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Apple iOS 9: Seven key highlights of the new mobile OS unveiled at WWDC 2015

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Among the host of announcements to come from WWDC 2015, the iOS 9 seemed the most relevant to consumers. Apple’s new mobile operating system is all set to get an update this fall with iOS 9 set to run on upcoming, as well as some existing Apple devices. Here are the key highlights of iOS 9 that makes it a much-needed update to the iOS 8.

Less space
The space required for iOS 9 has been significantly reduced. Unlike previous iOS update capacities, the space required by iOS 9 has been dropped by less than half. iOS 9 will only come as a 1.8GB installation size instead of a whopping 4.6GB of iOS 8. This would come as a big relief to combat storage issues.

Compatibility
Apple is known to drop support for older devices. However, this time, all previous devices supported by iOS 8 will run iOS 9. The free upgrade will be offered this fall. This means iOS 9 will be seen on all phones from iPhone 4S to iPhone 6 Plus; and tablets such as iPad Air, iPad Air 2, iPad 2, iPad 3rd gen, iPad 4th gen, iPad mini, iPad mini 2, iPad mini 3 as well as the 5th gen iPod Touch. The low space and support for larger number of devices will ensure longevity of the usage of its devices.

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Battery improvements
Apple iOS 9 also comes with improved battery life. iOS 9 adds one hour of additional battery life to the iPhone. Moreover, the new ‘low power mode’ also helps squeeze out three hours of battery life. Your device will show a popup when the iPhone power reaches 20 – 10 percent of battery life.

Proactive Assistant to compete with Google Now
The main feature on iOS 9 has to be the Proactive Assistant, which is Apple’s way of taking on Google Now. Proactive Assistant is basically a major upgrade to Apple’s virtual assistant Siri that can now give you contextual search results based on your location, search history and time of the day. For instance, if you have left your home it will tell you about your upcoming appointments at work, from your Calendar; how far you are from your destination, based on the real-time traffic situation and so on.

Proactive will also let Siri suggest apps to you, in case you are searching for something and Siri finds a relevant app for that. Just like Truecaller, Siri will now also be able identify incoming calls, if that contact detail is not already present in your contact book. A neat feature with the audio jack for instance is that when you plug in your headphones to your phone, you can directly start off from where you had exited the last time were using the music app. Just like Google Now, if there are calendar appointments in your mails which you have added to Calendar app, you will get notifications about these appointments.

According to Apple, this intelligent processing with Proactive Assistant is happening on the device itself and that your data is not being sent to any server in the cloud.

Newsstand replaced with News app
Newsstand wasn’t something people cared about, and Apple decided to drop it just in time. News app that replaces Newsstand is one of the major iOS 9 announcements that basically aggregates news based on your interests, in a rich multimedia format. Think an amalgamation of Facebook Instant Articles and Flipboard and you have Apple’s News app. The News app has tied up with The New York Times for 33 articles a day (there were no details whether users will be able to access this for free or will have to shell out money, since The New York Times generally offers only 10 articles per month for free) along with magazine publisher such as Conde Nast as well as with countless bloggers. News app tends to keep the font size similar to the original source articles so that users feel that they are reading the articles on their home site. This sounds an awful lot like Facebook Instant Articles.

Just like Flipboard, the layout is rich and one can embed photo galleries as well as videos in a News app article. Also content has been optimised for both iPad and the iPhone. It will first be available in the US, UK and Australia.

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Search API
Apple has launched a search API for iOS 9, offering a huge improvement to the search feature. It will allow developers to index and link out their apps, making it easier to discover their content through the native search experience on iOS 9. Basically, users will be able to search not only apps or content from web, but also data within apps. This doesnt come as a surprise, considering recently Google started showing results from Android apps that users didn’t have installed on their phones.

Brings relief to iPad users 
iPad power-users also get some much needed features such as short cuts for cut, copy, paste functions; a new mode that turns the keyboard into a trackpad and a multi-tasking mode for the iPad. Just like with the OS X El Capitan, the iOS 9 will also support multi-tasking mode on the iPad. You can now have two apps open side-by-side on the iPad, a feature that we have seen on many Android tablets and phones. The apps can be split to occupy a 50-50% or a 70-30% screen ratio. Also videos can be watched in a picture-in-picture mode, where in the video window can be moved around and resized based on your preferences. But sadly, the split-screen feature will only come with the iPad 2 and newer iPads, whereas picture in picture feature will be there for older iPads.

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