Apple iOS 9 Sneak Peek – What App Developers Need to Know

iOS 9 mini header

Apple gave us an exciting sneak peek at iOS 9 during the 2015 Worldwide Developers Conference. While iOS 9 doesn’t look radically different, it is loaded with all the awesome features we were expecting from iOS 8.

I say it’s about damn time!

We’re finally getting true multitasking.  iOS 9 also includes a bunch of improvements to Siri, Apple Pay, Maps, and more.

Just like a creepy SciFi movie, the Apple iOS is getting smarter.

Hello Dave…2001 space odyssey

Your device will learn your habits, open up apps before you need them, and basically guide you through life. Cool and sorta creepy at the same time.

For developers, it's getting real exciting.  Apple is adding a bunch of new improvements. If you build games, you’ll have access to three new frameworks in the developer stack, including GameplayKit, Model I/O, and ReplayKit.

Remember new frameworks = new development features and opportunities.

What else do developers need to know about iOS 9?  Here are the biggest changes.

1.  Siri is getting a whole lot smarter

siri iOS9

Apple was the first to introduce the personal digital assistant. It was awesome at first (and a little annoying).  But Siri eventually fell behind Google Now and Cortana. Luckily, Siri is getting some major upgrades.

For the first time ever, Siri will be open to any developer. The new API for in-app search in Siri will pretty much work like Google. It will let developers add deep link content and a back button to Siri search from within the app.

What's this mean for developers?  NEW ASO!

Yes, now deeply buried content will be surfaced by a Google-like index when searching for App Store titles.  Time to beef up those ASO skills.  Get started right with these 20 ASO Tips and Bluecloud's ASO Mastery Course by one of the meanest ASO legends out there, Hugh Kimura.

Siri will also support context-based reminders. For example, if you’re getting in your car, Siri can remind you to stop at the post office.

Siri can also suggest relevant people, apps, news, and places in response to usage patterns.

2.  Updates to Apple Pay

apple pay

Apple Pay gets me fired up!  There are so many incentives for developers focused on consumer products to use this feature. Put simply, it will earn you more money and repeated sales.

So far, Apple Pay has only been available in the United States. Backed by over 2,500 banks, it’s been a huge success. Now it’s going international, which means that Apple Pay is coming to the United Kingdom in July.

If you have an ecommerce app, get ready for a boost in sales with iOS 9!

Apple also decided to do some rebranding. Passbook will now be called Wallet. Wallet will integrate with Apple Pay and keep your store loyalty card information. Which is great, because no one can keep track of those things.

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3.  Maps that suck less

iOS maps

Apple Maps has always been a weak alternative to Google Maps. Apple finally decided to do something about it with the latest update. It’s getting public-transit maps for more than 20 cities, including NYC and London.

Still doesn't come anywhere near Google Maps as far as public-transit goes in my opinion.  Maybe I take the bus too much, but hey Apple is trying.

For the first time ever, users can plan a route that includes more than one mode of transportation. Maps will be integrated with Siri for easy voice search on-the-go. Users can also take advantage of the Nearby feature, which offers location-based suggestions.

4.  Trying again with news

Newsstand is officially dead. R.I.P. A few years ago, it was supposed to be a digital storefront for publishers. Unfortunately, it was a huge failure.

That’s okay, because Apple is trying again with an app called News. The app will learn your interests and deliver relevant content based on your preferences. It’s basically like Flipboard.

Maybe the second time will be the charm!

5.  Improvements for the iPad

The iPad is getting some much needed love with iOS 9. It’s awesome that we’re finally getting split screen multitasking, which lets you use two apps at once.

Picture-in-picture functionality will let you to watch videos while doing something else on the tablet at the same time.

Now you can get distracted from browsing flights to visit mom by watching Game Of Thrones PIP (crap).

The new Slide Over feature allows apps like iMessage to overlay on other apps. Task Switcher will now have full screen functionality.

The best thing about the new multitasking features is that they’ll automatically work if developers use Auto Layout. The ease of use should greatly increase adoption of this feature among developers.

Make sure to have your dev integrate Auto Layout to your iOS 9 updates so your users can enjoy your app while multitasking.

6.  Sensors for HomeKit

Apple Homekit iOS9

HomeKit now supports sensors, security systems, and window shades. Apple also announced that the popular Phillips Hue lights will get HomeKit support this fall. In fact, all the smart lights you already own will be HomeKit compatible.

The really exciting news is that developers will be able to use iCloud to offer remote access to iOS-connected accessories instead of their own servers. The new Home app will give users a visual view of their devices and let them manage all their HomeKit accessories in one place.

7.  Ditching ugly car wires

CarPlay is going wireless with iOS 9. It can now connect wirelessly to your car’s infotainment system via Bluetooth. No more auxiliary cables getting all tangled up in your car.

There will be different screens for for audio apps and car manufacturer apps. iOS 9 also includes deeper support for car control systems. Users will be able to use their car’s knobs and buttons to control CarPlay.

But will iOS 9 stop me from banging the dashboard when my device doesn't sync?  I hope so.

8.  Swift goes open source

Big news for developers is that Apple’s Swift programming language is going open source. This will give developers the opportunity to learn the nuances of the language and add new capabilities. Developers can dig into the source code, so there won’t be any surprises.

With Swift 2, Apple aims to make the app development process better than ever with improved debugging, error handing, and syntax. Developers will have the tools they need to prevent problems before they start. Swift 2 will also have a code compiler and new developer libraries for iOS, OS X, and Linux.

Pretty exciting stuff!!!

Which iOS 9 features are you most pumped about? Tell us about it in the comment section.

COMMENTS

  • Mark June 22, 2015

    Great post Melissa! I’ve just downloaded the San Francisco font which Apple is using for iOS 9. Why did they go with a new font? Maybe because SF is the most badass city in the world!

  • Kristjan July 23, 2015

    Hey!

    I didnt understand this part
    “For the first time ever, Siri will be open to any developer. The new API for in-app search in Siri will pretty much work like Google. It will let developers add deep link content and a back button to Siri search from within the app.

    What’s this mean for developers? NEW ASO!”

    why is siri search a new ASO?

    Thanks!

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