Apple announced an array of new features and updates to its Mac, IOS and Watch operating systems yesterday, in a two-hour long keynote that promoted its Apple Music rival to Spotify, forthcoming Beats 1 radio station (fans of Zane Lowe get excited), updates to Maps and a more intelligent Siri. iMore gives a succinct yet comprehensive picture roundup of what was announced, but here are some of the things I am most excited about:
1) Apple Pay UK: The ability to hop on a London bus or pay for a train by simply using an Apple Watch or iPhone. Just this morning, I struggled to hold my wallet and find my debit card to tap onto a card reader, whilst trying to ensure my coffee and iPhone didn’t fall onto the ground. It is a regular, sorry sight at all stations, where commuters queue up impatiently to touch in and touch out whilst fumbling with all their wares. One of my favourite coffee chains, Costa Coffee (they pay their taxes - looking at you Starbucks), will also partake in the new payment system, as well as 250,000 outlets that already provide contactless payment options. The day when we no longer need a wallet is not so far away.
2) iPad split screen: I love the new features that are coming to the iPad in IOS 9. The ability to work on two documents side by side and to swap in other apps to one of the window panes will make writing and researching so much easier.
3) Keyboard improvements in IOS 9: The enhanced keyboard features will make the whole writing process, whether constructing an email or filling in a form, so much more convenient. Using two fingers on the iPad keyboard will allow the owner to use it as a trackpad. No more tapping hopelessly at the screen to try and get the curser to where you want it. This could swing the pendulum back in favour of using a iPad over a Mac.
4) The "Proactive" feature in IOS 9 will prove far more useful that the current today widget. Swiping right from the home screen will bring up all kinds of context-aware information as Siri and iPhone learn your habits. I like the idea that, as I leave my house, my iPhone will know that I am likely to want to know transit times and show them to me without me having to type anything or open anything, and will also suggest a podcast or two as it knows I am likely to listen to those on my way to work.
5) Notes: Apple appears to have combined the simplicity of Drafts and the comprehensiveness of Evernote, and announced a note taking application that is far more useful (instant checklists, check) than what it currently offers.
6) Customizable complications: On the Apple Watch, I can decide the bits of information I would like to have on my watch face. Finding the latest football score would simply require a glance at my wrist. Nice.