Of course, a new iOS. So was this just to be a spring clean or would iOS9 offer some genuine innovation? First impressions are that the latter is true. Some of the main highlights:
iPad split screen multi-tasking
Yep. So in short you can run two apps side-by-side. For example, you'll be able to watch a video using picture-in-picture while working in another app. Not bad eh?
See here for a neat preview http://www.apple.com/ios/ios9-preview/#ipad
Improved Apple preinstalled apps
This will include (amongst the usual offering) an Apple News app (think Flipboard). Apple News will offer curated content from popular sources with extremely rich articles.
Passbook has been rebranded Wallet and not only stores credit-cards and tickets, but now also shopping loyalty cards and store cards.
Apple Pay is coming to the UK at the end of June and will be supported by most banks (with Barclays being the most notable exception).
Also, they'll be a mass transit view in Apple Maps with multi transit routing, including walking time between waypoints.
An improved and proactive Siri is definitely good news. She'll (if that's your preference) now suggest results based on time, location and what Siri knows about your habits (beware).
System speed and battery improvements
Supposedly iPhones will receive an extra hour of battery life.
Also, a new Power Saving mode gives an iPhone an extra 3 hours of battery life when low.
Possibly the most stupid name for an OS ever? Don't be put off though, El Capitan has plenty to look forward too (and of course it's free, not to be sniffed at). Some highlights:
- Improved Spotlight with natural language search
- Revamped Mail and Notes apps with new formatting and search options
- New low-level graphic APIs Metal to improve render time and performances to graphic heavy applications
Apple Watch OS 2
As expected they've very quickly launched a second OS for the Apple Watch. They've moved quickly to rectify some of the weaknesses we mentioned in a recent post (possibly not solely, or even partly, in response to us). The headlines:
- Native API to build fully native watch apps that run directly on the Apple watch. A vast improvement on the current Apple Watch apps which reside on the iPhone and are rendered on the watch
- Developer access to most requested hardware functions
These and other advances should allow for much richer and functional watch apps. Watch this space.
Social meets music. Or, music meets social? iTunes meets radio? The end of downloading? Whether this is a brand new dawn or just a case of the brand new heavies (sorry, failed gag) we'll wait and see.
Spotify v Apple. It's on!
Apple's answer to Spotify. For $9.99 you can stream the entire iTunes catalog (sound familiar). However, the family offer of $14.99 looks like an interesting proposition (though this will surely be mimicked shortly on other streaming services).
Apple Music Connect
Artists can use the platform to reach their fans directly using the Apple Music Connect. This social media element allows artists signed and unsigned to share content, music, photos, video etc in a social environment. Similar to the failed iTunes Ping.
Streaming killed the radio star
Apple Music will offer radio stations hand curated by, like, actual people. This selection of DJs will select not based on genre or style but on what songs work together.
As part of this - Beats1 Radio. A new global, 24hr radio station featuring Zane Lowe amongst others.
In the autumn Apple Music will even hit Android devices. It launches on Apple products (worldwide) on June 30th.
Not forgetting, of course, Swift 2 - a new Swift programming language and, perhaps most surprisingly, it will be open source. Gee. We'll have much more to say on that for sure.
This article was originally written for Brightec by Cameron Cooke