(image via MacStories)
Apple’s new software update, iOS 9 (and the most recent 9.0.1 bug fix) is not just the next hot thing. It doesn’t serve up another novelty feature, such as voice-recording-via-text (that hardly helps if your recipient is in a meeting) or a useless addition such as the Apple Watch ad that Apple put on your home screen with iOS 8.2. For the first time in a long time, the newest update doesn’t take up as much room as previous improvements. It’s practical, functional and designed to save time. “One of the most powerful themes of iOS 9 is smarter, more relevant search,” declares Mashable.
Here is a roundup of some of the most useful features iOS 9 brings to the (conference) table:
1. News. One of the most radical changes Apple is introducing with this latest upgrade is the News app, which curates all the stories you’re interested in all in one place. Articles are pulled from a wide range of sources based on what you like to read. More than 50 publications have teamed up to join Apple News so far, including Wired, The New York Times, CNN and Bloomberg. Easily share stories with your colleagues or save to read later.
2. Siri. Say “Hey Siri” and be prepared for faster, more accurate information. In fact, MacWorld says this is “Siri running on steroids.” Now you can create context and app-related reminders. For example, if you found the perfect restaurant for your next client lunch on Safari, simply tell Siri to “remind me of this” and Siri will create the reminder and link it directly to the webpage. You can also ask Siri to remind you about a text message, a specific location in Maps or to read an article you saw at the office. Siri also delivers unit conversions and math almost instantaneously. Got it!
3. Maps. Apple has finally added Mass Transit information, providing turn-by-turn spoken directions for bus, train, subway and ferry. Very cool for people who live in large cities or business travelers. You’ll get real time traffic details and also be able to see what’s around you—hotels, dining, shopping, etc. The only downside is that it’s only available in a few major cities right now, so check Apple.com for the most current list of locations.
4. Multitasking on iPad with Slide Over, Split View and Picture in Picture. This new feature for iPad allows you to work with two apps simultaneously side by side or with the new Picture in Picture. Split View goes a step further by allowing you to have two apps open and active at the same time. For example, write a paper while copying citations from a book in iBooks. If you have an iPad Air 2 or an iPad mini 4 or plan to purchase the upcoming iPad Pro, you can use all three of the multi-tasking features. If you have an iPad Air, iPad mini 2 or iPad mini 3, you can use Slide Over and Picture in Picture, but you can’t use Split View because those older models are not powerful enough to support two apps at once. If you have an older iPad, like an iPad 2 or an original iPad mini, none of the multitasking features will be available.
5. Apple Pay. Apple’s built-in Passbook app has been replaced with the Apple Pay-powered Wallet app. You can still store your coffee cards, concert tickets and boarding passes just like in Passbook, but now Wallet is also the home of Apple Pay—the place where you also keep your credit cards and reward cards. It’s simple to use, works with all major credit networks and is already accepted by more than one million locations, according to Apple.
6. Proactive. A quick swipe to the right from the home screen brings you to Proactive. Search for anything via Siri or the keyboard—apps, websites, contacts, news, etc. Get your personalized set of recommendations and news all based on previous behavior and time of day. Soon it will show your upcoming flights, weather and traffic warnings.
7. WiFi Assist. If you walk into an area of your building where the WiFi signal is a little weaker, this new feature will automatically detect that weak signal and switch users over to a stronger cellular signal so they don’t experience dropouts or buffering. This plus could, however, be a minus for folks on a limited data plan who may believe they are still on WiFi, but actually are using up precious data. If that’s you, just turn off the Assist.
8.iCloud Drive app. This is an optional app that makes it easier to access any file you save from iCloud and provides a much more efficient workflow, say experts. iCloud Drive is Apple’s Dropbox-like storage solution for managing file syncing between Mac and iOS devices and places all of your iCloud Drives files in one easy-to access spot. Go to Settings and turn it on.
9. Notes. Now you can create new folders, a new formatting toolbar and support for sketches, photos, links and maps. Notes also works with iCloud so you can access your genius ideas no matter what device you are using.