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Apple opens iOS 9 public beta, next-gen software out in the wild

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Apple has, as expected, released the first public beta version of its iOS 9 operating system.

Alongside the arrival of the Mac OS X El Capitan public beta earlier on Thursday, Apple is giving iPhone, iPad and iPod touch owners the chance to get in on the next-gen action too.

All three previous versions of the iOS 9 beta had been limited to developers, with the last arriving on Wednesday.

Now anyone with an compatible iOS device can take the software for a spin via Apple’s Beta Software Program. Existing members of the program can download the software right away, while newbies will need to sign up soon.

Related: Apple iOS 9 features

Those users eager to test the OS and help Apple rid it of bugs ahead of the expected autumn launch will be see a improved Siri, thanks to the Google Now-like Proactive assistant.

There’s also deep app searching directly from the Spotlight screen, allowing users to search for information within third-party apps on the iPhone and iPad.

There’s also a News app, which will aggregate content from the reader’s favourite news sources, while the system-wide default text font will switch to the San Francisco typeface designed for the Apple Watch.

There’s a new Notes app, Passbook will become Wallet, public transit information will appear within Apple Maps and there'll also be a new low-power mode that promises to keep the device running for up to three additional hours. iPad owners will also be able to benefit from split-screen multitasking for the first time.

Not all of these crisp new features will be immediately available within the public beta, but those testing the software can expect more of them to arrive as we move closer to launch.

Have you downloaded the news iOS 9 public beta yet? Share your thoughts in the comments below.

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