The most unexciting features of iOS 9 and watchOS 2

You come here for the intermittent Apple punditry and the Doctor Who reviews, and since Who doesn’t return until Sunday, I guess we’re doing Apple. iOS 9 and watchOS 2 come out on Thursday morning if you’re in Australian time, but I’ve got them already because I’m very impatient.

So, here are the most trivial features of the new OSes–the ones that appeal to me the most. I won’t be mentioning the new two-finger-cursor control on the iPad, because it’s listed on the features page and is therefore too high-profile. But it is awesome.

Siri’s accent is separated from your language preferences

Robots should be British (not that Siri is a robot). Now, she can be, without making her expect you to sound British. Which as we know, can be very difficult for super-ocker people like me.

Activities you log through other apps now turn up in your activity ring

Say you like to go swimming, but you don’t have the guts to take your watch swimming. Now you can use handy apps like Speedo Fit to log your swim and get some respect from the pesky rings on your watch. [Edit: Oh no, you can’t. Someone on the internet lied to me and I wanted to believe. Apparently only watch apps can add activities… and only ones of the same type as the ones in the general activity app.] They’re judging me. Even now, they are judging me. I was only sitting down for a moment! Honest!

Actually, now you get an option to tell your watch to fuck off for a day and stop going on about standing up, if you want. It remains to be seen if they’ve decided that the ‘you should stand up’ notification should obey the 'do not disturb’ setting, like a good notification should.

Notifications on your lock screen that you haven’t dismissed stay on your lock screen until you do

You know how it was. Something pings just as you’re unlocking your phone, and it’s gone before you see what it was. If it was a reminder, you’re probably going to forget it. If it’s not also in your notification centre, then it’s gone forever.

Well, not any more.

For each one of these, I keep being tempted to make a lame “long national nightmare” joke. I don’t know if I can keep up my resistance.

Pressing the home button on your watch when you’re on the app screen takes you all the way back to the clock face, no matter where you’ve scrolled to

I cannot believe this was ever not the case. Well, okay, that’s hyperbole, but it was a very silly idea.

Tony Abbott is no longer Prime Minister of Australia

Not technically a feature of iOS 9 or watchOS 2, but pretty exciting nonetheless.

Quick website searches in Safari

One of my favourite features in desktop Chrome is how it accumulates website searches you’ve used and allows you to quickly launch them again. Such an awesome evolution of the classic Firefox model where you collect a bunch of drop-down searches and never bother to use any of them.

Oh god, Firefox is still doing that? It’s called copying features, Firefox, get on it. Or if you find that tricky, copy someone.

Anyhow, desktop Safari copied Chrome, and now mobile Safari has got the goodness, too. It seems to just involve typing enough letters of the website name to feel sure you know which one it’s talking about, then typing your search after that, and getting the website search to turn up as one of your options.

The little ‘you should launch this app’ interface has a much better UI

Used to be you had to swipe to the left from the multi-tasker to get to this, which you’d rarely remember to do. Now, it’s a handy little bar at the bottom of the app-switching screen, with even handier explanations of why you’re seeing that app info.

Because of this UI, I now know that I’m receiving a little prompt to play Duolingo when I’m at Richmond station because of “my location”. Huh. I guess I already knew that. It still doesn’t make sense to me.

If you swipe up to force quit more than three apps in a row, Siri starts verbally abusing you

Well, sadly, it doesn’t. But it should. STOP DOING THIS, PEOPLE. They quit themselves! And if you force quit an app and launch it again, that takes more battery, not less. Argh!

These probably should have been numbered, shouldn’t they? Then it could have been a listicle. See, I know how the cool kids are blogging these days. Do they still call it blogging? Whatever it is.

Tom Charman Mastodon