Apple showcased the latest iOS 9 version of its smartphone software at the World Wide Developers’ Conference (WWDC) 2015 event tonight, bringing with it an enhanced, more helpful version of Siri voice-commands app, better battery life, a selection of revamped existing apps and a brand new News app.
The fresh take on Siri, which features a redesigned user interface, takes a big bite out of Android’s Google Now equivalent by being more proactive than before.
It’s now capable of using your location to give you ‘a time to leave’ reminder that takes account of traffic levels, for instance.
It can also take invitations and its level of comprehension and scope has been improved so that you can conduct in-app searches. According to Apple, it's now 40% more accurate and 40% faster at responding to enquiries.
Battery life is better with iOS 9 as well. You can now expect an extra hour in general use, with a freshly added low power mode that extends longevity by a further three hours.
Us in Blighty get to join the Apple Pay set too. Now firmly established in the US, this enables you to pay for goods and services by swiping your iPhone over a reader in stores. In London, you’ll also be able to use it to pay for journeys on public transport.
There's a fresh version of Google Maps present as well. Dubbed Transit, this now offers public transport directions a la CityMapper in a host of cities around the world, including London.
Winningly, it knows the location of exits and entrances of rail stations too, to give you the best chance of making connections/catching trains.
Notes gets an overhaul. There’s now a toolbar with formatting options, including a checklist, and a Samsung Galaxy Note-style feature that lets you draw with your finger and combine text notes with content, web pages and photos.
Other features include an entirely new News app that sucks in news articles and features from some sites that stand as arbiters of top scribing and renders them really rather handsomely and two-factor security in iCloud.
iPad users who update to iOS 9 get the long-awaited split-screen multi-tasking, shortcuts for switching apps and the QuickType keyboard that's been a fixture on the iPhone for some time.
Interestingly, iOS 9 will take up just 1.3GB of storage space. That’s less than iOS 8 by a factor of around two thirds.