SAN FRANCISCO -- Apple unveiled iOS 9 at its WWDC 2015 event, making iPhones more intelligent with a new Proactive Assistant. It will get a public beta in July. Macs are also getting an upgrade with OS X El Capitan, which will let you search Spotlight with natural language and will come with souped up multitasking abilities.
In addition, Apple is bringing a new version of watchOS to the Apple Watch to allow developers to create native apps for the platform.
iOS 9: Proactive Assistant, Public Transit in Maps, News App
With iOS 9, Apple wanted to improve upon the foundation of iOS 8 by improving on stability, but the highlight feature is Siri's new intelligence. Proactive Assistant. When you plug in your headphones, iOS 9 will bring up Now Playing on your lock screen. Similar to Google Now, the Proactive Assistant lets you know when its time to leave for your next appointment.
Among Siri's new features is the ability to suggest people, apps and breaking news based on where you are and what you're doing. Siri's search has been beefed up, too. You'll even be able to play media from these search result pages without opening an app. With a new Siri API, users can get deep linked to info within an app, such as Airbnb.
Apple emphasized that its new feature keeps your info anonymous and not associated with Apple ID and that you are in control.
The Notes app is getting an overhaul in iOS 9. You'll be able to create check-off lists, access the camera and even make little drawings. From the Share sheet you can add a link back into your notes.
Apple is finally bringing transit directions to Apple Maps in iOS 9. Transit will start with a handful of cities in the U.S. and China. You can also find locations from within maps, and the app will tell you if a given merchant supports Apple Pay.
A new News app could be Apple's Flipboard killer, a new app that will appear on your homescreen in iOS 9. Wired, ESPN, Quartz and The New York Times are among the first partners, and there's fluid animations and a slick interface. The ESPN app has integrated videos.
The News app, similar to Flipboard, lets you easily discover new content either via topics or search. The favorites area is there to help you dig into your interests or news outlets.
Apple's Jennifer Bailey announced that Apple Pay will be available at 1 million locations by next month. It's also working with Square. But the big news is that Apple is embracing store debit and credit cards, including JCPenny and Kohls.
Apple will also be supporting store loyalty cards, such as Walgreens, Panera and Dunkin Donuts (this fall). These changes will go a long way toward increasing adoption.
Pinterest users will be happy to know that buyable Pins are coming with Apple Pay support.
iPad: Better Multitasking is Here
It's no secret that tablet sales are struggling, but Apple hopes to make iPads more compelling with a raft of enhancements. For example, with the new keyboard, you can use two fingers to move the cursor, turning the keyboard into a trackpad. This also makes it easy to cut and paste.
The biggest change to iOS 9 for iPads is multitasking. There's a new full-screen view of your open apps, and you can slide apps over from the right. For example, you can bring in the new Notes app. You can even move within both apps at the same time; for instance, you can adjust the split to 50/50 view.
A picture-in-picture feature lets you start playing a video and then drag it around, which reminds us of Samsung's Pop Up View in TouchWiz. The video will follow you no matter where you go.
Apple says it has worked really hard to optimize battery life in iOS 9, squeezing out an extra hour of runtime with the same hardware. Apple will also offer a low-power mode that could give you an additional 3 hours of juice.
On the security front, Apple is delivering two-factor authentication to iOS 9. iOS 9 will be offered in public beta in July, and is coming as a free upgrade in the fall.
Apple Watch: More Watch Face Options, Time Travel, Native Apps
The Apple Watch is just several weeks old, but watchOS 2 is coming soon with a lot of welcome improvements. Through watchOS 2 you'll get new watch face options, such as Photo Face or Photo Album Face, which pulls a different photo from an album each time you raise your wrist. Apple will also offer time-lapse faces, giving you 24-hour shoots in different locations.
More important, developers will be able to make their own Complications, or elements you can customize. For example, you'll be able to see your flight time, look at the charge level in your electric VW car or sports scores from your fave teams.
A new Time Travel feature will let you go forward or backward in time. When you rotate the crown, you can see upcoming meetings and weather, etc. A new Nightstand Mode will let you set an alarm and wake you up in the morning.
Communications enhancements in watchOS include the ability to reply to emails (finally), making it easier to add friends and using multiple colors in drawings you make to friends.
Some of the more exciting new features tap the power of Siri. You'll be able to tell it that you want to start a 30-minute run or without touching the watch at all. Fitness fans will like the enhanced achievement medals that you can share with Facebook, Twitter and Messages.
Other improvements include store card support in Apple Pay, transit directions on your wrist and the ability to control HomeKit devices. For instance, you can set a dinner scene with your lights from afar. Apple Pay will let you select store card at a merchant's terminal.
Developers will be able to access the microphone on the watch, deliver video and integrate with HealthKit. One of the cool new apps include Vine, allowing you to glance at 6-second videos on the go.
OS X El Capitan: Smarter Spotlight, Split View, Metal Graphics
More than 55 percent of Apple users are using OS X Yosemite, which is the MacBook's current operating system. That's impressive when compared with just 7 percent for Windows 8.1. With the next release, Apple focused in improving spotlight, built-in apps and adding handy new gestures such as the ability to swipe to delete messages in Mail.
In Safari you can now pin sites, and you can easily see where audio is coming from in the address bar so you can shut it down.
Spotlight search is a lot smarter now with El Capitan. For example, you can search for "Slides from Brian about El Capitan." Or you could say "Mail I ignored from Phil." The same sorts of tricks are available in the Finder.
Mission Control is simpler and faster. You can get an overview with three-finger swipe up. Similar to Windows, you can now easily use two apps side by side, but you can also drag content from one window to another. You can even create a split-screen view from Mission Control.
Apple is also making performance improvements to OS X, including bringing Metal to the Mac to soup up graphics. We're talking about 50 better percent rendering performance. Epic games demonstrating the power of Metal in its Fortnite game, with a 70 percent reduction in CPU usage. The third-person game has a completely destructive environment.
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