As expected, Apple also officially announced and previewed the next version of iOS for its line of mobile devices. The focus in iOS 9 is on data security, improved intelligence, particularly with Siri, and new multi-tasking features for the iPad and some iPhone models.
“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 personalized to your interests,” said Craig Federighi, Apple’s senior vice president of Software Engineering. “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.”
The iPad sees the most eye-catching changes, with changes to the keyboard that add a formatting bar and the ability to use it as a trackpad to select and edit text. Also new is a Slide Over feature to allow the use of second app without closing the first app. And two apps can be used at once in a Split View mode while active Facetime video calls and YouTube and other videos can be watched in a picture-in-picture mode while using other apps.
The Notes app in iOS 9 gets a formatting toolbar, drawing tools, and the ability to create checklists, change fonts, insert photos, and more. Maps gets a Transit feature to add public transportation directions and information, a feature that was notably missing when Apple moved away from using Google’s map data in iOS 6. The Transit feature will come to select major cities in the US and China in the fall.
In iOS 9, Siri has been enhanced to be more proactive to be a better assistant to do things like offer a reminder to leave for an appointment and a direct link to get driving directions. An API for Search will be available to developers so that users can go directly to search results within an app.
Passbook will be renamed to Wallet and will be able to store loyalty cards as well as store credit cards. A new app called News with Flipboard-like functionality will provide news and articles based on topics and publications selected by the user.
iOS 9 will also bring power saving improvements to the iPhone, including a new low-power mode that will extend battery life by up to three hours. iOS 9 will have a smaller file size to allow quicker and easier updates for more users with limited storage space.
iOS 9 will work on the iPhone 4s and newer, 5th-generation iPod touch and newer, iPad 2 and newer, and all iPad mini models. However, the Split Screen feature will only work on the iPad Air 2 and newer.
The developer beta of iOS 9 is available today and a public beta will be available in July. You can join the public beta by signing up at Apple Beta Software Program site. The final version will be available to the general public in the fall as a free download.