The annual Worldwide Developers Conference (WWDC) has always been the venue wherein Apple announces a new version of its iOS mobile operating system. This year's WWDC is no exception. As expected, iOS 9, the latest version of Apple's iOS, was officially unveiled by the company. Here is a rundown of some of the new features.
First off, Siri has been improved with a new feature called PROACTIVE. This enhancement helps optimize iOS-run smartphones depending on what their users are doing at the moment. For example, if a user loves listening to audiobooks while driving, the OS can automatically start an audiobook as soon as he or she gets inside the vehicle.
Siri also gets smarter features particularly on its voice query functionality. If you want to retrieve specific photos, you can just request Siri to display photos taken on a specific location at a certain time, e.g. “images from Seattle taken last Christmas.”
Launching together with iOS 9 is Apple Music (Apple's newest music streaming service), Beats 1 (a 24/7 radio station), and Pings with Beats Connect (a social media platform that allows users to connect with musical artists). All three will be built into Apple's Music mobile on the iOS platform.
Then there is News App, a way for iOS users to access Internet content in a native app. According to Susan Prescott, vice president at Apple, news articles can come from all over the web, but the best news are built into the News mobile app, with emphasis on combining high quality content with compelling matching visuals.
Spotlight, Apple's search feature, also gets some significant upgrades. Chief among them is the wider and more open integration with third party apps. This could mean that not only can you use Spotlight to search for files, music, and apps from your device, but you could also use it as a search engine for web content or when integrated with third party apps, use it to search for restaurants, interesting places, video content, news, games, etc.
As for its Maps mobile app, this feature as seen on iOS 9 now comes with transit directions, courtesy of Apple's acquisition of Embark and Hopstop. For now, the transit directions will be limited to select US metropolitan areas, but Apple should be able to roll out to more cities in the coming months.
Also, iPad users will be delighted to know that the introduction of iOS 9 comes with new iPad features such as the trackpad (when users put two fingers on the keyboard, it becomes a trackpad, allowing them to move the cursor around), as well as split screen features like SplitView (allowing two active apps to function simultaneously on the screen, letting users operate on both of them all at once) and SlideOver (which lets users slide from the side to get another app).
As for Apple Pay, the mobile payment system built in iOS, users can now store their loyalty cards or rewards cards in the Passbook mobile app (now called Wallet).
Other features include a new low power mode that deactivates a few features in order to lengthen battery life by three hours. Also, iOS 9 now requires only 1.8 gigabytes instead of 4.6 gigabytes, which allows for easier and faster updating.
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