Wednesday, July 1, 2015

iOS 9 release date, features and news

iOS 9 is Apple's next iPhone and iPad update now that iOS 8.4 has launched with Apple Music, and it brings a smarter Siri, public transit directions to Maps, true tablet multitasking and new built-in apps.

Unveiled on June 8, it's Apple's next big project between April's Apple Watch launch and September's expected iPhone 6S unveiling, and developers can download it today.

iOS 9 makes a big push for stability, a smaller download size and legacy phone and tablet compatibility. That older iPhone and iPad you have will work with this update if it runs iOS 8.

New iOS 9 features consist of redesigned built-in apps and premiers new ones. Here's what to expect.

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iOS 9 release date

iOS 9 is available today to those enrolled in iOS developer program, keeping with Apple's same-day delivery pattern during WWDC. Of course, becoming registered developer requires paying a fee.

Everyone else who wants iOS 9 for free has to wait until either the public beta in July or later this year when it's expected to launch with the new iPhone. Think: September.

That one- to three-month wait can be a good thing. iOS 9 beta 1 is be buggy and unfinished. The best features typically don't launch until the gold master version, anyway.

iOS 9 compatibility

iOS 9 is proving to be more inclusive than previous iOS versions. Apple is choosing to make this update compatible with older iPhone, iPad and even iPod touch devices, too.

Okay, it's not technically more inclusive just yet. Basically, if your dated hardware runs iOS 8, it can run iOS 9. When the rumored iPhone 6S, iPhone 6S Plus, iPad Air 3 and iPad mini 4 launch, then list will grow by four.

But overall, it's good news, as older phones and tablets aren't getting muscled out. The iPhone 4S and iPad 2 are safe, for now, and a few 30-pin dock devices live on.

Smarter Siri

Siri in iOS 9 is getting the much-needed smarts to rival Google Now. Apple's personal assistant understands the word "it" within context and brings proactivity to the operating system.

For example, if you're talking about a topic with someone in iMessages and ask Siri to "Remind me about this later today," it'll scan the open app and try to understand what "this" means.

iOS 9 proactivity puts even more at your fingertips through Siri. It suggests appointments to add to Calendar and pulls up photos based on location and time with the sound of your voice.

Siri's location-based knowledge appears to be most promising when you're out and about. Plugging in headphones at the gym? It'll offer the Now Playing interface right on the lockscreen.

Plug it into your car? It'll bring up that audiobook you were listening to before. It'll even tell you when to leave for an appointment across town, a feature that has made Google's app for iOS a must-have.

One of the most convenient new iOS 9 features is giving context to random numbers that call you, diving into your email to see if it can match the digits. Goodbye, telemarketers - we hope.

Siri already takes over one billion requests a week, according to Apple. That should only increase now that iOS 9 makes Siri 40% faster and 40% more accurate.

Apple Pay expands

Apple Pay has been touted as a success, but so far has been limited to the US. That all changes when the mobile payment platform launches in the UK this month.

The official Apple Pay UK release date is happening in July and it'll be backed by nearly 70% of credit and debit cards there, including Lloyds Bank, Bank of Scotland and HSBC.

Canada and China are rumored to be next up for the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus mobile payment platform, but the company didn't announce that broad of an expansion just yet.

In the US, Apple Pay is now backed by 2,500 US banks and, this fall, rewards and store-issued cards will be a part of the mobile wallet. This is an idea we liked about Android Pay at Google IO in May.

Considering these newfound iOS 9 capabilities, Apple is renaming Passbook (the app where Apple Pay resides) to Wallet.

Apple News apps

In addition to getting rid of Passbook in favor of Wallet in iOS 9, Apple is replacing Newsstand with News, and it's very familiar if you're a fan of magazine-style news aggregators.

Read more: Recover Lost iPad data after iOS 9 update

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