iOS 9: Apple adds intelligent assistant, news app, and increase performances and stability of iPhone operating system

Siri, Maps, and other features all get upgrades

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The Independent Tech

Apple has unveiled the latest update to its iOS operating system, integrating new features that allow the phone to know what users want before they do.

The update focuses on Siri, and the Apple voice assistant becoming more "proactive". Demoed on-stage, the new software was shown to be able to understand context, with music playing when you plug in headphones and start running, and suggest apps based on the users' habits.

The update is similar to Google's Now software, and appears to show Apple making an effort to improve its digital assistant, which has struggled to keep up with Now, and Microsoft's Cortana.

iOS 9 will also automatically add invitations to a user's calendar that are sent in email, as well as suggest a possible contact name when an unfamiliar number phones you - based on your emails once again.

The software's search feature has also been improved, now enabling users to see and jump straight into apps from search results. Siri can also now be used to voice search for photos on you device. Apple are calling the whole update "Intelligence".

Mr Federighi also made a point on privacy by saying that Apple is "not interested" in user data and that Apple doesn't mine user data. "It stays on your device, under your control," he said. Last week, Tim Cook accused Google of invading user privacy by using their photos via a new app to mine data on users.

Apple Maps is also getting a much-anticipated update, with public transport systems being added to a host of global cities.

As well as adding bus and train routes, station layouts are included which means directions will be more accurate, and send users to the correct exit.

London will be among the original cities included as part of the update.

The iOS 9 update coming this fall will also have battery improvements and improved security.

Health-related improvements include tracking for hydration and ultraviolet exposure, while smart-home features include supporting sensors for carbon monoxide. App developers would take advantage of these tools in building new apps and devices.

In future cars that support Apple's CarPlay, you'll be able to do more on the car's dashboard without taking the phone out of your bag or pocket.

To get iOS 9, you'll need less free space than before to upgrade wirelessly. That was a complaint with iOS upgrades in previous years.

The new software will work with all phones and tablets that currently support iOS 8, though not all features will work with older devices.

Apple also announced at its conference for developers in San Francisco on Monday several new features, including transit directions in Maps, a new app for news and specifically for the iPad, the ability to run multiple apps side by side.

iOS 9 will also introduce multi-tasking to the iPad for the first time.

Users will now be able to use a feature called "slide-over" that will enable you to bring a second app on-screen while using the internet.

A split view will enable users to interact with both apps and windows at the same time.

The feature will also support picture-in-picture, so users can watch videos on the corner of the screen while also using another app on their iPad.

Mr Federighi also spoke of the "foundations" of iOS. Battery life is one of these, and Apple has introduced a new low power mode, which can extend battery life by up to three hours.

"It pulls switches you didn't even know existed", he said.

The number of space needed to make an iOS update - a common user problem - has also been greatly reduced from 4.6Gb to 1.8Gb.

The internet of things was also addressed, with Apple adding support for window shades, motion sensors and security systems, as well as remote access to these appliances from wherever you are via iCloud.

Mr Cook returned to the stage to announced that the Apple App Store has surpassed 100 billion downloads in the seven years since it launched.

A Flipboard-rivalling News app was also shown off for the first time.

Apple's Susan Prescott said: "The articles can come from anywhere, but the best ones are built in Apple News format.

"Articles are shown in a magazine-style format created by Apple, and are curated to content users want to see. Articles and publications can be favourited, with the app 'learning' what you like to read over time.

"We think this offers the best mobile reading experience ever."

Ms Prescott added: "News is smart, so the more I read, the better it gets at showing me stories I'm interested in.

"We think there's never been a more beautiful magazine reading experience."

The new app will include content from the like of the Guardian, BuzzFeed and Time, and will be rolling out in the UK, US and Australia first, as part of iOS 9.

Additional reporting by Press Association

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