Apple officially unveils iOS 9 at WWDC 2015
Apple has announced iOS 9, the latest version of their mobile operating system. This latest version of iOS focuses on making your phone smarter, and helping it work more efficiently.
Here are some of the highlights:
With the latest version of its mobile platform, Apple is focusing on making it smarter and more powerful, starting with
Siri now has a feature called Proactive that can offer app suggestions and more based on context such as time of day or location.
Proactive lets Siri see what apps you have on your phone and suggest useful ones based on what you’re trying to do. Apple says that Siri can also look into your inbox to ID incoming calls that aren’t in your address book. All of this is wrapped into a new user interface for Spotlight that appears when you swipe down on a home screen in iOS.
The new Spotlight looks astonishingly stunning. iOS 9 also introduces deep linking within Spotlight searches, letting you access content within apps whenever you do a system-wide search, instead of just opening the app’s main page. Spotlight also can do unit conversions without opening a web search, something that Siri has done for a while, but now queries can be typed in addition to spoken.
Apple says that all of this new intelligent processing happens on the phone itself, meaning your data isn’t being sent to a server in the cloud. It’s a different stance than Google or Microsoft take, which leverage cloud processing to power their virtual assistants on Android and Windows Phone.
Apple’s mobile payments service, Apple Pay, is also getting significant updates in iOS 9. First, it’s launching in the UK, and will be compatible with more banks and credit card providers. It is also gaining support for store credit cards and loyalty cards. And finally, Apple is killing the Passbook name in favor of a new app called Wallet, which integrates credit cards, debit cards, store cards, and loyalty cards in one place.
Apple Pay will support 70% of the UK’s credit and debit cards. 250,000 UK merchant locations will support Apple Pay, including the London transportation system
Apple also repeated the news that Apple Pay support will be coming to Discover Card owners this fall in the US. An all new Square reader is launching this fall with Apple Pay support, with pre-orders starting today. Apple claims that there will be one million Apple Pay locations by July. Developers are seeing 2 times of an increase in their checkout rates when using Apple Pay. The Pinterest app will also add support for Apple Pay for buying from partner stores.
On stage at WWDC 2015, Apple showed off some of the upcoming changes users will see in the iOS 9 Notes app. Apple has added a new toolbar over the keyboard with several formatting options. Around half of iPhone users are currently using the Notes app, and with iOS 9 they will be able to add photos, create checklists, draw quick sketches with their finger, and much more. In addition, Notes will now appear in the Share Sheet, letting users quickly add a link right from Safari.It’s a lot closer to an Evernote competitor than ever before.
New for iOS 9 is an app called News, which, as you might expect from its name, is a place to get news content from a variety of sources. News is a new application for iPhone and iPad coming in iOS 9, built around your favorite news content. It lays out your news in a grid, animating as you scroll. News allows publishers to create custom content, including typography and layouts, bringing their branding into the app.
Articles are presented in a mobile-formatted layout that loads quickly and has informative animations and full-bleed images. Apple has partnered with a number of news organizations to provide content for the new app, such as CNN, Time, Wired, ESPN, Buzzfeed, and yes, The Verge. The app also can display articles from any web link
News is very similar to Flipboard and a number of other mobile reading apps that have been in the App Store for years. Apple claims the app will get smarter the more its used and will suggest content and articles based on what you prefer to read. News will be first available in the US, UK, and Australia.
Apple’s oft-criticised Maps app is getting some much-requested upgrades, including support for transit directions. The transit directions feature supports trains, buses, subways, and is launching in more than 20 cities, including New York, San Francisco, Beijing, London, Berlin, and more.
It’s Kinda already late for Apple to implement this, but yeah Finally we have it!
Perhaps the biggest change to the way iOS works is in the new multitasking mode for the iPad. iOS 9 now lets you run two apps side-by-side at the same time
Apps can be split 50-50 or 70-30 on the screen, and the iPad’s existing multi-finger touch gestures work in either side.
Videos can be watched in a picture-in-picture viewer that can be moved around the screen. Apple says that the split-screen mode will only be available on the iPad Air 2 (and presumably new iPads announced later this year), while picture in picture and the ability to swipe in apps from the side will come to older iPads.
Performance boosts focus on efficiency and battery life
Apple is making a number of performance improvements in iOS 9. Enhancements have been designed around efficiency, with faster animations, CPU usage reductions, and battery improvements.
iOS 9’s core graphics are now on top of Metal. Using Metal, Apple’s built-in apps feature faster scrolling and smoother animations. There has been a 50% reduction in CPU usage with iOS 9, and Apple says they are seeing up to an hour of extra battery life in the iPhone 6 running the system. They’ve even added a lower power mode that extends battery life up to three additional hours.
Apple will first release iOS 9 to registered developers today, followed by a public beta in July.