Apple on Tuesday announced several new software features as part of its annual update of mobile operating system iOS that powers the company’s iconic iPhones and iPads.
iOS 9, the next version of the software that powers Apple’s mobile devices, will support iPhone 4S and above, iPad 2 and above, all iPad mini models, and iPod touch fifth-generation. iPad finally gets the much-needed support for multiple apps on same screen with iOS 9. Samsung, as well as other Android device makers, have allowed users to open two or more apps on the same screen for the past three years.
With iOS 9, iPad will allow users to open two apps via drag-and-drop in 50:50 or 70:30 format. However, this feature will be available only on iPad Air 2, Air, mini 3 and mini 2. Apple Maps, which the company claims is used 3.5 times more on iOS than any other mapping app like Google Maps, will now get transit directions. One neat feature of the Maps app is that it will show ‘multi-modal routing’; this feature will, for example, show if a single station allows passengers to switch from buses to inter-city trains to metro trains.
- Location cards in Apple Maps will also show if any restaurant or other stores support Apple Pay.
- Apple has also decided to take on Flipboard and Google’s Play Newsstand to launch its own News app to provide personalized content to users.
- The Apple News apps will curate content only from sources that the user selects, but customize the content into its own format for “beautiful” presentation. Like Flipboard, Apple News will also have an Explore tab featuring recommended topics and publications.
It will be initially rolled out in the US, UK and Australia. Apple also announced that iOS 9’s new low-power mode will give iPhones and iPads an additional 3 hours of battery life. The company has made the Notes app in iOS 9 more functional by taking cues from Samsung’s S Note. Instead of just typing in Notes, users can now draw in the app, make checklists and add photos.
iPhone and iPad users will also heave a huge sigh of relief as Apple has reduced the free space needed for installing iOS 9 from 4.6GB to 1.8GB. Last year, Apple had received a lot of flak from all quarters for the iOS 8 update taking up too much space for the install files. Apple also announced that its mobile payments platform Apple Pay will soon be available in the UK starting July and will be supported by eight more banks. The company has also renamed its Passbook app to Wallet.