When Apple unveiled iOS 9 earlier this month, it made it clear that your iPhone is about to get a lot smarter.
Siri will be able to communicate with apps so that it can offer relevant information before you ask for it. You’ll be able to search for anything on your iPhone — even content from within your apps — through the iPhone’s search bar.
But Apple is going one step further by actually predicting which apps you want to use.
Starting this fall, your iPhone is going to be able to actually learn about your habits.The update will come with a new feature that prompts your iPhone to launch a specific app in response to a trigger.
So, for instance, if it’s 7:30 am in the morning and you’re on your way to work, an app like Spotify or Apple Music would launch once you plug in your headphones. Plugging in your headphones at that specific time tells your iPhone that you’re probably looking to listen to music during your morning commute.
Alternatively, plugging in your headphones at night before you go to bed might tell your iPhone or iPad that you’re about to watch some TV before going to sleep, so it might launch Netflix instead.
There’s no way to customise which apps launch in response to certain triggers, but the feature itself will be optional.
It’s a small addition, but one that sounds like it could make your iPhone even easier to use if it works well. It shows that Apple is trying to improve the overall experience of how you actually use apps rather than just adding new features.
The analysts at Jeffries have noted this recently, too. Both iOS and Android both have ~1m apps in their respective app stores. So, coming up with new ways to switch between those apps and access them more quickly is increasingly important.
Similar features have existed in Android for quite some time. For example, Android owners have the option of downloading a launcher — i.e. a homescreen replacement — such as Aviate that serves up the apps it thinks you will use at certain times during the day.
The key is to see how well this feature actually works. If Apple automatically opens apps I don’t want to use when I plug in my headphones, it’s going to be more of a nuisance than an aid. But if it works well, it could make using your iPhone that much more simple.