Is Your App Ready for iOS 9?

HomeSpotter was just at Apple’s Worldwide Developers Conference (WWDC) in San Francisco. Apple revealed their music streaming platform, Connect, as well as a new version of OS X and iOS and updates to their car, home and watch software. There are a few headlining iOS features coming, such as multi-tasking support for the iPad and transit direction in maps. But in many ways, iOS 9 may be a quieter release since a lot of features will focus on small enhancements and increasing security and stability. We are pretty stoked about the new features announced in iOS 9 and are excited to incorporate the features into our HomeSpotter applications.

 

Here are some of the biggest features that should delight customers.

 

Transit in Maps

Apple’s maps app and third party apps that use embedded maps will gain the ability to provide transit directions on iOS 9. This is a feature that was removed when Apple and Google ended their partnership when iOS 6 was released. While there are a limited number of cities that will be included at launch, Apple appears to be focused on the details that will matter most to transit users. Apple demonstrated an indoor blueprint of a subway station that provided directions to the nearest entrance.

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iPad Multitasking: Beautiful New App Switching UI

The app switching screen is getting a design refresh. Rather than displaying a screen of apps running adjacent to each other, the new interface organizes apps in a stacked format. This is a little bit like flipping through a pile of cards.

 

Swipe Over

Applications on the iPad will no longer be restricted to running fullscreen. While apps on iPad will still take up the full screen, swiping from the right side of the screen will present the last app that was active in a sidebar. The active app will be dimmed slightly to indicate that the sidebar app is active. This is handy for quick message or email reply or quick checks of your favorite social networking apps. Perhaps you are searching for homes and you get an urgent email notification. Normally you would have to switch to the mail app in fullscreen in order to respond. With iOS 9, swipe to the left from the right side of the screen to bring up your email application of choice and respond. Meanwhile, the home search app will fade slightly into the background while you complete your task. When finished, dismiss the email app and the previous app is right where you left it.

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(Image source: macrumors.com)
 

Picture in Picture

While video at full screen is one of the things that gives the iPad its advantage over smaller touch devices, it has always been painful to have to pause video when switching to other apps to quickly take care of tasks. In iOS 9, apps that support the Picture in Picture (PIP) feature will be able to shrink down to a corner of the screen while another app is active. No more pausing videos to send a quick message reply. Just tap on a notification or hit the home button to engage PIP. Perhaps you are in a FaceTime conversation and you begin to talk about your progress in searching for your latest home. With iOS 9, you can place your FaceTime video call into PIP mode which will hover in a corner of your screen while you launch an app to begin your home search.

 

True Split Screen Multitasking

Finally, if you own an iPad Air 2 (or perhaps a rumored iPad Pro…coming soon?), you can run two apps side by side with both active. You can drag your finger on the margin between the two apps and change which app consumes a larger part of the screen. The iPad will snap the windows between ½ and ⅔ alignment for the two active apps.

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(Image source: Federico Viticci at MacStories. Follow him on Twitter @viticci)
 

iPad – Hardware Keyboard Support

When connected to a bluetooth keyboard, iPad will enable keyboard shortcuts for applications that build in support. Key combinations such as Command+Tab will engage the task switcher, just like on the Mac. Many other key commands will make editing documents much quicker, such as Command+B to highlight text. Third party apps will need to make an update to enable these commands. We expect third party apps to adopt these features quickly.

 

iPad – Text Selection

iOS 9 enables the user to turn the soft keyboard into a large track pad for text selections. Instead of tapping within the visible portion of the document and fiddling with getting the cursor, just place two fingers on the keyboard. The keys will dim out and move the cursor quickly to the desired position. iPad will gain some of the quick buttons introduced with the iPhone 6 plus, such as cut and paste buttons. These buttons surround the predictive text options that started with iOS 8.

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(Image source: Timothy Reavis at iDownloadBlog)
 

Device Intelligence

Apple seems to have placed a lot of effort into little, automated enhancements to iOS 9. For example, missed calls from numbers not saved in the contacts app will still show a name as a possible match if found in a previous email. It will attempt to identify usage patterns and present apps commonly used at specific times of the day as an icon at the bottom of the lock screen.

Spotlight search and Siri will be able to display local content from third party applications. Forgot who mentioned that tweet about cat sweaters? Ask Siri or search Spotlight by swiping all the way to the left on the home screen instead of launching the Twitter app. Apple was quick to emphasize that this data is all calculated on the device and not sent through Apple’s servers.

 

News App

iOS 9 will introduce an app called News that will aggregate content from publishers, major and minor. This appears to be in close competition with Facebook’s instant Articles feature that was announced recently. Apple is also adopting the same revenue sharing model as Facebook. If the publisher uses their own ad network, the publisher keeps 100% of the revenue. If the use iAd, then they adopt a 70/30 model with 70% going to the publisher.

 

Power Saving Mode

Despite introducing iPhones with larger batteries last fall, many iPhone users still run low on power by the end of the day. Devices will be able to enter “Low Power Mode” when the battery level drops below 20%. This mode conserves battery by opting out of more power intensive processes.

 

We are excited about the new features in iOS 9 and look forward to making our apps more powerful. We expect our apps to consume less space on your devices and take up less energy when using your location. We will be able take advantage of the iPad’s new multitasking features and better integration with core iOS services.

About Rachel Kolias

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