For those of us who follow Apple news pretty closely (or at all), we know that today is the day that Apple releases iOS 9... the next-generation software for iPhone, iPad and iPod Touch. Most people wouldn't consider this update to be earth-shattering (and I would agree), but I certainly wouldn't be too quick to dismiss it as "ordinary" either. There are plenty of great gems hidden within the release that we should all pay attention to.
There are certainly too many improvements to talk about here, so what I thought I would do is highlight my top 5 favorite improvements for the update... in no particular order.
- Improved Maps App
There are two specific areas of improvement that I plan on using quite a bit... transit directions and nearby points of interest. Transit will be hugely beneficial when traveling to larger cities where I use mass transit more than I do when at home. Currently, I have several apps that I use, depending on the city that I am visiting. This will help to keep everything in a single app. As for nearby points of interested... this will be a great way to explore new places to eat and visit , both at home and while traveling.
- iCloud Drive App
YAY!!!! I have been waiting for this one for a long time. I use iCloud Drive heavily (as I do Dropbox), but there has never been a good way of exploring those files on my iOS devices outside of iWork document syncing. This is huge for my productivity and access to critical data on the go.
I can't tell you how many times I have been working on my iPad in the past and have wanted to watch a movie in a small window as I work to compose emails. My brain is accustomed to multitasking, but the iPad hasn't been... until now. This feature won't do me any good on my iPhone, but that's ok. This one is perfectly suited for the larger iPad screen.
- New and Improved Notes App
I'll be honest, I stopped using the iOS Notes app a while ago because it was, well, too simple for me. I also found it frustrating that if a note was deleted (intentionally or accidentally), it was very difficult to recover. With recent changes to iCloud (giving us the ability to recover lost notes) and a new Notes app in iOS 9 (giving us more feature-rich options), it's definitely worth reconsidering how I use notes.
- Siri Improvements
There's no doubt that Siri has improved with every release. iOS 9 is no different. The new Siri has better search-ability and integration to your apps. For example, Siri can now search for specific photos by saying, "Hey Siri, show me the pictures from my trip to New York". Oh, and the "Hey Siri" feature works even if your iPhone isn't plugged in.
- All-new News App
Ok, I couldn't help myself. I just had to add one more feature... the all-new News app. There are plenty (PLENTY) of ways to get our news these days. I use a combination of Instagram (yes, really), Twitter (heavily), traditional websites, a plethora of news-centric apps and more to get my news updates. The News app is a single place that brings it all together in an easy-to-read and beautiful format using "custom typography and rich multimedia". Time will tell if this will be a true hit with many users, but I'm liking it so far!
As a bonus feature, I'm also looking forward to longer battery life and better overall performance. iOS 9 is better optimized, which means it uses its resources in a more efficient way and helps us to get things done quicker. In short, it will last longer between charges, and I think we can all appreciate that!
If this isn't enough for you (and I don't blame you), check out Apple's "What's new in iOS 9" page here. iOS 9 is compatible with all iPhones starting with the iPhone 4s, all iPad minis, all iPads starting with the iPad 2, the iPod Touch 5th and 6th generation and of course the new iPad Pro. The upgrade is free, and weighs in at only 1.3 GB (compared to iOS 8's 4.58 GB). Get it today!