Apple introduced their newest OS at WWDC 2015 in San Francisco and gave designers and developers just enough bait to get them excited and preparing for the actual release, rumored to be heading our way in Autumn 2015. This newest release is focused on bringing an improved user experience more so than lots of new features. Engineers have been busy fixing bugs, maintaining stability and boosting performance in the new system. Although many rumors and predictions suggested that we should expect mostly technical updates, there will also be new functionality for those hoping to design apps for the system.
A more proactive Siri.
Siri will be more intuitive and you’ll be able to say things like “remind me about this when I get home” and she’ll remember what you were looking at at the time and set the reminder for you. She’ll learn your routine and bring up apps that you use at certain times. Siri will be integrated with Apple music and will respond to specific song requests.
Apple’s Google now competitor, code named ‘Proactive’, will be integrated into Siri, Calendar and other apps. This new ‘lifestyle management system’ will help users navigate their usual activities throughout the day.
New maps features
Transit now lets you see maps of all public transport routes as well as arrival and departure times. It will allow the user to ask Siri for information, such as: “which train should I take to get home”? Augmented reality maps will highlight places you like going or places of interest. For example, a concert program could show up if you’re standing outside a concert hall or a menu outside of a restaurant.
Beats Music revamp Apple’s very own music streaming service which is set to rival Spotify. Apple won’t be left behind as music streaming takes over from downloading and they have recruited some big names to market their product, musicians Drake and Pharrell Williams to name a few. Apple Music will be available to iOS users on June 30th. The new system will include personally curated playlists, apparently hand picked by humans based on your past choices. Siri has also been integrated into Apple Music, making selections on your behalf and curating listening streams for you while also responding to voice commands.
An app to control your home kit devices Apple are jumping on the internet of things bandwagon and have come up with a new feature which will allow you to control all your connected devices via an Apple device.
This new tap and pay feature gives users the ability to add store debit and credit cards along with loyalty cards and pay for items with their smart device.
Split screen multitasking
Apple has confirmed the new splitscreen on iPads running iOS 9. In addition to this new feature the iPad also has a new mousing feature that will make it much more usable and bring it closer to the functionality of a pc for various tasks. Slideover allows apps to be added to the side bar. Picture in picture allows videos to be viewed inside other apps and scaled up and down. Splitview will be available for some iPad models and will change the way users complete certain tasks making it easier to take notes while reading an article or watch a video while reading your emails.
Greater interconnectivity between apps
Apps will appear onscreen depending on context and they will be interconnected sharing information like contacts, location and more. App switch will allow the user to toggle between apps. Spotlight will now do a lot more than it could previously, taking searches deeper into apps and using natural language to find very specific data. Doing a search for ‘things I have to do today’ will bring up your reminders and searching for ’emails I forgot to reply to last week’ will bring up just that.
Stability and security
Apple doesn’t “mine” your cloud content, they “honestly don’t want to know” your secrets and they won’t share your information with third parties. They didn’t go into a huge amount of detail in relation to their views on advertising and privacy though. Apple will be releasing one version of the OS for new phones and one for older phones one or two generations back to eliminate the problems in the past with running a new OS on older devices including sluggishness and bugs. Battery saving mode, like on the Apple Watch, will add an additional 3 hours onto your iPhone’s battery life. The only problem is it’s hidden away in settings and is hard to find to adjust. Confirmation of Activation Lock for Apple Watch a feature which was in big demand from the start is a welcome bit of news for any Watch owner. ‘Rootless’ security system will make iOS 9 ‘impossible’ to jailbreak.
New San Francisco font
Will replace Helvetica Neue font which was used in iOS 7/iOS 8. This font was created to be readable on the small screen of the Apple Watch Apple were previously criticised for putting too much emphasis on style and neglecting readability with the current font Helvetica Neue. Some third party apps have already started incorporating San Francisco and we now know for certain that Apple will go with this new font after the WWDC keynote announcements.
One of the more noticeable design changes of iOS 9 UI is more rounded corners of alerts and action sheet buttons.
Double finger trackpad. The iPad now has the added feature of the double finger trackpad feature which works by placing two fingers on the keyboard and using it as a trackpad, allowing for selecting text, copy and pasting and moving the cursor. iOS 9 is confirmed to be “Force touch” ready allowing for new gestures and providing haptic feedback inside apps.
This will give designers more options when designing apps for the new OS using what knowledge they have gathered while designing for the Apple Watch with regards to usability and when best to use such gestures.