iOS 9: new iPhone operating system to guess what users want before they know, to take on Google Now

Next version of iPad and iPhone operating system, to be unveiled in June, will also include new features for the iPhone 7

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The Independent Tech

Apple is improving the “anticipation engine” in the next version of its operating system, as well as raft of improvements that get iOS ready for the next iPhone.

The feature, codenamed “Proactive”, will automatically look at users’ behaviour and data to give them information when it’s needed. If a user is going to a sports match and has their ticket stored in Passbook, for instance, the iPhone will be able to bring it up without clicking — similar to how Google Now works on Android.

The new feature will be used by swiping to the left of the home screen, according to 9to5mac, where the Spotlight search was before the recent iOS redesign and where Google Now also lives on Android phones.

Heading to that screen will let people search through the information on their phone, like the existing Spotlight, the blog reports. But it will also have a new user interfact that will upgrade Siri’s existing functionality and automatically pull information from areas like apps and contacts.

It will use people’s behaviour to predict what they might do next. If users open Facebook when they wake up at 7am, for instance, a button will appear allowing them to do so from that screen. And it will also integrate with contacts and maps — allowing people to easily click to ring a person who they speak to every Sunday afternoon, for instance, or giving quickly-accessible maps directions to the place users play football every Tuesday night.

As well as making the iPhone cleverer, the updates could bring improvements to the Apple Watch. Google’s Android Wear uses Google Now to bring up information like how long it will take to get to the next meeting without needing to press any buttons — a feature that’s lacking in Apple’s equivalent.

The update will also feature new maps tools, which will include public transport directions. iOS 9 could also feature augmented reality maps, according to blog 9to5mac, so that instructions can be overlaid by the camera onto the real world.

As well as bringing updates and extra features to the operating system, the new iOS will also allow it to work with the new phones, expected later this year and set to be called either iPhone 6S or iPhone 7. That will include support for “Force Touch” for instance — a technology that allows the screen to sense how hard it is being pressed, which has already been integrated into the Apple Watch and Apple’s computers.

It was suggested earlier this year that the company will let customers try out the new operating system in summer, rather than releasing it with the new iPhones in the autumn. Apple has run similar beta programmes for the , and for developers, but it will be the first time that the public can get hold of versions of the operating system before they are released.

 

The update has previously been rumoured to focus on fixing bugs, improving performance and making the OS easier to use on older devices, rather than adding big headline new features. That approach has been used on the Mac before, but iOS releases have tended to come with big new updates.

That could mean that many of the rumoured features are held back this release, to ensure that the focus on quality and performance is upheld, 9to5mac reports. The company might choose to launch limited versions of the apps initially and then roll them out more broadly and ambitiously later on, the blog reports.

Apple is set to unveil the new operating system at the Worldwide Developer Conference in early June. That event is also expected to bring improvements to the Apple TV and a new version of desktop Mac OS.

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