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This article was published on August 14, 2015


iOS 9’s killer feature: it can read your mind

iOS 9’s killer feature: it can read your mind
Owen Williams
Story by

Owen Williams

Former TNW employee

Owen was a reporter for TNW based in Amsterdam, now a full-time freelance writer and consultant helping technology companies make their word Owen was a reporter for TNW based in Amsterdam, now a full-time freelance writer and consultant helping technology companies make their words friendlier. In his spare time he codes, writes newsletters and cycles around the city.

One of the coolest features in iOS 9 is one that you don’t really get to experience until you’ve been using it for a few weeks. Over time, it learns your habits and starts making suggestions about what to do next.

When Predictive Siri, which powers this feature, was first announced I didn’t think I’d use it much but I’ve been surprised by how often the recommendations have been right on point.

Take this morning, for example. Every day I ride my bike to work and jam out to Soundcloud playlists I’ve created. Usually, I open Spotlight on my phone, search for the app and open it.

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It’s kind of creepy that it knew what I want to do!

With iOS 9, I plug in my headphones and it suggests I might want to open Soundcloud immediately.

It gets even better, though. It also makes suggestions based on the types of apps you use at different times of day.

For example, when you wake up, it’ll suggest the app you use first every morning at the bottom of the multitasking screen.

Screen Shot 2015-08-14 at 11.12.19 AM
via Twitter

This can be anything from music, to your favorite news or social media app (Twitter, in my case).

Screen Shot 2015-08-14 at 11.14.24 AM
via Twitter

Most useful of all there’s also a location-based suggestion. I’ve only seen it a handful of times, but it suggests apps that are popular in a location or based on what you frequently use in a place.

For example, if you’re at work and use Twitter there a lot, it’ll pop up in your multitasking screen. If you’re at Disney World, it’ll suggest… the Disney World app.

Screen Shot 2015-08-14 at 11.20.49 AM
via Twitter

Those location recommendations are an incredibly cool feature that could turn out to be very useful, particularly if Apple starts using it to suggest apps you don’t have installed like it already does on your lock screen.

I’m excited about these contextual suggestions — Apple has managed to make the right app appear at the right time and it’s not annoying intrusive.

It only comes up when you go looking for something, which gets you to what you want to do faster. Using a combination of location, time and external factors (like plugging in headphones), Apple has removed a ton of friction in a very subtle way.

Siri Predictive is part of iOS 9, which is expected to launch in the fall.

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