Headliner for Apple’s WWDC? That’d be iOS 9, which got a very extensive reveal at the San Francisco event yesterday evening. Or morning, depending on where you are in the world. The update is scheduled for later this year, as is customary, but here’s what you can expect from your Apple mobiles and tablets when the update lands.
Siri’s getting extra smarts
Siri, the lauded digital assistant, has largely fallen by the wayside. Some users exploit her talents but not as many as Apple would like. For that reason Cupertino have decided to use iOS 9 to roll out Proactive Assistant for Siri (called it), a feature that will inject a few more brain cells into your phone’s AI resident. Siri will start to learn from your usage habits, offering more helpful suggestions based on past actions. Your phone will also launch Music when your headphones are plugged in, offer to direct you when you get into a Car Play-enabled vehicle and more besides. Google Now and Cortana may actually have some competition from Apple.
Those OS X upgrades? They’re here too
El Capitan’s updates are going to be making an appearance in iOS 9 too, of course. That means that there’s a more intelligent Spotlight, Maps will have public transportation info as well as Transit and there’s one other thing…
Split-screen tablet apps are a thing
OS X’s split-screen apps, with ‘snap’ functionality’, will also be showing up in iOS 9. For tablets, obviously, it’s pretty hard to imagine using an iPhone effectively with multiple apps consuming all the screen real estate. So your iPad will have a choice between Split View, SlideOver and picture-in-picture modes. Split View consists of two apps at once, each consuming half your screen. SlideOver lets you have one app dominate, with another taking up the remainder of the space and picture-in-picture does just what it says on the tin. We’re still convinced that this little addition points towards that iPad Pro we’ve all been expecting for so long – it’d just work so well on a 13-inch display.
Apple Pay is expanding its reach
This is more of a curiosity than anything useful here at home but Apple’s NFC-powered Apple Pay will be leaving the States for other climes in July this year. It’ll be making itself known in the UK, which is a start, but we’re still waiting for its tendrils to stretch down here to the tip of Africa. For those who can use it, Apple’s debuting Wallet – which replaces Passbook – to augment their Apple Pay system.
Apple will be debuting News
A fan of Flipboard or another bespoke magazine app? Apple aims to change that with the launch of News in iOS 9. If you’ve ever used Flipboard you’ll know exactly what to expect from News, it’s going to pull information from sources that you specify and present them in an attractive, easy-to-read format. What News will apparently do that is unique is learn from your reading habits, but we’ve yet to actually see that in action. Knowing Apple, it’ll be slickly done.
iOS 9 will give you extra stamina
This is only on Apple’s say-so right now but iOS 9 will be giving your phone’s battery a boost. And by boost we mean it’s not going to drain as fast. There’s a claimed extra hour of powered-on time before you need to resort to the charger coming up, as well as a new low power mode that can keep you going in extreme circumstances. Apple haven’t explained what will continue working when the low power mode is active – we’d guess that almost everything but calls and SMS will be halted to give you the promised three-hour grace period.
If your phone or tablet runs iOS 8, then it’s going to run iOS 9. None of the currently-supported device list will have to go out to pasture when iOS 9 drops later this year, so even the ageing iPad 2 and iPhone 4s will have their crack at everything Apple’s cooking up.
And you won’t have to wait until later this year to get a look at it, as long as you don’t mind some instability. Like OS X El Capitan, you can pre-register for a July beta test. And there should be fewer update issues this year, instead of the 4.6GB update from iOS 7 to iOS 8, you’re going to be looking at a 1.8GB download from 8 to iOS 9.