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Apple prepping major new “Proactive” iOS 9 feature to take on Google Now

by Brandon Russell | May 27, 2015May 27, 2015 2:20 pm PDT

Much of Apple’s focus at WWDC will reportedly be on strengthening the security in iOS 9, but 9to5Mac has a big scoop that claims the company is working on a major new predictive intelligence feature.

Apple is allegedly going to introduce a new initiative currently code-named “Proactive,” and it sounds a lot like Google Now—maybe even more powerful. The system is being designed to leverage Siri, Contacts, Calendar, Passbook and third-party apps to proactively (get it?) provide information before users even ask for it. That could mean sports scores, weather, directions, etc. all showing up without a user querying the different apps and services.

9to5Mac says Proactive will be an entirely new layer within iOS, and possibly replace the Spotlight pulldown menu for a screen to the left of the Home screen (not unlike stock Android or where Apple used to hide universal search; it’s also something we’ve been asking for since 2013).  When you’re in the new service, users will be greeted with a dedicated search bar, along with information based around apps, contacts and maps.

“For example, if a user has a flight listed in her Calendar application and a boarding pass stored in Passbook, a bubble within the new Proactive screen will appear around flight time to provide quick access to the boarding pass,” 9to5Mac said.

Beyond deep Calendar integration, Proactive will also reportedly provide suggestions by learning your behavior. So if you call your mom every Monday when you get off work, Proactive will provide quick access to call her. If you typically browse Instagram when you wake up, Proactive will provide a button to access the app in the morning.

Other information expected to show up in the Proactive screen includes favorite contacts, along with meetings, Map directions and when to leave for an event based on traffic. So, yeah, it’s pretty much Google Now, but Apple’s version—something we’ve been patiently waiting for years now.

Finally, Apple is also reportedly working on something called “Breadcrumbs,” which 9to5Mac describes as a limited Siri API. Breadcrumbs is described as something similar to Google’s App Indexing feature, which has previously been available for Android, and was introduced to iOS on Wednesday. Apple eventually hopes to release a more powerful Siri API in the future, but is going with a measured approach to account for privacy concerns.

9to5Mac says Proactive is pretty far into development, though Apple is reportedly mum on a potential rollout. While it’s very possible the company will detail the new system at WWDC, some executives are apparently reluctant to reveal the new service because of how ambitious it is. Following Apple’s Maps debacle, the company will no doubt want to ensure Proactive is as close to 100-percent as possible before showing it off to consumers.

9to5Mac

Brandon Russell

Brandon Russell enjoys writing about technology and entertainment. When he's not watching Back to the Future, you can find him on a hike or watching...

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