UPDATE: And now Apple has released the first iOS 9 beta (build 13A4254v). You can download it now by heading to Apple’s developer website, though you’ll need to be a paying member of Apple’s Developer Program to get it. The public beta will roll out in July.
Today Apple is kicking off its WWDC conference with a keynote, and during the event, the Cupertino firm first detailed iOS 9.
iOS 9 will include a new feature called Proactive Assistant that aims to perform functions and offer info before you actually search for them. For example, the feature will learn when you like to listen to music and when you plug in headphones, it’ll launch music automatically.
Proactive Assistant also includes a new search page that’s available by swiping left from the home screen. This page will offer up contacts and apps that the OS thinks that you might want, as well as nearby businesses and breaking news. And when you decide to search for something, iOS 9 can use its new API and deep link features to show results from apps that you’ve got installed and then launch you directly into that info in the app.
Another big change coming in iOS 9 is for Passbook and Apple Pay. With the next iOS update, Apple is renaming its Passbook app to “Wallet” and adding support for store credit and debit cards as well as loyalty and rewards programs. Apple is also teaming up with Square as part of its expanded Apple Pay effort to create a reader to make it easier for stores to begin accepting Apple Pay.
Other Apple apps getting updates in iOS 9 include Notes and Maps. Notes is getting easy checklist adding, support for sketching and adding images to your notes, and including links from Safari. Meanwhile, Apple Maps will gain transit information, with details for select cities at first and more to be added later.
Along with updates to existing apps, iOS 9 will bring with it an all-new app. Simply called “News,” the app will what news you’re interested in and serve up content in-app, complete with images, video, and animations. You can start by telling News what publications you like to read, and you can then use an “explore” feature to check out other news sources that the app thinks you might be interested in.
Apple also spent some time talking about iPad-specific goodies that are coming in iOS 9. The biggest one is a split-screen mode that’ll let you run two apps simultaneously, complete with their own multi-touch features. Also coming to the iPad in iOS 9 is Slide Over, which will let you quickly check apps like Messages and Notes with a swipe from the right edge of the screen; and a refreshed Quick Type keyboard that includes shortcuts for features like copy/paste and camera in the suggestions bar. You’ll also be able to put two fingers on the keyboard and use it as a trackpad for selecting text and more. Finally, there’s a new task switcher in iOS 9 that Apple says is coming to the iPhone as well.
iOS 9 will also include some odds and ends, like increased battery life and reduced install size, the latter of which will shrink the update to 1.3GB. iOS 9 will be available in developer beta today, June 8, with a public beta rolling out in July and a public launch in the fall. iOS 9 will support all of the devices that run iOS 8.