Yesterday, Apple released iOS 9 for the iPhone and iPad. It is a solid, free upgrade that adds some great new features. The new Notes app is particularly nice, with support for inserting pictures, creating checklists (great for a packing list), etc. The split view will help me to be even more productive on my iPad.
But I'm just as excited about all of the tiny improvements, each of which makes your day-to-day usage of the iPhone and iPad so much better. For example:
- The keys on the keyboard change to uppercase or lowercase letters depending upon the mode. Thus, you no longer have to stare at the shift key and try to guess whether it is on or off. Amen.
- When you hold down the home button on the iPhone to activate Siri, you no longer get an audible beep and instead just get a discreet vibration.
- You can swipe from left to right on your first home screen to perform a search, but that page also gives you helpful shortcuts that Siri thinks that you might want to use, such as recent contacts, apps you are likely to want to launch, etc. It is a little thing that makes the iPhone faster and easier to use. I really like it.
- Third parties can now add themselves to that Siri search screen. For example, I use 1Password to store my passwords. I can now swipe to the search screen and type "Apple ID" to see an entry for my Apple ID password in the 1Password app. When I tap it, the 1Password app launches directly to that entry so that I can quickly see my long and complicated password. Other apps can also add themselves to the search screen.
- The system font on the iPhone used to be Helvetica Neue, but in iOS 9 it changes to an Apple-designed font called San Francisco, the font used on the Apple Watch. It is a subtle change, but I find it easier to read.
For more information on everything that is new, I have two sets of recommended articles. First, if you just want a nice short overview of the highlights, I liked these articles:
- Joanna Stern of the Wall Street Journal: iOS 9 Review: An Upgrade That Will Save You Time and Battery
- David Pogue of Yahoo Tech: Want to Boost Your iPhone’s Speed and Battery Life? Install iOS 9
- Oscar Raymundo of Macworld: iOS 9 FAQ: Everything you need to know about Apple's new mobile OS
Second, if you want to dig deeper, I recommend these longer articles:
- Rene Ritchie of iMore: The Definitive iOS 9 Review.
- Federico Viticci of MacStories: iOS 9: The MacStories Review, Created on iPad
- Jason Snell of Six Colors: iOS 9 in review: iPad productivity
- Serenity Caldwell of iMore: What's changed in iOS 9 for your iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch
- Andrew Cunningham of Ars Technica: iOS 9, thoroughly reviewed