Apple showcases iOS 9


Improvements include remodelled Siri, extended battery life and improved security

Apple has unveiled iOS 9 for iPhone, iPad and iPod touch. The software, which will be available this autumn, will make iOS devices become more intelligent and proactive with powerful search and improved Siri features.

New multitasking features designed specifically for iPad allow users to work with two apps simultaneously, side by side or with the new Picture-in-Picture feature, to keep watching a video while browsing the web, composing email or using any other app.

Also, built-in apps are set to become more powerful in iOS 9 with detailed transit information in Maps, a redesigned Notes app with new ways to capture ideas, and a new News app.

Additionally, iOS 9 will make the foundation of iOS even stronger with refinements including battery optimisation that provides a typical user with an additional hour of battery life, and a low power mode to help further extend battery life.

Software updates will require less space to install and an Install Later feature can perform updates to a device when it is not in use.

Enhanced security features in iOS 9 will keep devices and Apple ID secure by strengthening the passcode that protects a user’s devices, as well as improving two-factor authentication by building it directly into iOS, making it harder for others to gain unauthorised access to an individual’s Apple ID.

Siri features an all-new design in iOS 9, contextual reminders and new ways to search photos and videos. Proactive assistance presents the most relevant information without compromising users’ privacy and suggests actions at a particular moment , automatically suggesting apps to launch or people to contact based on usage patterns, and notifying users when they need to leave for appointments, taking into account traffic conditions.

iOS 9 can even learn what a user typically listens to in a certain location or at a particular time of day, so when they plug in headphones at the gym or hop in the car before work, it can automatically display playback controls for the preferred app. Also, typed search queries will deliver more relevant results from more categories, including sports scores and schedules, videos and simple math calculations.

With a swipe, the new Slide Over feature lets users simultaneously work in a second app without leaving the first. With a tap, users can access the new Split View feature so they can work in two apps at the same time, side by side. Picture-in-Picture lets users continue a FaceTime call or video while using their favourite apps. These new multitasking features are supported by built-in Apple apps, and APIs make it easy for third party developers to add support into their own apps.

In iOS 9, Maps will add support for metropolitan transit systems and schedules as well as subway station entrances and exits, initially in major cities including Baltimore, Berlin, Chicago, London, Mexico City, New York City, Philadelphia, the San Francisco Bay Area, Toronto and Washington D.C., as well as over 300 cities in China, including Beijing, Chengdu and Shanghai. When planning trips, Maps can offer a combination of trains, subways, buses and walking, and with the new Nearby feature, users will be able to quickly see what is around by searching for food, drinks, shopping and more.

New features of the completely redesigned Notes app include the ability to draw a quick sketch using a finger, easily create checklists to keep track of to-dos, or snap a photo directly in a note. Users will be able to easily save important items to Notes directly from other apps, and keep them in sync across all enabled devices with iCloud.

The News app delivers a reading experience that combines the rich, immersive design of a print magazine with the interactivity of digital media. News can learn the user’s interests and suggest relevant content that is easily shareable with friends or saved for later. News also delivers articles from a variety of publishers and over one million topics to help users personalise their reading experience. News is powered by the new Apple News Format, a digital publishing format supporting custom typography, galleries, audio, video and interactive animations, allowing publishers like Conde Nast, ESPN and The New York Times to create editorial layouts specifically for iOS users.

With iOS 9, Apple Pay adds support for Discover, rewards programmes from merchants, and participating store-issued credit and debit cards. Shoppers will be able to manage their cards in the new Wallet app.

Said Craig Federighi, Apple’s senior vice president of software engineering: “iOS 9 is packed with more intelligence throughout, and delivers big updates to the apps customers use most; Maps supports public transit, a redesigned Notes app provides great new ways to capture ideas, and a beautiful News app delivers content that’s personalised to your interests. With our new iPad features, users can take advantage of the power of iPad, working in two apps at the same time with Split View, Slide Over or Picture-in-Picture.”

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 motorised windows and shades, motion sensors and home security systems; wireless CarPlay and support for auto manufacturers to develop apps within CarPlay; and new HealthKit data points for reproductive health, UV exposure, water intake and sedentary state.

Also, 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.
The iOS 9 beta software and SDK are available immediately for iOS Developer Programme members, and a public beta programme will be available in July.

iOS 9 will be available this autumn as a free software update for iPhone 4s and later, iPod touch 5th generation, iPad 2 and later, iPad mini and later.


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