After installing iOS 9 when it’s publicly available in the fall, you’ll find your iPhone a more helpful assistant than ever before. That’s thanks to a redesign built around context — or what Apple SVP Craig Federighi called “intelligence” on Monday at Apple’s Worldwide Developers Conference when unveiling iOS 9 for the first time.
By far the biggest upgrades in iOS 9 are a newly-renovated Siri and search with “deep linking,” which in combination allow your iPhone to deliver you smarter, context-based information from across multiple apps. Siri is now more context-aware, letting you ask more complex queries like “show me photos from Utah last August.” By learning your daily routines, an iPhone with iOS 9 will be able to predict which apps or information you might want at any particular moment — a news app in the morning and a music app in the evening, for instance. And by working across different apps thanks to a new programming interface, the improved search function can help you more easily find whatever information you’re looking for at a given moment from different sources.
The idea that context can make a smartphone smarter is hardly new. Google’s core strength in search has given it a head start when it comes to context on mobile devices; its Google Now mobile app can perform many of the functions Apple boasted about bringing to iOS 9 on Monday.
Still, Apple’s strong focus on context Monday shows there’s a common acknowledgement among smartphone makers that it’s the next frontier of smartphone development. And while Apple may be a later to the context game, it claims at least one advantage over its rival Google, which makes the popular Android smartphone software: Apple makes money off hardware, not selling ads against users’ searches like Google does. Apple is already making this a selling point against Google’s devices, with Federighi on Monday promising his company wouldn’t share users’ searches with “third parties.”
Here are 5 other improvements coming to iPhones with iOS 9:
- Siri will be 40% more accurate and 40% quicker, Apple says.
- The Calendar app will estimate travel time to your next appointment based on traffic data and give you a nudge when it thinks it’s time to leave.
- While reading an article that you want to come back to later, you can ask Siri to remind you to finish the piece later.
- If you get a call from an unknown number, your iPhone can scan your email for the number to try guessing who’s looking to reach you.
- When connecting a pair of headphones, your iPhone will automatically suggest some music to play.
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