Apple’s iOS 9 operating system for iOS devices like the iPhone and the iPad is being launched soon. This is a general rundown of the various design changes, feature refinement and performance enhancements that it will offer. The biggest shift in iOS 9 is the focus on intelligence capability and proactivity. Apple is calling it “Proactive Suggestions”. This operating system will allow iOS devices to learn user habits and act on that information, for example by opening up apps before they are needed, recommending places based on past usage history, and generally guiding users through their days to make sure they get where they need to be when they need to be there.
Improvements to Siri is at the heart of the changes. Apple’s personal assistant is now able to create contextual reminders and search through photos and videos in new ways. Increased search capabilities allow users to get results like sports scores, videos, and content from third-party apps using the search tools on the iPhone or iPad. Proactive suggestions are system-wide and will work in many ways, suggesting apps and recommendations at appropriate times.
Some major features have been introduced in iOS 9. Split-screen multitasking that lets two apps be used at once is now available, as it has been to a greater or lesser degree on certain Android devices for some time. The keyboard and some gesture commands have been improved as well. Many of the built-in apps have been improved. Other significant modifications have been made to improve the host devices, such as various battery optimization features.
Existing apps and services have received various updates, some significant and some just tweaks, and one brand new app called News, which is geared to replace Newsstand. News aggregates stories from a variety of sources and displaying them in a mobile optimized format. It will learn about user preferences as it is used, and will suggest articles of interest to the reader. Apple is partnering with several content providers including The New York Times to offer content for news, and all content providers have free tools to optimize their sites for the platform. More than a million topics will be available.
Apple Pay is expanding to support store credit cards and loyalty cards, and has a new name – from Passbook to Wallet. According to the company, the new name is a reflection of its progress towards replacing the physical wallet. Notes has been updated and is being positioned to compete directly with third-party platforms. Maps, iCloud Drive, Health, Carplay and Mail have also been improved and substantially upgraded.
iOS 9 can efficiently stream updates to an iOS device, reducing the amount of space that it takes to install the operating system, and third-party apps will also require less installation space. iOS 9 will work with all devices that are able to run iOS 8, including the older A5-based iPhone 4s and iPad 2, the iPhone 4s and newer, the iPad 2 and newer, and the original iPad mini and newer.