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Apple iOS 9 gets bolder!

By Himanshu Juneja
September 21, 2015 12:03 IST
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We enlist some of the key features of iOS 9, so sit tight.

iOS 9

The wait is over and iOS 9, Apple's latest mobile operating system, is available for the Indian users as well. The updates started rolling out around 10.30 pm India time on September 16, and seems like Apple is on a mission.

Taking cues from apps like Evernote, truecaller and even Android OS, Apple has made revisions, introduced few features of its own and has tried to bring a much sleeker operating system.

Smaller update file

This was one area which the users of Apple device from previous upgrade would remember, and sorely at that. If the iOS 8 was a colossal 4.6 GB in size, the iOS 9 is a puny 1.8 GB in comparison. Those who always have to run around emptying the storage memory for updates, this will come as a big relief.

Apple Maps Reloaded

iOS 9

Many would be able to recall the disaster that was Apple Maps when it showed up the first time. Apple users took to Google Maps as an alternative. iOS 9 tries again to get the users hooked to Apple Maps, and this time things are looking much better.

The transit view brings onboard the subway and bus schedule as well as routes. This makes one's commute pretty well organised and hassle free. Unfortunately the transit view is very limited with its database at the moment, with cities of USA, London, Toronto and China getting the initial attention.

Indian users will have to wait for their turn.

As a consolation, Google Maps are still far better.

iPad only: Two apps together

iOS 9

The split view is definitely one of the exciting feature of the newest iOS. The user gets the ability to run two apps side by side. It will be pretty handy in situations like searching for a particular hang out joint on the maps and launching the browser to get the particulars before landing up there.

iPad only: From k to trackpad

This is one feature which should find decent traction. While working on an an iPad Air 2, iPad Mini 4, or even the iPad Pro, the user can turn the good old keypad into a trackpad by simultaneously touching two keys. This allows for better navigation especially while working with text based files.

Apple Watch only: Achievements unlocked

Now, the users get to view the Apple Watch activity achievement medals complete with the date of earning them. A small move, but clear intention to integrate Apple watch more closely with the mainstream iOS, and get a more tightly woven Apple ecosystem.

Low battery mode

The iOS now asks users when the battery level hits the 20 per cent mark, and then again while breaching the 10 per cent count.

Turning this mode on allows the user to conserve battery longer while dealing with subtle changes. The Airdrop feature goes away, and the screen turns itself off much quicker than original time out count, and some eye candy effects are put to rest as a trade off.

To enable this, the user have to go to Settings --> Battery and then enable Low Power Mode.

Once the battery is charged up to 80 per cent, the mode is automatically cancelled.

Smarter Siri

iOS 9

Siri, the ever-ready assistant from Apple has added to its skill set. If Siri finds out that you have been searching for something, it will suggest you a relevant app.

Also, the clients, friends, relatives you been calling up show up as suggestions based on your frequency of chatting with them on a routine basis. Siri will even look up events in the emails and automatically add them to the calendar.

Siri doesn't stop there; it now can grasp queries like 'Show me photos from last Spring' and bringing up the relevant results.

Another useful area where Siri has gone smart is in the way it is able to dig out music files based on attributes like your favourite singer or the preferred playlist.

It gets even better because Siri can work with phrases here as well and something like 'Best disco from the 80s' will quickly get your foot tapping.

Notifications sorted out

Finally the notifications are going to be displayed by 'most recently received' and not by preference vis a vis the apps.

This really should have been made as the default, but finally better sense has prevailed. The user still has to get this enabled via settings, but it is here finally.

The option to clear all the notification all together is still absent, but we will be watching iOS 10 closely.

The back button is here

Maybe Android users had a case after all! If the Apple pencil wasn't enough, the iOS now incorporates a small back button to, well, go back.

This is sure to save a lot of frustrations and time, more so while working inside apps where clickable links leads the users to new domain one after another. The application switcher will be heaving a sigh of relief.

iCloud Drive integration energised

iOS 9

iOS 9 now allows users to attach files via iCloud Drive easily. In fact, even Google drive is supported, but the fact that Apple decided to include the option to enable a native iCloud app directly on the home screen speaks volumes about the stress given to the iCloud feature.

Search your settings

Another of the small yet important change introduced in the latest iOS.

Users of Apple devices will unanimously agree about the hoards of options populating the Settings App. The sheer numbers is enough to raise the temperature during crunch times.

Apple finally came around to include a search bar right at the top of the Settings App for instant look up.

Caller ID via Mail

iOS 9

iOS 9 is upping the ante with the caller ID getting smarter. The data from the mail will be looked up in case a number is absent from your contact list. In case you are too dependent on the good old truecaller, you can disable the feature from settings.

Given the fact that iOS will now try to even guess unknown numbers, option to disable may come in handy.

Launch Wallet/Apple Pay via locked screen

The payment was made cooler via Apple Pay; now Apple goes a step ahead to enhance the convenience. iOS 9 makes the payment process easier by making it possible to launch the Wallet App/Apple Pay via a locked screen as well.

Better Notes

iOS 9

Evernote App makers better take 'Note'. Apple just upped the ante here too.

Now Apple users can add from checklists, web links, photos and even drawings to a note. These features were much needed. Expect an instant smile for those who are well acquainted with the Evernote app.

Safari says yes to ad blockers

With Siri now ready to allow the ad blockers, this might raise a good debate. Since ads are a major source of revenue, allowing the users to keep out the sometimes pesky ads thereby kills some well deserved revenue to the independent websites.

The users sure can look forward to a clutter free browsing experience.

New Wi-Fi Assist calls for attention

Apple's new take on the Wi-Fi Assist makes automatic transition from the scratchy and poor Wi-Fi connection to your mobile data connection.

While this will get the job done quickly, those on a tight budget need to make sure they take adequate measures to avoid over billing.

Android Migration

The iOS 9 is surely trying to be fresh. With the Android Migration feature, it is inviting the users to switch from an Android device to an Apple device conveniently.

It moves the data like email accounts, contacts, message history, calendar bookmarks, multimedia content like photos and videos, and takes note of the app collection as well, allowing the user to populate apps accordingly on the new ecosystem.

Photographs: Apple.com

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Himanshu Juneja
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