Apple releases iOS 9, with smarter search and new multitasking features

It's a big software day for Apple.

The company is releasing iOS 9 for the iPhone, iPad and iPod Touch, and watchOS 2 for the Apple Watch

With iOS 9, Apple is promising faster performance, improved security and longer battery life (one additional hour before needing to charge). Other highlights:

Smarter Siri

Apple's voice-activated personal assistant can search a wider range of topics for a wider range of answers. It understands what you say more accurately and delivers your results faster. For instance, you can tell Siri to do things like, "Show me my photos from Yosemite in May."

Public transit on Maps

You can use a new Transit view that shows you lines and stations for subways, buses, trains and ferries right on the map. When you plan a route, every step of your trip is laid out from Point A to Point B. There's also a Nearby feature, so you can see what’s around you and decide on places to shop and eat.

Multitasking

Users will be able to do more and save time on their iPads with new productivity features including Slide Over, Split View and Picture in Picture. New QuickType features make formatting and text selection easier.

New emojis

For the nonverbal teen in all of us.

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iCloud Drive

The new iCloud Drive app lets you access any file you save to iCloud from just one place on your home screen. Search within the app and find the file you’re looking for. Browse all your files by date, name or any tags you added on your Mac. You can also preview and organize your files without leaving the app.

Apple Pay

Discover joins the lineup of credit cards accepted via Apple Pay. Soon you’ll be able to use store credit cards and add rewards cards to your Wallet app.

Intelligence

Your search screen is now pre-populated with contacts, apps, places nearby and more. Based on the apps you commonly use and the time of day you use them, you’ll get suggestions for what you might want to do next.

Notes

You can make a checklist of things to do in the Notes app, or add a photo, map or Web link to a note.

News

iOS 9 adds a new app, News, to your home screen. News puts all the stories in which you are interested in one place. Articles are pulled from a wide range of sources, from top news organizations to indie publications.

iOS 9 is available as a free over-the-air download for newer-generation mobile devices (the oldest iPhone that can run the operating system is the 4s).

Follow Andrea Chang on Twitter.

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