iOS 9, one of the highlights of Apple’s ‘Hey Siri’ event, will be available as a free download as of 16th September, and aims to “make iOS devices more intelligent and proactive with powerful search and improved Siri features, all while protecting users’ privacy.”
One of the most exciting things from our workaholic/game addicted point of view is the new string of multitasking modes, including Picture-in-Picture, which lets you play video or conduct FaceTime calls while browsing the web, composing email etc in the background. iPad users will also get to experience Slide Over, which lets you simultaneously work in a second app without leaving the one you’re in (it appears in a sidebar that takes up about a third of your screen) and Split View, which allows you to view and interact with two apps at the same time, side by side, and resize your view to prioritise one or another of the apps.
The core apps get an update
Updates to iOS’s built-in apps include a redesigned Notes app that adds the ability to sketch designs, add photos, sync with iCloud and create wunderlist-style checklists; a Flipboard-style News app that presents you with a clean interface for reading Siri-curated content (it’s based on your interests and browsing, but you can always edit what you’re shown) and the addition of public transport routes to key cities in Maps, should you be about to head to IBC and unfamiliar with Dutch transit.
“iOS 9 is packed with intelligence that makes every experience with iPhone and iPad even more powerful — Siri can do more than ever and new proactive assistance helps you get more done before you ask, all while protecting users’ privacy,” said Craig Federighi, Apple’s senior vice president of Software Engineering. “With iOS 9 we focused on strengthening the foundation of iOS with a deep focus on quality, and with the help of more than one million users who participated in our first ever public beta program, we’re excited to release the best version of iOS yet.”
The addition you’re most likely to notice day to day is proactive assistance, which helps Siri present the most relevant information at a given time of day and suggests actions at that particular moment based on the apps you use frequently and the time of day you use them. So for example, if you always stream music during your morning run, Siri will open Apple Music at the right time each morning, without you having to set a reminder. You can also add more context-reliant reminders, such as “remind me to call Dave when I get home”, and your phone will use location data to identify when you’ve arrived home and pull up the appropriate contact.
Although we tend to get Apple Pay features slightly behind the US, we see no reason not to be excited about the fact that Apple Pay has added support for Discover, store loyalty programmes and “participating store-issued credit and debit cards”, which doesn’t sound like something that happens this side of the pond, but still. Shoppers will be able to manage their cards in the new Wallet app, which replaces Passbook.
Longer battery life, more storage and better graphics
Glory be and hallelujah. This latest release gives you an additional hour of battery life, and a power saver mode that sources say should give you an extra three hours per charge. In iOS 9, software updates will require less space to install and the Install Later feature can perform updates to your device when it’s not in use. Enhanced security features in iOS 9 keep your devices and Apple ID secure by strengthening the passcode that protects your devices and improving two-factor authentication by building it directly into iOS, making it harder for others to gain unauthorized access to your Apple ID. iOS 9 apps and the user interface now take advantage of Metal to deliver faster scrolling, smoother animation and better overall performance.
iOS 9 will be available beginning Wednesday, September 16 as a free software update for iPhone 4s and later, iPod touch 5th generation and later, iPad 2 and later and iPad mini and later. Some features may not be available in all regions or all languages. For more information visit the Apple site.