Apple held its yearly Worldwide Developers Conference Monday, teasing out future developments for its apps, programs and operating systems. (Apple fans have to wait until the fall for fancy new hardware updates.)
Among the biggest news of the conference was all of the upcoming updates to iOS, the mobile operating system that comes with the iPhone and iPad. The next version, iOS 9, is available to the public in July, and it’ll have some significant features that change the way you use your smartphone. Here are the biggest updates.
Using only one app at a time is a thing of the past. In iOS 9, you’ll be able to double-tap your home button, pull up a split screen and use two apps side-by-side.
And while watching video, if you need to take a notification, you’ll be able to watch it picture-in-picture:
Considering that more people are using iPads and other tablets for serious work when paired with a small keyboard — and that there are rumors of a larger, 12-inch iPad on the way — multitasking makes iOS more viable as a replacement for a netbook or small laptop.
2. A smarter Siri, finally
Like many things Android managed to beat Apple to, the new iOS 9 now has a program called the Proactive Assistant. It’s like a super-smart Siri, or Apple’s version of Google Now.
In iOS 9, Proactive will do things like look into your email for invitations to events, put it into your calendar and tell you when to leave to make it there on time. It detects incoming calls from numbers you haven’t saved, then checks it against your email inbox to see if it knows who’s calling.
According to Apple, Siri’s “word error rate” is only 5%, which we can hardly believe, because Siri never seems to understand what we’re asking her, ever.