Apple's iOS 9 Brings New Focus On Siri And Search [WWDC]

Chris CrumIT Management

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Apple unveiled iOS 9 at its Worldwide Developers Conference on Monday. Much of the focus on the new OS was related to search and Siri. Apple is clearly getting more serious about competing with Google.

According to Apple, Siri serves over a billion requests per week, and it's gotten 40% more accurate over the last year. It's also 40% faster at responding. In iOS 9, it has a new user interface.

"iOS 9 makes the entire operating system smarter, enhances the apps you use most, and integrates with iPad in remarkable ways," Apple says.

With the update, Siri will let you ask about more topics. You can find specific photos and videos or set a reminder to finish an article you're reading on the web, for example.

"Like a great assistant, your device can now anticipate what you want to do next based on your location, the time, what app you have open, or what you’re connected to," the company says.

You can plug in your headphones or connect to your car, and iPhone will suggest a recent playlist or audiobook. If you add a location to an event in Calendar, it will suggest when you should leave. It takes traffic into account in real time.

You can search for sports schedules, Netflix movies, and info inside apps. When you pick up your phone in the morning, it will suggest apps to open based on your daily routines. This is part of what Apple is calling its "Proactive Assistant". It's basically taking on Google Now.

Will look in your email and figure out who an incoming call is from if available.

There's also a new API for search - another hint that Apple is more aggressively going after Google.

iOS 9 also includes updates to Apple Pay, Notes, and Maps, as well as a brand new News App, which we'll look at more closely in another article.

There are new features for the QuickType keyboard to make typing and editing faster and easier, and there's a new Shortcut Bar to make writing easier. When you use a physical keyboard with an iPad, you can now use new shortcuts, such as for switching between apps. There are also new multitasking features and tools. You can switch between apps in a new way. You can slide over to open a second app without leaving the one you're in.

Split view lets you have two apps open and active simultaneously on the same screen:

There's also Picture in Picture to scale a video down in size so you can keep doing something while doing another.

Apple is offering developer APIs for Picture in Picture, Slide Over, and Split View.

Perhaps the best thing about iOS 9 is that it will supposedly add an hour of battery life to the iPhone 6. It also has two-factor authentication for Apple ID.

83% of iOS users are on the latest version, which is an important for developers taking advantage of the latest features. For comparison, the number is only 12% for Android, at least according to Apple.

Images via Apple

Chris Crum
Chris Crum has been a part of the WebProNews team and the iEntry Network of B2B Publications since 2003. Follow Chris on Twitter, on StumbleUpon, on Pinterest and/or on Google: +Chris Crum.