Apple unveils iOS 9 with iPad multitasking, Proactive Siri, Transit Maps and more

image iOS 9 logoAs expected, Apple today unveiled iOS 9 during its WWDC 2015 keynote. Following a brief introduction by Tim Cook, Craig Federighi used the event to detail several significant features coming to iOS that will land in hands of consumers when iOS 9 is rolled out later this year. These changes to iOS 9 bring a new level of Intelligence to the OS, improve the core apps, add exciting new features to the iPad and more.

As expected, Siri was overhauled with a new interface, new features and new moniker, Proactive Assistant, that reflects the service’s intelligent design. These proactive features will be extended throughout the operating system and will provide useful information as you need it. For example, Siri would create an alert to remind you to leave early for an upcoming appointment due to heavy traffic. Siri’s functionality also will be expanded to third-party apps thanks to a new API.

Apple Pay
Apple Pay in iOS 9 gets the highly-highly-anticipated option to add Discover cards, reward cards, store credit cards and debit cards to the service. Participating retailers in this new feature include Kohls, J.C. Penney, Walgreens, Dunkin Donuts and others. As part of these changes, the Passbook app also is getting a name change to reflect its finance focus. Starting with iOS 9, Passbook now will be called Wallet. Apple Pay also will move beyond it US roots and land next month in the UK. There also will be a new Square reader this fall that is specifically designed for the mobile payment service.

Notes app
Apple provided details on several updates to the Notes app that’ll make the note-taking app much more useful as a productivity tool. These new features include a toolbar with text formatting options, the ability to create checklists within a note and a new image import option that allows you to add a photo from the camera or camera roll. There’s also a drawing tool for making sketches in a note and a new share sheet option available to third-party apps. The share sheet extension allows you to directly send content, such as a website URL, to a note. Apple also added a new attachment browser view that allows you to quickly find notes that contain an image, map or other attached content.

Apple Maps
As widely rumored, Apple added public transit information to both the iOS and OS X Maps app. On iOS, Siri also will be able to tap into the transit maps feature allowing you to pull up transit directions using the Proactive assistant. These new transit maps will be available for limited cities worldwide.

News App
Apple stepped into the news delivery realm with a News app that aggregates the news you want most. The service provides articles from top publishers and learns what subject matter you enjoy reading. Similar to Flipboard, the app combines the interactivity of digital media with the layout of a printed magazine to provide a new reading experience on the iPhone and iPad. To help content providers, Apple has created a new Apple News Format that is optimized for iOS and supports custom typography, interactivity, animation, video and more. Publishers on board at launch include Conde Nast, ESPN and The New York Times. The service will debut first in the US, UK and Australia.

New iPad Features
iOS 9 will include new features for the iPad, including a new QuickType keyboard with support for shortcuts and new multi-touch gestures for selecting and editing text. As rumored, the iPad also will gain multi-tasking support with the new Slide Over feature that allows you to open a second window without closing the first. There’s also a new split-screen view and picture-in-picture view for working in two apps at the same time. These multitasking options are available to both stock and third-party apps. Also new to both the iPad and iPhone is a new task switcher that’ll make switching between apps easier.

In iOS 9, CarPlay is dropping the cord and going wireless, allowing users to connect automatically to their car’s audio equipment with no added hardware. Automakers also will be able to create CarPlay apps to control car features directly from the iPhone.

iOS 9 will include minor features such as improved power consumption, support for two-factor authentication and a reduction in the free space needed to install iOS 9. HealthKit and HomeKit also will be updated with HealthKit gaining the ability to track water consumption, reproductive health, UV exposure, and sedentary state.

iOS 9 will be available today for developers with a public rollout slated for this fall. The iOS 9 public beta version will become available in July. iOS 9 will be a free upgrade and will be compatible with all devices currently running iOS 8, including the iPhone 6 Plus, iPhone 6, iPhone 5s, iPhone 5, iPhone 5c, iPhone 4s, iPod touch 5th gen, iPad Air 2, iPad Air, iPad 4, iPad 3, iPad 2, iPad mini 3, iPad mini 2, and the original iPad mini.