Apple had unveiled its new iOS 9 at WWDC15, marking the 9th generation of its mobile platform. While on the surface it doesn’t look radically different since iOS 7, the new version brings a couple of major refinements for the iPhone, iPad and iPod Touch which are big on productivity and intelligence.
In a nutshell, iOS 9 is supposed to work harder for you, to give you what you want based on your past and current behaviour. For those using the iPad for work, iOS 9 offers better multi-tasking features which has been present on other tablets in the market. It is safe to say that Apple has gotten some inspiration from its rivals.
Head after the break for our list of 9 things to look forward to in the upcoming iOS upgrade that’s due end of this year.
Improved Spotlight Search
On the far left of the home screen lives the new Spotlight Search, which is where the original Search panel was placed before it was changed in iOS 7. Based on your frequent usage, it will understand your habits and will suggest contacts and apps accordingly. So if you often load a certain app or contact a person at a specific time and place, Spotlight will pick this up and will recommend them in future. This is somewhat similar to Nokia’s Z-Launcher.
They have introduced new Proactive Assistant, which is something that rivals Google Now. The popular voice assistant now takes into consideration the context of your request, such as time and location. So it can do things like reminding you of your next appointment along with the traffic info for your destination. If a call comes in from an unknown number, its proactive capabilities will try to match the caller from your past emails which includes the contact info so that you’ll know whose calling. Its search capabilities goes deeper now into the app level and you could even ask Siri to find specific photos, such as time or place where it was taken from your camera roll. On iOS 9, Siri is claimed to be up to 40% faster and is 40% more accurate than before.
Notes is a great way for taking things down and it gets a whole lot better on iOS 9. It gets revamped with extra features like creating a checkable list and you can even sketch using your fingers and add items from Safari, Maps and other supported apps. This looks like Apple’s answer to Samsung’s S Note app that comes as standard with the Galaxy Note series. With iCloud, you can sync your notes across your iPhone, iPad and Mac.
Apple Maps now includes public transport directions which covers buses, trains, subways and ferries but it will first roll out at selected cities. While exploring new locations, Maps will also show you what’s interesting nearby, from food, cafes, shopping to popular activities.
For better multi-tasking, iPad users now get Multi-Window. You can choose to slide over an app from the sides, which is very useful if you constantly respond to messages or social feed. For a more permanent set up, you can display 2 apps simultaneously in either 50-50 or 30-70 split.
The iPad also gets Floating Picture in picture video playback, where you can continue to watch your video in a pop-up window while you’re running other apps. This isn’t entirely new and Samsung has introduced this a couple of Galaxy models back.
The keyboard now also doubles up as trackpad which is toggled by dragging two fingers. This makes it effortless to move the cursor around or to select text. There’s also direct copy, cut and paste shortcuts on the keyboard, making word processing a whole lot easier. The new keyboard and multi-window feature currently works only with the iPad Air 2, which is their most powerful iOS device right now.
Less storage space required for upgrade
This is probably good news to those who bought an iOS device with the least storage capacity. For those who tried upgrade to iOS 8, most users would need about 5GB of free space to upgrade, which is a challenge with those using a 16GB device. For the new iOS 9, they had made updating more efficient by streaming the updates directly as opposed to downloading the entire package, that would require more space to unpack. As a result, iOS 9 would require just 1.3GB of available space to upgrade.
Low Power Mode
A new feature which can be a life saver, iOS 9 now incorporates Low Power Mode. This helps to extend the final few bars of battery life by throttling its performance, reducing background sync and disabling unnecessary animations. They have done some extra tweaks including disable on-screen notification if the phone is facing downwards. With all the fine tweaks, Apple reckons that you can get an extra 3 hours of battery life and 1 hour of usage after upgrading to iOS 9.
Improved Two Factor Authentication Security
For those paranoid about security, you’ll be happy to know that Apple has beefed up its authentication process to deter unwanted access. The passcode is now longer with 6 digits and you can also enable two way authentication where you’re are required to key an extra password that was sent to another Apple product or phone.
When can you get iOS 9?
iOS 9 will be rolled out officially this fall, which starts somewhere in September. In terms of compatibility, it will be available for iPhones from iPhone 4S and above, and iPads starting from the iPad 2 and first gen iPad mini. In addition, it is also coming to the 5th generation iPod Touch. To sum up the top features on iOS 9, you can watch the video below: