example, the question, "How much is an iPhone 5" opens the app directly to the dedicated iPhone page.
The iOS Apple Store app is a free 6.0MB download that can be found in the iOS App Store or iTunes.