Many Apple fans have been eagerly awaiting the launch Apple's latest operating system update, iOS 9. If you haven’t received the notification to upgrade yet, you may have to wait a little bit. Otherwise try going into your settings and click ‘Software Update’. The features in iOS 9 that have been focused on to improve the users experience consist of aspects such as improvements to Siri's intelligence, transit directions within Maps, true tablet multitasking and newly built in apps.
This update was announced ahead of the release of the new iPhone 6S and 6S Plus, and you will be happy to know that it only takes up 1.4GB of space compared to iOS 8’s 4.5GB. It also looks as though developers have worked hard to improve stability and connectivity with other devices, but how will your experience differ? If you are eager to find out more detail about what Apple is actually delivering with this new software update, continue reading.
In brief, the overall appearance of iOS 9 contains only a few redesigns here and there although notably it's the iPads which have received a breath of fresh air related to new multi-tasking elements. We have been promised that the software will be available to download by Friday 27th September. One good thing is that you can download the update over-the-air, meaning you don’t have to plug your device into your computer and perform the update via iTunes.
Unlike ever before, Apple is rolling out the software to a much wider variety of devices. iOS 9 will be available on all the devices displayed in the image below, with the anticipation that the new iPad Air 3 and iPhone 6C will also use the new iOS. If you happen to have an iPhone 4S or iPad 2 then you are lucky for now to still be included.
Siri on the iOS 9 software has received a much needed intelligence boost to rival the likes of Google. For example, Apple’s personal assistant now understands the word ‘it’ within its correct context. Alternatively, you can be in the middle of writing a message on face time and ask Siri to “Remind me of this later” and the phone will search the app for what you might be requesting.
Apple has also tried to improve Siri’s location based software, promising more accurate results when you are out and about. If you happen to have a reminder or an appointment in your diary, Siri will notify you when you need to leave in order to arrive on time. Then how about this, Apple can also associate a phone call to a particular piece of information on your phone, so if you have an annoying telemarketer calling up, Siri will recognise that this call is linked to a spam email you received last week. Could this be goodbye to telemarketers?
FYI: Siri currently has over one billion requests a week, but Apple expect this to expand and claim that it's now "40% faster and 40% more accurate."
The success of Apple Pay has been touted over the past 11 months in the US and now the service has been making its way over to the UK. Apple Pay UK officially launched on July 14th 2015 and was backed by nearly 70% of credit and debit cards operated by the likes of Halifax, Lloyds Bank, HSBC and Bank of Scotland.
Canada and China are thought to be next in line to launch but Apple haven’t made anything official just yet. In the US Apple Pay is backed by over 2,500 banks. Therefore considering the new functionality of iOS 9, Apple will be renaming its Passbook to Wallet. If you have used Apple Pay then you will also be happy to hear that iOS 9 has made the fingerprint reading process twice as fast on the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus.
[If you're considering getting the new iPhone 6S then read my recent article about whether or not to upgrade]
In some cases you cant avoid opening Apple Maps because certain apps automatically open directions within it, and that will not change. However, the good news is that iOS 9 is attempting to make the app better and more tolerable. The app will now include public transit directions such as trains, buses, subways and even ferries. Don’t get too excited though because this is only available in Baltimore, Berlin, Chicago, London, Mexico City, New York City, Philadelphia, Toronto, Washington D.C. and the bay area of San Francisco.
However, the Apple Maps doesn’t just need new features and travelling options, it needs much more UI work too to make the design and functionality more user-friendly. Lets put it down to a work-in-progress and stick with Google Maps instead, shall we?
Multitasking for iPad
iOS 9 also brings true multi-tasking to iPad tablet devices. iPads are finally able to deal with more hefty productivity tasks, which is something they really needed to sort out for their customers.
Multi-tasking works in a variety of ways. Slide-over brings a second app from the side of the screen so that you can answer a text or write something on notes if, for example, you are busy reading the news. There is also a special Picture-in-Picture mode that puts videos and FaceTime calls in the corner of the display when you press the home button. Then from here you can enter any other apps whilst still remaining connected to the call, similar to the way the YouTube app works by putting the video in the corner whilst you search for another.
The final method is called split view, which splits the screen in half between two apps, but this is only available on the iPad 2 Air for the time being.
iOS 9 Keyboard
When you download your new update you will notice that the keyboard looks slightly different, in what Apple considers being the “best keyboard yet”. Upgrades include things such as a built in shortcut bar and next work recommendations. What is also very surprising is that Apple will be making this keyboard customisable and compatible with third-party keyboard apps, (have Apple been chatting with Android?).
This next feature I really like. To circumvent the annoying process of trying to highlight a particular sentence or paragraph, simply hold your finger on the word to begin highlighting and then use the keyboard as a track pad to control the process, similar to how you would do on a laptop.
Wi-Fi Problems on iOS 9
Apple have been smart here in the sense that when your WiFi is struggling to deliver the results you are looking for, it will automatically switch your data on so you can complete your exercise. If you are on a limited data package with your provider, you can switch this mode off to prevent being charged which is also nice to know.
Overall Apple has made efforts in the right direction to improve their service and user's experiences, which will hopefully please customers. Whilst they still have a long way to go to reach some of the technological advancements Google has reached, they are showing initiative and making their way there in ‘Apple Time’. If you have already upgraded, please let us know what you think of the upgrade from your experience.