iOS 9 arrives today with proactive features and iPad multitasking

iPhone and iPad owners, rejoice: a new iOS version arrives today. iOS 9 will begin rolling out to a wide range of devices starting at 10 AM PT, according to a tweet on the semi-official Apple Support Twitter account. Apple had previously announced that iOS 9 would be released today during its fall event last week.

We first learned of what was to come in iOS 9 back at WWDC. Here's a brief recap. Apple has added proactive features to the OS that track how you use your device, which are then used to cue up the right information, apps, or entertainment at the right time and place. Siri also gets more intelligent: developers can integrate the virtual assistant into their apps to provide broader, more informative search results. All of these features are similar to Google's Now service, but they're welcome additions for iOS users.

The biggest changes in iOS 9 are for the biggest iOS devices: iPads. Compatible iPads gain up to three multitasking views. The first, called Slide Over, allows apps like Twitter or Mail to be pulled in from the side of the screen for a quick tweet or reply. Once that task is complete, that app can be dismissed, and Slide Over returns users to their previous app.

Picture-in-picture view does exactly what it says: videos and FaceTime calls run in a thumbnailed window at the corner of the screen. Finally, iPad Air 2s and iPad Pros running iOS 9 take multitasking a step further with a split-screen view that lets two apps run side-by-side.

As with any iOS update, Apple has also made a vast swath of minor tweaks and changes that are supposed to improve performance, stretch battery life, and enhance security. iOS 9 is compatible with iPhones from the nearly four-year-old iPhone 4S forward, and iPads from the iPad 2 onward (although many features will be disabled on those older devices—check out Ars Technica's in-depth review for details).

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