The moment iPhone fans have been waiting for is here: Apple has unveiled iOS 9. Apple says that its main goals with iOS 9 are to add intelligence to enhance how you use your device without compromising privacy while enhancing the apps you use most. First, for iOS 9 Siri has a new user interface and is able to respond to a more diverse array of commands. Apple is making Siri more proactive by making it easier to set reminders, to offer suggestions for people who you might want to contact based on upcoming meetings as well as one-tap location suggestions.
Overall Siri is much more context aware than it’s been before. So for instance, if Siri detects that you’re at your local gym and you plug in your headphones, it can automatically bring up music you like to exercise to. Apple has also added a native API for search so that you can cull data from your favorite apps. So if you do a search for recipes for potatoes, for instance, it will give you links offered by apps such as Yumly to offer you suggests. In this way, Apple has brought Siri forward in a big way to make it a legitimate competitor to Google Now, although Apple emphasizes that all of this data analysis is done on device and is not shared with third parties.
Apple is also bringing some enhancements to Notes in iOS 9. Among other things, Notes will make it easier to make checklists, to put photos directly into your notes, and to draw sketches with your hands right inside your notes. Using ShareSheet you can also add links right into your notes with just one tap for the first time.
When it comes to Apple Maps, Apple says that it’s now adding public transit data that will deliver information about buses and subways near you. Apple has also improved searching locations in Maps and has added a feature that will let you know if merchants in your area support Apple Pay.
iOS 9 will also bring a new app called News that will essentially be Apple’s answer to Flipboard that Apple says offers “the best online reading experience.” The app essentially replaces Newstand and is similar to what Facebook is trying to accomplish in its partnerships with publishers. News will start rolling out in the U.S., U.K. and Australia before coming to other countries.
iOS 9 is delivering some key features to the iPad as well. Among other things, iOS 9 has added a feature that will let you create impromptu track pads on the iPad by placing two fingers down on the touch display at once. As expected, iOS 9 will add multitasking for the iPad with a new task switcher feature that can be accessed by double-tapping the home button.
You can easily create split screens of two different apps on the iPad with iOS 9 to have two apps working side-by-side. So for example, you’ll be able to have your browser and Apple Maps open at the same time so you won’t have to minimize one app to access the other. It’s also easy to shrink and expand windows so they take up as much or as little of the display as you want.
iOS 9 will also be just 1.3GB when you install it, which will make it much lighter than some of the massive iOS 8 updates users had to deal with. The first iOS 9 beta will release to developers later today.