iOS 9 Review - Notes, News and Maps Review

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iOS 9 – Notes

Unlike

prior versions of iOS, iOS 9 doesn’t make any drastic changes to the

majority of the apps baked into your device. Phone, Safari, Camera,

Calendar and Weather are pretty much indistinguishable from their iOS 8

counterparts.

One app that has got a full-on, and frankly much

needed, transformation is Notes. As a combined Evernote and Wunderlist

user, Apple’s

Notes app has been mainly resigned to my chocked full ‘Apple Stuff’

folder for the past however many years. But the improvements in iOS 9

made me stick it back on my homescreen, for now at least.

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Whether

you’re on an iPhone or iPad, the app has gained a whole host of new

features. You can create handy to-do lists with tickable boxes,

bullet-point lead reminders and format text. They’re all fine, but other

apps – notably the ones I mentioned earlier – still do a better job.

Then

there’s the clearly iPad Pro positioned drawing features. For a stock

app, these are surprisingly detailed. You can choose between a pencil,

plus thick and thin markers and there’s a ruler that can be spun around

and positioned to different angles. Drawing with your finger is fine and

it’s great for doodling, but this has support for the Pencil written

all over it.

Photos can be added to Notes now – a nice touch –

and plucked directly from Safari through the Share extension. It works

best as a scrapbook, rather than a full-on organisation tool, but it’s

still a massive improvement over what came before.

Related: Is Apple News really a Flipboard killer?

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iOS 9 – News App

Even

though it was promised during the initial iOS 9 announcement, Apple’s

brand-new News app isn’t quite ready for a UK release yet. So unless

you’re in the US, or want to fiddle about with changing the region of

your device, you’ll have to wait until iOS 9.1 hits later in the year.

Saying

that, the app itself is far from essential. It’s your basic news

aggregator – select a few sources and topics you’re interested in and

it’ll pull all the relevant stories into a picture-lead, magazine style

interface.

Yes, there’s the typical Apple sheen laid on the top, but I

suggest sticking to Flipboard or Feedly if you want a more intelligent way to follow the news.

iOS 9 – Maps finally adds transit directions

There’s

a running theme with the new and updated apps in iOS 9. Apple has taken

something popular – say Evernote, Wunderlist, Flipboard etc – and

tried to create its own version on iOS 9.

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Maps is another example of

this. I’m not going to dwell on the app’s bumpy history, that’s been

done to death, but in iOS 9 it finally feels fit for purpose. It really

should have been like this from the start.

It’s smoother, faster

to load up directions and, most importantly, more accurate at showing

your current location. Search has been beefed up too, pulling in

addresses from emails and recently searched places so you can quickly

navigate to that cafe you arranged to go for breakfast without copying

and pasting it from Mail.

Transit directions are the biggest

feature this year, though. Being able to the include bus, tube and train

information in navigation has been a staple in Google Maps for years

and it is one of the main reasons I stick with Google’s solution.

ios9 screens 3

The

implementation is similar between the two apps. For instance you can

tap on the tube station to see upcoming trains – a handy touch – and

selecting ‘Transport’ when inputting your route will take into account

public transit.

Timing and routes are accurate and I really like the

detail Apple has gone to, to map individual entrances and exits from

stations.