The Apple iOS 9 product keynote on September 9th revealed big hardware news and feature updates that have the Leadbolt team very excited about what’s coming. The official Apple iOS 9 release date is September 16th, while iPhone 6S and iPhone 6S Plus devices are due to ship September 25th. Here’s a roll-up of the highlights that have our offices buzzing, particularly because of the implications they have for app developers:
This new innovative touch feature has big implications for game developers. The iOS 9 devices will be sensitive to the pressure of touch applied to the screen, enabling all kinds of layered experiences. When you press a little harder, you’ll be able to peek at a snippet of content that “pops-up”. When you press even harder, you can land on a different place within the operating system. Pressing deeply on the app icon, for example, can allow you to jump directly into an action, in many cases bypassing the actual opening of an app. 3D Touch brings a tactical and nuanced experience to gameplay and app usage that can engage users far beyond basic motions such as swiping left or right.
The Apple Pencil
As its name suggests, The Pencil allows users to draw onto iOS apps and unlock additional functions, with exacting single-pixel sensitivity. This drawing feature is ideal for game developers looking to incorporate any aspect of drawing input from players. With the Pencil, users can also draw graphs and write notes directly onto documents when using Microsoft Office.
The Apple Pencil will be available in November, at $99.
2 App Multi-Tasking on iPad
App developers, take note: iPad’s new multitasking mode allows users to run two apps side by side simultaneously (much like Surface and Galaxy tablets).
Other feature and app updates that we love:
iOS 9 Keyboard for iPad
With its new built-in shortcut bar as the default setting, you don’t have to search for shortcuts in the second layer of the keyboard menu. Shorts are context sensitive and include cut, copy and paste to the left; bold, italic, underline and attachments to the right. Plus, the keyboard is customizable and compatible with third-party keyboard apps.
Meet the new, more powerful Siri. 40% faster and 40% more accurate, in fact. With a new feature called “Proactive”, Siri might just be the hardest working personal assistant in the business. Now even more multilingual, she now understands where you are and anticipates your needs in almost any situation. For example, she can suggest meetings you should add to your calendar and keep you on track for your appointments by alerting you when it’s time to leave for your next meeting. Her advanced location-based knowledge lets her detect where you are so she can prepare the entertainment you prefer (e.g., In your car? She’ll queue your audio book where you left off. At the gym? She’ll prep your workout playlist.) She now understands “it” and “this” within the context that “it” or “this” was mentioned. Now when you say, “Hey Siri, add “this” to my calendar, she’ll know what “this” is.
Siri will also do her best to detect random numbers that call, by checking emails to try to match up and identify the number. So long, telemarketers!
Apple Pay Expands to UK
Already a success in the US for the past year, the Apple Pay UK payment platform is gaining huge traction with 70% backing from the countries’ most respected credit and debit institutions such as Bank of Scotland and HSBC and Lloyds Bank.
Note the name change! The app that holds Apple Pay is currently called Passbook but will be renamed Wallet.
Also, the mandatory Touch ID fingerprint sensor is twice as fast as before on the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus.
Beginning this Fall in select cities (Baltimore, Chicago, New York City, Philadelphia, the San Francisco Bay Area, Washington D.C. , Toronto, Berlin, London, Mexico City,) Apple is adding public transit directions to its maps, including routes for buses, trains, subways and ferries. While design updates are minimal, it’s worth noting that it’ll support directions for 300 cities in China.
Apple News (formerly known as Newsstand)
With iOS 9, Apple News introduced the new Flipboard app that delivers a personalized feed, and will be available to US, UK and Australia at launch.
Even better: Apple News promises that your data will remain anonymous, apart from your Apple ID of course.