WWDC 2015 Live: Apple announces iOS 9
After announcing OS X El Capitan, Apple has taken the wraps off iOS 9 at the ongoing WWDC 2015. As is the case with OS X, iOS 9 too focuses on improved user experience, performance and security.
Apple has again kicked off things with some numbers. It claims that 83 percent of all active iPhone users are on iOS 8, which is stupendous considering only about 12 percent of Android installed base in on Lollipop. Federighi starts with Siri, and with iOS 9, Apple wants to bring intelligence (read Siri) throughout the OS. Apple says Siri serves over a billion requests a week and is 40 percent more accurate than last year.
As expected, Apple has now also announced Proactive Assistant, which is Apple’s take on Google Now. Just like Google personal assistant, Proactive Assistant would give you a heads up about your calendar entries and advise you when to leave to make an appointment. Furthermore, it also gets a Truecaller-like feature, which would search your mails and suggest IDs for unknown numbers. Notice how it doesn’t crowdsource numbers or upload your phonebook for other users to get IDs of unknown callers.
While Proactive Assistant may seem inspired by Google Now, Apple couldn’t help but take a jab at Google. It says all the information for Proactive Assistant stays on the device and is anonymous. It is not associated with the Apple ID and is completely anonymous.
Other new features include, the ability to pull down the Spotlight shade, it will suggest you things to do or contacts you might want to reach out to depending on your calendar. The new OS also brings deep linking API, which will allow it to see data stored behind the apps that the user has installed on the iPhone and bring it up when the user searches for anything. If you get a mail with a calendar invite, it will automatically get added to your calendar. It could be a good thing or a nightmare, depending on how many mails you get.
Apple just announced the most unlikely update – Notes. It gets a new checklist feature, you can add photos to any note and even draw inside of one. Users will also be able to add links from the share sheet.
Also in line with earlier reports, Apple announced a major update for its Maps. It has taken another jab at Google Maps, by saying that they get about five billion user requests per week, and as per usage is 3.5 times higher on iOS than the next leading mapping app.
As for features, Apple Maps now gets Transit Direction. As the name suggests, it lets users navigate bus routes, subways, trains, and to the airport using the app. The feature will be introduced in select cities that include Baltimore, Berlin, Chicago, London, Mexico City, New York, Philadelphia, San Francisco, Toronto, and Washington DC among others.
The Cupertino-based giant has also launched a new app on iOS 9 called “News.” Users pick a selection of publications and topics and curate news is provided on the app. Users can also bookmark articles to read later. The app will be intially rolled out in the US, the UK and Australia.
In line with earlier reports, iOS 9 also brings in an improved keyboard. After adding word suggestions last year, this year the keyboard for iPads get shortcuts to cut copy paste, attachments, etc. You can also put two fingers down on the keyboard and it becomes a trackpad to move the cursor around. The Shift key too has been fixed, and rather than just the change in color, it will now be much easier to decipher when the Shift Key is pressed.
iPads are also getting the ability to multitask. In other words, users will be able to use multiple apps simultaneously by splitting the screen. Double tap on the home button to show the new task switcher, and simply sliding over from the side brings up another app. Both the apps are active at the same time, and you can scroll them at the same time too. There is also a new picture-in-picture mode. So if you are watching a video, but need to switch apps, the video will continue playing in a small window at one of the corners of the tablet.
The split-screen mode is however only available on the iPad Air 2, while SlideOver and PiP will be available on iPad Air and up, Mini 2 and up.
As for battery performance, in case you are running low on juice, there is a new “low power mode.” This mode boosts the battery life of your iOS device by up to three hours.
Also in line with earlier reports, Apple has significantly reduced the size of iOS 9. Where the iOS 8 update last year weighed 4.6GB, this year’s operating system update only weighs 1.8GB. Developer beta of iOS 9 will be launched today, followed by public beta next month, and the final version later this year. The latest operating system will be available on iPad 2, iPad 3rd generation, iPad 4th generation, iPad Air, iPad Air 2, iPad mini, iPad mini 2, iPad mini 3, iPhone 4S, iPhone 5, iPhone 5C, iPhone 5S, iPhone 6, iPhone 6 Plus, and iPod touch 5th generation.