Pixel Envy

Written by Nick Heer.

Proactive

Mark Gurman has been strategically drip-feeding all sorts of juicy iOS 9 rumours over the past couple of weeks, but this is the first one that’s really caught my attention:

After several years of quiet development, Apple is readying a major new iOS initiative codenamed “Proactive,” which will leverage Siri, Contacts, Calendar, Passbook, and third-party apps to create a viable competitor to Google Now for Android devices. Like Google Now, Proactive will automatically provide timely information based on the user’s data and device usage patterns, but will respect the user’s privacy preferences, according to sources familiar with Apple’s plans.

As an evolution of iOS’s Spotlight search feature, Proactive is the fruit of a long-term initiative that involved the acquisition of small app developers, and integration of core iOS apps. It will also work with Apple’s Maps application to display personally relevant points of interest using an augmented reality interface, and integrate with a third-party Siri API codenamed “Breadcrumbs”.

Google Now is perhaps the most impressive feature of Android. Its ability to weave together disparate pieces of data in an attempt to predict what information a user needs immediately is, so far, unparalleled on any platform. It’s a feature I’ve wanted on iOS, and it looks like my wishes might come true this year.

This is another in a series of improvements to iOS that indicates that Apple is becoming more comfortable with a more personalized iOS. Apple may have reduced the amount of character of the visual interface with iOS 7, and they may have issues with jailbreakers trying to customize their devices, but they’re increasing the amount of personalization that can be generated with deep data integration.

Judging by this rumour — and Gurman’s others — and the heavily-redacted schedule, this is going to be a very impressive WWDC.