Apple WWDC15: iOS 9 will make your iPhone smarter than ever
Apple announced a plethora of updates to their iPhone, iPad and Mac software today, bringing new 'contextual' services and multitasking capabilities to their popular devices.
READ MORE: View Stuff's live coverage of WWDC15
CEO Tim Cook and software engineer Craig Federighi introduced the new features at Apple's WorldWide Developer Conference (WWDC) in San Fransisco. The conference focuses on software rather than hardware.
iOS 9 for the iPad and iPhone will be rolled out to the public for free in September or October, but developers can get their hands on a beta today. iOS 9 will run on devices as old as the iPhone 4S and iPad 2.
THE iPHONE GETS SMARTER
New 'intelligence' features were highlighted for the iPhone and iPad. These upgrades to both Siri and Search bring 'contextual' information into the mix, allowing the device to guess at what users are after.
For example: a user could say "remind me about this" after receiving an email with an invitation, creating a reminder from information in the email.
Upgrades to Siri are paired with upgrades to 'Spotlight', the search app built in to iOS. Spotlight will now allow 'deep linking' for apps, meaning users can search for things within apps rather than simply apps themselves.
Intelligence also means that the iPhone is now more proactive, giving a user what they want before they have a chance to ask for it. For example, bringing up the 'now playing' screen when headphones are plugged in. This also allows for context-specific reminders, so a user could ask to be reminded of something when they arrived at work, or got into their car.
These features are not dissimilar to rival system, Google Now On Tap. Whilst Google's service uses the internet and the vast amount of information it keeps on users, Apple's service will live on each user's iPhone or iPad. When it does use the internet, it will collect the data anonymously.
A look at the iPad Mini's new split screen feature.
The default 'Notes' app is beefed up in iOS 9, with checklists and doodle support added.
THE iPAD, BUT FOR WORK
iOS 9 will also bring much greater multitasking capability to the iPad, allowing users to view and interact with two apps at once. As well as a traditional side by side view, the feature will allow 'picture in picture' mode, so one can keep a video playing in the lower right corner of the screen, and 'slide over', allowing users to quickly check an app without closing another one.
The split screening will only be available on Apple's newest iPad, the Air 2, while picture-in-picture and 'slide over' will be coming to the iPad Air and iPad Mini 2 and up.
iOS 9 also allows the iPad keyboard to function as a type of trackpad, letting users scroll and use a cursor as if on a laptop. It seems Apple are serious about attracting the business market on their less popular product lines.
Apple's default music app has been completely redesigned and packed with new features as part of their 'Apple Music' launch.
This update will reach the iPhone in iOS 8.4, long before iOS 9 hits later this year. The app will feature a 24/7 worldwide radio station, featuring Kiwi DJ Zane Lowe, and a new Spotify-like streaming library available for US$9.99 (NZ$14) a month. Pricing and details for New Zealand are not available yet, but a free three-month preview of the service is set to launch on June 30 "worldwide".
THINGS NEW ZEALAND WON'T GET
iOS 9 also comes with updates to several services not currently available to New Zealanders.
Apple's Maps app gained a 'Transit' feature for public transport available in the United States, the United Kingdom, and Australia.
An update to 'Apple Pay' was announced, allowing it to be used in the United Kingdom and in fusion with 'Square'.
No dates for a New Zealand launch for any of these features or the Apple Watch has been set.
Henry Cooke travelled to San Francisco courtesy of Apple.