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iOS 9: five things you need to know

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iOS 9: five things you need to know

iOS 9 is finally official. After being talked up and leaked extensively over the past few months, Apple finally pulled the wrappers off its updated mobile platform at last night's World Wide Developers Conference (WWDC) event in San Francisco.

And while it might not offer the same UI overhaul as iOS 7, it matches iOS 8 with the raft of changes it’s set to bring to the iPhone and iPad.

There’s more than a little nod to Google Android (although Apple won’t ever say that), plus a stack of new features that are set to make iOS more user-friendly.

Here’s our pick of the five key things you need to know.

1 Siri is getting smarter

ios 9 siri and search

For all Apple’s talk, Siri hasn’t been a huge success. It says it takes a billion Siri requests daily, but with over 300 million iPhones in the wild, that’s really not that many.

Hence, the voice assistant is getting a huge makeover in iOS 9.

With a new look, Siri now clearly takes its cue from the ace Google Now. That means you get context aware suggestions based on regular usage patterns.

It can work out what you listen to where, serve up calendar reminders and give you a nudge about traffic conditions too.

What’s more, you’ll be able to perform typed searches for information stored within apps on your phone or tablet.

Apple was also keen to stress that any searches stay on device and that it will not mine user data to create profiles, something which Google and Facebook have been upbraided for recently.

2 Maps finally look the part

ios 9 apple maps transit

After three years of trying, it seems Apple Maps is finally getting up to speed with its rivals.

In iOS 9, Maps will have public transit directions built in as standard, a feature which has been part of Google Maps for years.

Best of all, it’ll even tell you the best entrance and exit gates so you can make connections quickly and avoid standing in queues or going the long way round when you’re in a hurry.

You’ll also be able to ask Maps to get you home, much like within the ace CityMapper app.

3 Battery boost

ios 9 battery boost

Apple was at pains to say that iOS 9 would boost iPhone battery life. By how much? On average, by one hour. Frankly, that seems piffling.

But compare the iPhone to top–end Android phones and you still have a handset which keeps on kicking long after its rival has shut up shop for the day.

Apple also revealed a new low power mode which will eke out an extra three hours juice when switched on.

That should mean you won’t have to be a blind panic when you can’t find a plug socket on public transport.

4 Notes looks to Evernote

ios 9 notes app

The Apple Notes app has always been a bit, well, rubbish. iOS 9 looks to fix that, adding checklists and the ability to combine text notes, web pages and photos.

If that all feels like it’s Apple’s take on Evernote and Samsung’s Galaxy Note tools, it’s because it is.

That’s not necessarily a bad thing. You’ll be able to save things from other apps into Notes for easy one–stop checking later on.

It’s all part of Apple’s push to bring you back to its user interface, rather than having to multitask and use other apps for core iPhone and iPad features.

5 iPad updates at last

ios 9 ipad split screen

Years after users first asked for it, Apple will finally bring split screen multitasking to the iPad with iOS 9.

This is a feature that has been key in Windows tablets for some time, but gets the sleek Apple treatment here.

A new picture-in-picture feature lets you make FaceTime calls while using other apps, while Apple has also tweaked the keyboard with a new shortcuts bar and added extra multitouch gestures for improved editing.

iOS 9 will be officially released this autumn, with beta versions available to developers now. A public beta programme is due to open in July.

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