iOS 9: Smarter Siri, Better Battery Life

Apple announced iOS 9 as the latest operating system for iPhones and iPads at the World Wide Developers conference on Monday. Apple focused less on aesthetics and more on functionality, with few changes to the appearance of the operating system but many related to user-experience.

Longer Battery Life

Just by upgrading to iOS 9, users will experience about an hour of extra battery life during regular use of an iPhone in comparison with iOS 8. Also, Apple finally introduced a low-power mode with iOS 9, which could save up to three hours of battery.

A Smarter Siri

Siri will be able to perform a wider range of actions once iOS 9 is rolled out.

Rather than just being able to answer simple questions about the weather or play a song on command, she will be able to gather information to perform a wider range of functions, such as being proactive in reminders that a user makes while browsing the web or responding to a text.

Siri also will understand iOS 9 users better, with Apple reporting only a 5 percent word recognition error rate.

Proactive Makes Its Debut

Proactive is the new iOS 9 assistant that will give users real-time information that is contextual. It takes data from Siri, Contacts, Calendar, Passbook, and other third-party apps to automatically put events in a calendar from an e-mail or message, pull up boarding passes right before a flight, and more.

It can even take note of daily patterns and would pull up the music application automatically if it notices headphones are plugged in around the same time every day.

With this also comes a much better Spotlight. When users swipe left from their main screen using iOS 9, they'll see suggested apps, contacts, and even news articles based on location. With iOS 9, Spotlight will now also support video search from Vevo, Vimeo, and YouTube while allowing videos to play directly.

New and Improved Notes

With iOS 9, Notes is no longer just for writing down text-based reminders. Now, users can add photos, links, or even draw on the notepad. It also has a built-in to-do list function, which takes the place of the Reminders application that virtually did the same thing.

Maps with Transit

With iOS 9, Maps will support directions that can use mass transit and have full-feature transit maps. To start, Maps' mass transit service will be available in at least 10 major cities: Baltimore, Berlin, Chicago, London, Mexico City, New York, Philadelphia, San Francisco, Toronto, and Washington D.C.

iPad users will enjoy some exclusive benefits, such as the Slide-Over feature which will allow multitasking in two applications at once. When a second app is opened, it will appear along the right-hand side of the iPad, and gets pinned to the side regardless of which app is chosen as the primary app.

Developers were able to have access to iOS 9 starting Monday, but this year, the public will not have to wait until the usual fall upgrade. For the first time, users who want to try a public beta version will be able to do so in July.

Users will not be scrambling to delete apps, photos, and other data when they upgrade to iOS 9, as it requires only 1.3 GB of space, compared to iOS 8's 4.6 GB.