The Week in Mobile: June 7-13, 2015


Apple announces iOS 9, Google to launch Location Aware Search and more

Each week we round up the top news stories, think pieces and other content that centers on the fast-paced, quickly changing world of mobile technology. We tell you which companies are employing clever mobile strategies, illuminate new ways of thinking about mobile and offer a peek at meaningful trends in the industry. This content is designed to inspire you and your company to take advantage of the many benefits mobile can offer.

Apple Announces iOS 9

Keeping with tradition, Apple announced iOS 9 during WWDC last week. The new operating system is expected to launch in September and will come with a number new features. Here’s a roundup of what’s new:

  • Work in two apps at once: New SplitView and SlideOver features will allow users to work in two apps at the same time, side by side.
  • Siri gets a facelift: In an attempt to compete with Google Now, Siri will have a new feature called “Proactive,” which allows for smarter querying and better use of context (where a user is and what they are doing) for more convenient experiences.
  • Spotlight to search within apps: Deep linking will connect third-party apps with Spotlight making the app content discoverable through native iOS search. For example, a user will be able to search for a restaurant in Spotlight and be directed via deep linking to the Yelp app results.
  • Maps updated with Transit: Apple’s Maps app will now have transit directions. This feature will be limited to a few select cities, but Apple plans to roll it out to additional locations in the future.
  • Passbook app gets a new name and new features: As part of a series of new features slated for Apple Pay, Passbook has been renamed “Wallet” and will allow users to store rewards cards within the app.
  • In addition to the major iOS 9 news, Apple announced that developers will be able to create native Apple Watch apps that don’t need an iPhone connection. The company also announced they will open source Swift 2 to further stoke adoption and advancement of the new programming language.

    Are Apps for Apple TV on the Horizon? Increase in Test Device Limits Suggest Yes

    Apple has increased test limits for developers to 500 individual devices, with each platform receiving 100 device slots. That means developers can now register 100 devices in order to test on iPhone, iPod touch, Apple Watch and even Apple TV—suggesting that, Apple may be planning to open its TV platform to third-party apps.

    Google Introduces Location-Aware Search

    Google demonstrated a new Location Aware Search capability, which gives users location-specific answers to their questions. The feature uses speech recognition and location awareness to answer users based on context. For example, a user can ask “How long is this river?” and Google will respond with the length of the nearest river. Similarly, a user may say, “Call this restaurant,” and Google will call the nearest restaurant. The new capability has already been rolled out to select devices and is expected to release in the coming months.

    Facebook Messenger Platform Adds Games

    In an attempt to broaden the Messenger platform, Facebook has added its first ever Messenger game. The new game, called “Doodle Draw,” allows users to play virtual pictionary without leaving the app. Social games embedded into Messenger could keep users coming back to the app on a more regular basis, act as a natural addition to chat threads and help lengthen time spent within the app.