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.