WWDC iOS 9 Tim Cook

Apple’s WWDC keynote presentation has just ended, bringing a few great announcements for Apple fans and users. There were even some great changes for the iPad, bringing multi-tasking support and more.

Straight off, let me just say that iOS 9 is available starting now as a beta for developers. A public beta is scheduled for release some time in July and the full update for all iOS devices capable of running iOS 8 will arrive in the fall, and of course, it’s a free upgrade.

Let’s look at a few of the new and improved features of iOS 9 that we think will improve your experience on your iPad or other iOS device.

Siri and deep link API

WWDC iOS 9 siri contextual image search

Siri has seen a few improvements this go around, many new features will be familiar to Google and Android users. For starters you’ll find better facial and image recognition to make your images searchable contextually. Better natural speech recognition allows you to search for “images from my trip last June” or “directions to mom’s house.”

The new API allows developers to insert deep links into their apps, meaning you can perform a search through Siri that will open to a specific portion of an app. This allows for better sharing and linking functionality through Notes, email and more.

QuickType keyboard

WWDC iOS 9 QuickType keyboard

The new QuickType keyboard brings a few nifty tricks to your iPad experience. For starters, the top bar of the keyboard has turned into a selection of functional tools from copy/paste buttons to text formatting, for capable apps, that is.

Better yet, the QuickType keyboard actually doubles as a touchpad itself. While typing, use two fingers to start the touchpad function, allowing you to move the text cursor around text, or even to highlight a text block.

Multi-tasking through Slide Over

WWDC iOS 9 multi tasking

As a special treat for iPad users, iOS 9 brings true multi-tasking capabilities to the device via split screen functionality called Slide Over. Swipe in from the right edge to activate a re-sizable side by side window, complete with a simple vertical scrolling task switcher. Now you can keep the new and improved Notes running in a small right side window as you watch the game in the left hand window.

But wait, there’s more. On the topic of video, there is a new floating picture-in-picture video player. Move it around the screen, adjust the size to suite your needs, but keep that video playing over top of your other work. We must offer up a word of caution, however, as the full Split View experience is only available on the iPad Air 2.

One of the coolest looking features, but perhaps over-rated, is the ability for each app window to be individually and simultaneously touched. The ability to scroll through each up at the same time may not prove usable very often, but it certainly speaks to the multi-tasking capabilities of iOS 9.

Performance and Battery

WWDC iOS 9 power

We speak to no end about battery life on our mobile devices. Apple has taken this to heart with iOS 9, introducing a enhancements and a new Low Power mode that combined could bring you an additional 4 hours of life on your average iOS device.

Performance improvements in iOS 9 account for an expected additional 1 hour of battery life over iOS 8. From there, Low Power mode turns off “switches you didn’t even know existed” to save another 3 hours.

Install size

For those keeping track of their internal storage usage, you may have noticed that iOS 8 eats up about 4.6GB of space. This doesn’t sound too bad, until you compare it to iOS 9. Moving forward, iOS 9 will consume just 1.3GB of internal storage on your iPad, leaving you a ton more space for all your photos and music.

iOS 9 Availability

WWDC iOS 9 dev beta

As mentioned above, iOS 9 is available starting right away as a beta release for developers. Apple is braving the industry and releasing a public beta sometime in July, a first for iOS releases. Finally, the full update will head to devices for free later this fall. No specific time frame provided.

Will your device get iOS 9? Apple says all iOS 8 capable devices will receive the update, but here is the full supported device list to be sure.

  • iPad 2
  • iPad 3rd gen
  • iPad 4th gen
  • iPad Air
  • iPad Air 2
  • iPad Mini
  • iPad Mini 2
  • iPad Mini 3
  • iPad Touch 5th gen
  • All iPhones from the 4s and newer

WWDC iOS 9 availability

If you are interested in getting involved with the beta, head on over to beta.apple.com to get your copy of iOS 9.

Stay tuned, we’ll have more coverage of WWDC and iOS 9 news and features coming soon.