iPhone 6s is here and Apple says the only thing that’s changed is everything. Even the case, though it looks the same, has changed to a different grade of aluminum, different glass, and a few hairs thicker. But it runs iOS 9, the same as my iPhone 6 Plus. Here is my top 10 list of iOS 9’s best new features.
Notes – It’s a poor man’s word processor now, and OS X’s Notes will get a similar upgrade soon, but this one is packed with cool features that go beyond a to-do list, including photos, maps website URLs, and text formatting.
Keyboard – Goodbye caps everywhere, hello upper and lowercase when you expect it. The built-in tools on top the keyboard are a nice touch, too.
Safari – Not only does Safari search faster, the option to add ad-blockers means the web is a much faster place to navigate today than it was last month. Much faster.
Selfies – Photos has albums and sections for panorama photos, videos, etc. Now it’s got one for Selfies. Ask Siri to show you the Selfies.
Maps – Yes, Apple’s version of Maps is the most used on iOS devices, but I find it easy to track down errors (and I report them; I should get an iPhone discount), but now it has public transit settings and multimodal trips; walk, bus, train, car.
Back Buttons – What took them so long. Back buttons are so obvious. So are, well, navigation aids that look like buttons instead of just words. Sometimes Apple’s UI teams gets all caught up in themselves.
Siri – Apple’s personal assistant still isn’t on the Mac, but she’s (or, he’s) better than ever; faster, still snarky at times, but able to do more, too (Siri, show me photos of my wife).
App Switching – This took a few tries to get used to but it’s much easier than I though. Think carousel view comes to iPhone.
Battery – Low battery warnings have been around for years but iOS 9 has an option for you to switch to low power mode.
Icons – Maybe Jonny Ive and his team have seen the light. Many iOS 9 sliders reveal both words and icons; Delete, for example, often comes with a Trash can. That kind of thing. Now all Apple needs to do is improve the apps launcher on Watch so we can read what the app icon means.
Overall, iOS 9 counts as a most worthy upgrade, and reports indicate that more than half of all iOS devices still running have upgraded to the latest. That’s remarkable, made all the more so because my iPhone 6 Plus runs a bit slower that it did in iOS 8.