iOS 8 on iPhone 6
Google Now has become an indispensable part of the Android experience for many users, and its context-based alerts have offered something that Apple couldn't replicate with iOS. But that's about to change, according to a report.
Continuing its recent barrage of reported iOS 9 leaks, 9to5Mac claims that Apple is preparing to introduce a new system called Proactive, which will be built into the next iPhone and iPad operating system. Proactive does exactly what it claims: gets you useful information automatically without you having to ask for it.
In other words, it's meant to be like Google Now, only for your iPhone. Proactive works with Siri, Calendar, Passbook, Contacts, and other apps to deliver context-sensitive prompts based on aspects like location and data usage. It's reportedly built from the remains of an app called Cue that Apple acquired back in 2013.
The report suggests that Proactive - which replaces Spotlight - will be found on the far left of your home screen listing (much like Google Now on many phones), although it may also be accessed via pulldown (like Spotlight). It'll have a search bar up top, followed by content pulled from your apps, contacts, and maps based on the situation.
You might see a map related to an appointment on your calendar, for example, or a boarding pass from Passbook when applicable. If you usually start your day by pulling up a certain app, Proactive might toss a prompt in there, or a weekly call to your parents could be suggested at the appropriate time. Those are some of the examples noted by 9to5Mac, but surely it's the tip of the iceberg.
Somewhat related to Proactive, the report claims that Apple Maps will also introduce an updated augmented reality Points of Interest interface, which can help you find intriguing places in the world around you. It'll also let you explore menus or details on nearby locations right from Maps. Unsurprisingly, places that support Apple Pay may get a special focus in this interface.
The report notes that the Proactive name isn't necessarily how it'll be branded to the public, nor will it necessarily be rolled out as one big service. Instead, it could be presented as updates to the various existing apps and services.
And the functionality could well skip WWDC 2015 and iOS 9 if Apple higher-ups deem it not ready for release, given the rest of the OS' purported focus on stability and performance. If it is coming, we should know very soon - Apple's WWDC keynote is on 8 June.