iOS 9 tidbits: Force Touch support, updated keyboard designs, iMessage enhancements & more

Themeboard 1.0 for iOS (teaser 001)

iOS 9, the next major iteration of Apple’s mobile operating system powering the iPhone, iPod touch and iPad, reportedly has built-in support for Force Touch technology which debuted on the Apple Watch, suggesting the possibility of pressure-sensitive screens on the next iPhone and iPad.

According to a new report by 9to5Mac, the operating system also features support for Apple Pay in Canada, has improved software keyboard with new designs and enhances iMessage by enabling read receipts for group chat threads and on a per-contact basis.

Revamped QuickType keyboard
An updated keyboard for iOS 9 should have new designs, the rumor has it. One particular variant of the keyboard is said to be slightly longer and include new editing controls in portrait.

iOS 8 QuickType (teaser 001)

Furthermore, Apple’s QuickType keyboard (depicted above) should be more accessible throughout the system than it is on iOS 8. Another minor change includes a redesign of iOS 8’s Shift key so that it is “easier to tell when shift or caps lock is activated.”

Force Touch support

With a flurry of reports indicating that the next iPhone will adopt pressure-sensing Force Touch technology with haptic feedback, it’s reasonable to assume that iOS 9 would need to introduce support for Force Touch and expose APIs to bring this functionality to third-party apps.

“Apple has designed iOS 9 to be Force Touch-ready and is working to let developers integrate Force Touch into App Store apps,” confirms the report.

The forthcoming iPhones reportedly use contextual menus activated by pressing the screen firmly, which let Apple engineers “clear up some control space across the system” and potentially replace some long press-and-hold button interactions.

Apple Watch Force Touch

In Apple Maps, Force Touch will let you drop new pins. In Calendar, Force Touch will add new events. In the iOS media player, force-pressing the playback controls will fast-forward the video, much like the Force Touch trackpad on the new Mac notebooks does.

Sources who have used the feature on prototype versions of an iPhone 6s told 9to5Mac that Force Touch will be used across the system for quickly looking up word definitions.

iOS 9’s Force Touch support reportedly extends to iPads, too.

As an aside, back in February 2015 AppleInsider said the Cupertino firm had experimented with putting Force Touch in the iPhone 6 last year, but “calibration” issues prompted them to pull the feature from the device during its development cycle.

Apple Pay in Canada

iOS 9‘s Passbook application reportedly includes the necessary foundation to support banks, credit/debit cards and credit unions in Canada. This doesn’t come as a surprise given recent reports saying Canada will become the first country outside of the United States to officially support Apple Pay.

VISA Apple Pay teaser

iMessage enhancements
The story claims that iMessage in iOS 9 has received minor enhancements, including read receipts for group chat threads and on a contact-by-contact basis The latter should make it easy to enable read receipts only for certain contacts.

Delivered iMessage

Lastly, the report says new data types are coming to Health in iOS 9 and claims Apple will remove Game Center from users’ Home screens as any features of that app should be fully accessible through Game Center-enabled apps and games.

“Apple is also expanding its iTunes Radio and Apple Music rollouts this year internationally,” the report adds.

Picture top of post: ThemeBoard keyboard for iPhone.

Source: 9to5Mac