Wednesday, 10 June 2015

Apple's iOS 9 Features

1. Siri goes proactive

One of the major overhauls in iOS 9 can be found with Siri. The digital voice assistant has received a colourful facelift, but it's what's going on behind the scenes that is more interesting.

The new interface displays content in a better way, and Siri can now understand a wider range of requests on top of what was on offer in iOS 8. We were shown a number of examples during the keynote, including "show me my photos from Utah last August", "remind me to grab my coffee off the roof when I get in my car" and "play the top songs from 1982" via Apple Music.

Siri has been, until now, a reactive service, but that's changed in iOS 9. It's now Apple's answer to Google Now, with context sensitive information based on time, date and location. It can, for example, intelligently recognize when you get to the gym and plug in your headphones you'll want your workout mix, and display it on your lock screen.

2. Battery performance

In iOS 8, there is no clear battery saving mode. You're left to your own devices to turn off data, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth etc to try and conserve power.

That changes in iOS 9 with the introduction of a "low power mode," which Apple claims will provide you with three additional hours of typical usage.

iOS 9 apparently improves general performance too, with Apple saying it gives you an extra one hour of full usage over devices running iOS 8.

3. Multitasking on iPads

There are a few iPad-only new features incorporated into iOS 9. First up is the QuickType Keyboard, which adds handy copy, cut, paste tools to the suggestion bar, along with access to the camera, attachments and formatting.

Use two fingers on the keyboard and it becomes a track pad, allowing you to easily select the text you want -- something which is a little tricky in iOS 8.

There's also 'Slide Over', 'Split View' and 'Picture in Picture', which provide a range of multi-tasking options. The first two see two apps share the screen, the former just for a brief moment while the latter sees tho apps sit side by side permanently.

If you're familiar with Samsung's top end smartphones you'll recognize picture-in-picture, which allows you to pop out a video into a floating window.

4. App switching

Apple added contact shortcuts to the multi-tasking pane in iOS 8, but the large app previews means it's difficult to see just how many apps you have running.

This has been improved in iOS 9, with app previews now appearing as stacked cards, allowing you to flip through open applications far more easily and quickly, while getting a better overview on just how many you have open.

5. Spotlight Search

Apple has launched a search API for iOS 9, offering a huge improvement to the search feature. It will allow developers to index and link out their apps, making it easier to discover their content through the native search experience on iOS 9. Basically, users will be able to search not only apps or content from web, but also data within apps. This doesnt come as a surprise, considering recently Google started showing results from Android apps that users didn’t have installed on their phones.

6. Apple Pay

Unsurprisingly Apple Pay has been given a boost with iOS 9, but a word of warning -- it's still only supported on the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus (and Apple Watch).

Apple Pay on iOS 8 is compatible with a handful of US bank cards, but that support gets extended with iOS 9 to more providers including Discover, plus the service rolls out to users in the UK too.

With iOS 9 you can also add store credit and debit cards, plus loyalty and reward cards too. These are stored in "Wallet", the new name for "Passbook" in iOS 9.

7. Apple Maps gets transit data

Apple is regularly improving its once-disastrous mapping effort and with each update it becomes ever more useful, but it's still not quite a match for Google Maps.

One major improvement which was actually rumoured for iOS 8 but didn't arrive was public transport directions, which would add bus, train and subway routes, making it easier to get around.
Why it was a no show isn't clear but we're hoping it's a feature that will be picked up for iOS 9 if not before.
More ambitiously, we've also heard rumours that Apple is working on an augmented reality view that uses your camera to highlight points of interest on your screen. We never expected that to make it into iOS 8, but fingers crossed for iOS 9.

8. Support for older devices

Usually with a new iOS release older Apple devices are cast out into the cold with no update in sight, so it wasn't looking good for the iPad 2 and iPhone 4S.

That's not the case with iOS 9 however, as it will be coming to all the iPhones, iPads and iPods which received iOS 8. Therefore, iPhone 4S and above, iPad 2 and above, all iPad mini models, and iPod touch fifth-generation will get the latest software.

9. More free space

There's good news when it comes to downloading and installing iOS 9, as Apple has reduced its size.

The iOS 8 over-the-air (OTA) update was a hefty 4.6GB download, which caused many users issues with space on their devices. Last year, Apple had received a lot of flak from all quarters for the iOS 8 update taking up too much space for the install files.

The iOS 9 download is just 1.3GB -- which should be much more manageable.

10. Availability

As with iOS 8 last year, you'll be getting the iOS 9 update this "fall" (probably September) for free, but for the first time Apple will be launching a public beta this July -- allowing anyone to sign up and try the latest software before its official launch.




No comments:

Post a Comment