iOS 9 rumor roundup: Everything we know about Apple’s next major iOS update

BY Kelly Hodgkins

Published 4 Jun 2015

iOS 9 Concept

Apple is holding its annual developer’s conference next week at the Moscone West convention center in San Francisco, California. The 5-day conference will kick off with a keynote on June 8th where Apple is expected to announce iOS 9 and unveil the mobile operating system’s most important features.

iOS 9, codenamed Monarch, is expected to be mostly a quality-focused build that refines and optimizes iOS, but that doesn’t mean it’s going to be a “ho-hum” update. Read on to find out what exciting new features we expect to see in iOS 9 from Apple next week.

“Proactive” Assistant

The most important new feature in iOS 9 may be Proactive, a Spotlight replacement that pulls content from a variety of sources including third-party apps, contacts, calendar, maps and more.  More than a virtual assistant, Proactive is rumored to be a contextually-aware management feature that learns your behavior and provides pertinent information as you need it. For example, the service may alert to leave early for work because it detected heavy traffic on your daily commuting route. Much of the technology for this assistant was acquired when Apple purchased personal assistant app Cue in 2014. It is being dubbed as the true rival to Google’s digital assistant, Google Now.

Transit Maps

iOS 9 Transit Maps
Maps may also see some improvements, most notably the addition of transit information, an augmented reality view and new “Browse Around Me” POIs feature. The transit information may feature schedule and route information for bus train and other forms of public transportation from a few select cities worldwide. This transit data may be added to the routing screen and available as a selectable Map option.

Points of Interest information also may be overhauled in iOS 9 with a new Augmented Reality option that allows users to point their camera at a location and view information about that establishment. Apple also may include a “Browse Around Me” feature that shows local POIs on an overhead map.

Split-Screen Multitasking

iOS 8 Split-screen Multitasking
As previously rumored, split-screen multitasking may finally land on the iPad. This feature would allow an iPad owner to run two apps at the same time with each app sharing a portion of the screen. This layout makes it possible to watch a video while browsing the web or reply to an email while reading the news.

Apple will reportedly allow users to split the screen in several ways: 1/2, 1/3 and 2/3, all depending on which app they are using and how they want to use them. Apple will also allow users to not only use two apps at the same time, but also let some apps have multiple views at the same time. This could work for Twitter clients, for example, with one screen showing the main Timeline, while another shows Mentions or DMs.

San Francisco Font

Apple debuted the new San Francisco Watch font with the Apple Watch and is expected to extend the font throughout its mobile and desktop operating systems. The font is known for its readability on small screens and will replace Apple’s standard Helvetica Neue font, which is currently used in iOS 8.


According to circulating rumors, Siri is supposed to get a facelift that would bring Apple Watch’s colorful version of Siri to the iPhone and iPad. Apple also may open up Siri to third-party apps via an API, allowing users to access Siri’s vocal commands to parse data and interact with third-party apps.


Announced last year, HomeKit may come to fruition in iOS 9 with the new Home app. The Home app will be the central repository for all HomeKit related functions and may connect to the Apple, which was rumored to the main hardware hub for these connected devices. Besides detecting and connecting HomeKite devices, the app also will allow a user to manage and possibly even configure their HomeKit enabled devices.

Force Touch Support

Force Touch iPhone 6 and 6 Plus
The iPhone 6s and 6s Plus are rumored to ship with a Force Touch enabled screen similar to the Apple Watch. Apple’s Force Touch technology can distinguish between a light tap and a long press, responding differently based on the type of input. iOS 9 is expected to incorporate programming that’ll allow apps and users to utilize this new form of interaction.

Other Minor Improvements

Other apps and services targeted for improvement include Apple Pay, which may receive an awards program that rewards users for using Apple Pay for their purchases. Apple also may add useful such as improved read receipts for individual and group conversations, an improved keyboard with an improved way of displaying shift or caps lock. Another feature possibly coming to iOS 9 is deep linking, which could make it easier to access separate apps from a link provided in another app. Another significant iPad feature that Apple is working on is multi-user support, but Apple may not announce it next week. Lastly, Apple may include many bug fixes, performance improvements, and security enhancements to help iOS run smoother and faster than ever.

iOS 9 Release date

We expect Apple to seed iOS 9 beta to developers immediately after Monday’s Keynote, followed by a final release in September.

Are you excited about these iOS 9 features? What’s on your iOS 9 wish list? Let us know in the comments and join us next week for non-stop coverage of the event as it happens.