Apple today at WWDC 2015 gave a preview of iOS 9, their upcoming mobile operating system for iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch devices. The new OS will feature more powerful and proactive search, along with improved Siri features, and new multitasking features for the iPad; including side-by-side apps viewing, and picture-in-picture, which allows viewing a video while working in other apps.
Siri and Search
Siri features an all new design, offering contextual reminders, and new ways to search photos and videos. Proactive assistance will suggest actions for a particular moment, in some cases even before you start typing. It will suggest apps or contacts based on a user’s usage patterns, and will also notify you when it’s time to leave for an appointment.
iOS 9 will learn what music you usually listen to a particular time of day, or even a certain location, automatically displaying playback controls when you plug in headphones at the gym or hop in the car. Typed search queries will result in more relevant suggestions from more categories and will offer sports scores, videos and more.
The new Slide Over feature allows users to make simple swipe gesture and work in a second app without leaving the first. A new Split View feature allows users to work in two apps side-by-side. Picture-in-Picture allows users to view video, or continue a FaceTime call while using apps. The new multitasking features are supported by default iOS 9 apps, and developers can include the ability in their own apps via Apple’s APIs.
New Shortcut Bars display actions tailored for the app a user is currently in, while new Multi-Touch gestures make it easier to select and edit text.
iOS 9 Built-In Apps
Maps will add support for transit systems and schedules, offering precisely mapped subway station entrances and exits, as well as offering directions for a combination of trains, subways, buses and walking. A new Nearby feature tells users what locations are near, such as restaurants, coffee shops, and shopping, and even informs users which locations accept Apple Pay.
Notes will include the ability to draw a quick sketch using your finger, create checklists of to-dos, or even snap a photo and include it directly into a note. All notes are kept in sync across iOS devices, and your Mac via iCloud.
A brand new News app replaces Newsstand, offering an immersive print design, while also offering multimedia features. News can learn your interests and suggest relevant content that’s easily shareable, and can also be saved for later. The News app will be powered by the new Apple News Format publishing system, supporting custom typography, galleries, audio, video and interactive animations.
iOS 9 brings strong refinements to battery optimization, providing the typical iOS user with up to one hour of extra battery life. A low-power mode will also be available, adding up to 3 hours of additional battery life.
iOS 9 Installation Requirements
iOS 9 will require less space than iOS 8 did to install updates, welcome news for users of smaller capacity iOS devices. Space needed is down from 4.6GB for iOS 8 to only 1.3GB for iOS 9.
Apple has strengthened the passcode that protects your iOS devices and improved two-factor authentication by building it directly into iOS, making it harder for others to gain unauthorized access to your Apple ID.
iOS 9 APIs and tools for developers include:
- Extensible search that deep links directly to content within third-party apps
- GameplayKit and Model I/O for building better games and ReplayKit for recording gameplay
- New HomeKit profiles for motorized windows and shades, motion sensors and home security systems
- Wireless CarPlay™ and support for auto manufacturers to develop apps within CarPlay
- New HealthKit data points for reproductive health, UV exposure, water intake and sedentary state.
Swift 2 brings powerful new features and performance improvements that produce faster apps. The Swift compiler and standard library will be made available as open source later this year, putting the language in the hands of even more developers. It will be available on the Linux platform at that time.
The iOS 9 beta software and SDK are available immediately for iOS Developer Program members at developer.apple.com, and a public beta program will be available in July at beta.apple.com. iOS 9 will be available this fall as a free software update for iPhone 4s and later, iPod touch 5th generation, iPad 2 and later, iPad mini and later.