iOS 9

Apple reportedly plans to make iOS 9 more ‘Proactive’

Siri is great but its not quite as intuitively helpful as the Google Now feature on Android devices. A report from 9to5Mac, however, suggests that Apple will introduce a new feature in iOS 9 called “Proactive” that will challenge Google Now head-to-head.

According to sources, Proactive will integrate with Siri, and native and third party apps to provide timely information to users without compromising privacy. Apple’s newest venture is a natural progression from the Spotlight search feature in iOS and performs better than Siri in data integration.

Proactive will create alerts and display information based on the user’s data and device usage patterns. Using an enhanced reality interface and “Breadcrumbs,” Proactive will also work with Apple’s Maps application to display points of interest to the user.

But, can it further damage Google Now’s position in the market after the blow from iOS 8’s introduction, last fall? Let’s have a look.

Enhanced Search Functionality

Proactive tasted its first success with the display of Wikipedia search results with the help of iOS 8 in Spotlight. The goal was to reduce search dependency on Google and it worked.

Now with the introduction of iOS 9 at the upcoming Worldwide Developers Conference, Proactive is expected to be included in this version of the mobile operating system as a new layer. It will replace the Spotlight menu presently positioned above the home screen.

Apple’s usage metrics suggested Spotlight’s position was not strategic and because of lower visibility it was rarely used. However, adding the icon to the left of the home screen should encourage regular use.

Proactive will put more emphasis on displaying reliable news results when users search for news on current topics and personalities.

Automatic Scheduling and Reminders

Just below the search bar, there will be a significant addition to the user interface, which will show content from Apps, Contacts, and Maps. For example, if you are flying somewhere today and your boarding pass is already stored in Passbook you will receive an instant notification around your scheduled flight time that will give you access to your boarding pass.

If you set a reminder for a meeting Proactive will notify you about the specifics such as the estimated arrival and approximate journey times, directions, and the best time for you to leave for your destination. A push notification can also be triggered for appointments stored in the Calendar.

Think of it as an automated digital assistant that works without your involvement and will keep you on track with your activities everyday. For example, if you call your parents every Tuesday at 5 pm, or if you log into your Facebook account at 9 am you’ll be reminded to do so automatically.

Better-Informed Maps

Apple is overhauling its Points of Interest (POI) system for the new Maps application. The new system offers an augmented reality view that displays all the local listings around your location. If you point your iPhone at a particular street that you’re on, Maps will display all the major businesses and hotspots on that street in AR view.

According to sources, Kim Vorrath, the Vice President of Product Management for iOS and OS X, was reluctant to launch the Proactive initiative because of how ambitious the project is. Apple wants to take things forward slowly to ensure that iOS users get their hands on a high-quality service which is updated gradually with new functionality and features.

However, do you want to wait for the full feature set that Proactive offers? Does this seem like a valuable addition to make iOS more useful? Please share your opinion below.

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