Last week Apple announced iOS 9, the next version of their operating system on mobile. This release is set to make the platform smarter and more powerful, with upgrades to built-in apps and Siri, improvements to performance, and new features that are looking to create a better experience and change the way we interact with our devices. Below are many of the changes we can expect to see with this upgrade.
iOS 9 is set to be smarter than ever with proactive suggestions. It will be able to learn your habits and act accordingly, based on the apps you use and even the time of day you use them. If you usually listen to music on your morning bus ride, the phone will open the music app when you plug your headphones in in the morning. When you have an appointment in your calendar your phone will tell you when you need to leave based on the traffic conditions. A contact name can be found for incoming calls with unfamiliar numbers, by searching your inbox for contact details matching the number. If you receive an email confirming a restaurant booking, a suggested calendar event will be created.
Tying in with the proactive suggestions will be the new search. Swiping down on the home screen reveals the search page which will show suggested contacts based on things like upcoming appointments, news, suggested apps based on what you’re most likely to use at the time and places nearby such as restaurants and shops.
The search function itself will see many improvements, including being able to do calculations and conversions, the ability to call or message a contact without leaving the search screen, see sports scores and weather forecasts, as well as search deep within apps. The deep search will work with supported apps, and will let you do things like search for a recipe within a recipe app and search a specific flight within a flight app. Tapping the search result will then take you directly to that content within the app.
iOS 9 will see a more powerful Siri, with an increase in the range of commands users can issue, with more accurate results. If you’re looking at something within an app, you can ask Siri to create a reminder for a specific time, such as when you get home or when you get in your car. You can say ‘Remind me of this at 6pm’ and Siri will know that ‘this’ refers to what you’re looking at within the app.
Siri will also be able to search through your photos based on locations, dates, and keywords in album titles. For example ‘Show me photos of my trip to Singapore in December’ will bring up the photos that match that time and place.
With iOS 9 comes News, a built-in app that collects news stories based on which organisations and publishers you prefer. Optimised for iPhone and iPad, the app will feature editorial layouts, animation, videos and photo galleries. As you use the app, it will learn the types of articles you like to read and personalize the articles it offers up accordingly.
Changes to the Maps app sees it come more in line with Google maps with the addition of the Transit view. Users can plan how to get from A to B via public transport within the app, and even ask Siri for directions. In addition the Nearby feature lets users explore what’s in the area, such as places to eat and shop.
The Wallet (previously known as the Passbook) will integrate not only credit cards but store cards and loyalty cards. For example, American users can use their JCPenney credit cards and Dunkin’ Donuts loyalty cards with the Wallet app.
The Notes app will see improvements, including the ability to create checklists, take photos within the app, add a map or URL, and to draw within the app. Notes synchronizes with iCloud meaning that your notes are accessible and up to date on all your devices.
Mulitasking on iPad
We will also see changes specific to the iPad, focusing on multitasking and productivity. iOS 9 will introduce Slide Over, Split View and Picture in Picture. The first will allow iPad users to open another app by swiping from the ride side of the screen, keeping their current app open. This addition will make it easy to do things like write a quick note, respond to a message or google something without leaving the app they were in. However, while an app is ‘slid over’, the first app isn’t active. If a user wants to use two apps at the same time, they can switch to Split View. The two apps sit side by side, each taking up half of the screen, and retain their full functionality.
Picture in Picture means you can continue to play a video or use FaceTime while using other apps, by scaling the video down to the corner of the screen. The video will be draggable and resizable, with a tap revealing the controls to pause it.
Longer battery life
Apple promises to improve battery life by about an hour with ‘apps and key technologies’ being made more efficient. In one example, the phone’s light and proximity detectors will be able to tell if it’s sitting face down on a table, and prevent the screen from lighting up when receiving a notification.
A Low Power mode will extend battery life even further, up to three hours, through a variety of methods, including turning off Mail fetch and background refreshing, lowering the screen brightness, turning off sensors, and having the screen go to sleep faster.
Touch-ID enabled iPhones and iPads will now have a 6 digit passcode instead of 4, making it harder to crack. The addition of two-factor authentication means signing in on a new browser or device will require a password as well as a verification code, which will display on your other Apple devices.
While the visual change from iOS 8 to iOS 9 looks to be a small one, the changes it will make to user experience and performance looks to be sizeable. The general public will need to wait till later this year to upgrade to iOS 9, though in the mean time registered developers can gain access, with a beta release coming in July.
New features like Slide Over and Split View will mean that apps developed before iOS 9 will need to be updated, as they otherwise may not work correctly in these views. If you’ve got an app and want to take advantage of these new features, contact us on 07-3891 2299 or firstname.lastname@example.org and we can discuss upgrading your app to iOS 9.