When iOS 9 Beta was released, it was clear that Apple is making iOS search lot more powerful. With this release of the operating system, Apple added all kinds of new content to the iOS search. Previously, users were able to find content including their applications, contacts and messages.
With iOS 9, users can now discover a whole lot more. This is because Apple lets apps to be indexed and their data to be available in iOS search. With this new release, Apple added the ability to discover nearby brick-and-mortar stores. Users can swipe all the way to the left on their screen and discover suggestions including restaurants, bars, shops and gas stations. The gas station data — like data for other merchant types — comes from Yelp. When users tap on “Gas” for instance, Apple Maps opens and shows a map with a list of stations that includes the merchant name, its location and distance, reviews, as well the station image.
This is very similar to apps like the Ignite Media’s mobile app that’s rebranded for our various partners in the app stores. However, there are some features that Apple is still missing such as prices and amenities. While drivers often need to find a closest gas station, they sometimes look for the one that’s least expensive within a certain radius. Likewise, they may need to find one that’s open 24-hours or has a car wash. This is where specialized apps like ours can help enhance driver experience beyond what Apple already provides and allow (particularly) fleet drivers with a way to find the right stations and save money on gas.
I am so excited that Apple is now allowing app content to be indexed and lets software developers like us to further enhance user experience. I cannot wait for our future app releases to include some of these new capabilities added to iOS 9.