The Impact of iOS 9 on User Searches

Posted 8/7/2015 8:59:27 AM by RICHARD HARRIS, Executive Editor

The Impact of iOS 9 on User Searches
I recently discussed the impact of iOS 9 on how users will find and consume information with Richard Forsythe, the co-founder and CTO of NoteStream, a mobile learning app that encourages personal growth and exploration through the presentation of enriching content in snackable form written by expert contributors on a wide range of topics. 

NoteStream was launched in 2014 by Michelle and Richard Forsythe who wanted to learn more about French wine but were underwhelmed with their options to do so. They decided to create a mobile solution where anyone could acquire credible information in the scattered moments of “dead time” found throughout the modern mobile lifestyle. Unlimited NoteStreams can be saved in a personal file box, are automatically picked up where the reader leaves off, and are easily shared.

ADM: What impacts for developers do you see with iOS 9

NoteStream: Many exciting enhancements contained in iOS 9 have been reported elsewhere. But one major change has not been highlighted widely: this is the change Apple is making to the way search will work on mobile – whether the user searches using Siri, Spotlight, or Safari.

ADM: How will this change to search affect iPhone users?

NoteStream: Fundamentally, Apple is trying to prioritize search results that can be viewed with an app over results that need to be viewed with a web browser. This actually makes sense; many web-based page results are not readable on a mobile phone. Apple is trying to improve the search experience for its users.

ADM: Is iOS 9 just searching the apps the user has installed?

NoteStream: No! That’s what’s exciting for app developers. The new search prioritizes results that can be viewed using an app - even if the user has not installed it. In their launch event, Apple demonstrated a search for “potato”. It showed some recipes from the Yummly app before any web-based search results. If the user clicks on a recipe, they are given the opportunity to install the app and access the content.

ADM: What does iOS 9 mean for writers and bloggers who have content online?

NoteStream: Any content that is not in an app somewhere will be harder for mobile users to find via search. And for the app to appear in search, it also has to be updated specially for the new search engine - it won’t happen automatically. Finally, the real power of this search function will only be available to content that is mirrored on both the web and the app; if your web page doesn’t point to the exact same content in-app, your search profile will be limited.

ADM: How will this affect SEO?

NoteStream: SEO has traditionally been focused on Google and their web page-ranking algorithms (with other options, such as Bing, in the mix). Apple has not had a “search engine” before now. But with around 25 percent of all search coming from Apple mobile devices and growing fast, “Apple Mobile Search Optimization” (“AMSO”) suddenly becomes an issue that is quite different from SEO and can’t be ignored.

ADM: How will NoteStream contributors benefit from iOS 9?

NoteStream: NoteStream was founded on the principle that an app was the only way to deliver longer articles in a way that could be read on a mobile device; mobile-responsive websites just weren’t good enough to engage readers. Clearly, Apple agrees, and they have shifted the playing field very firmly in this direction. NoteStream will be updated to comply with the iOS 9 search requirements, and those benefits will accrue to all content on the platform.

ADM: What kind of proactive adjustments is NoteStream making before the update?

NoteStream: The NoteStream app was already compliant with many of the requirements, such as “deep linking”. The few remaining items - which have only just been published - will be implemented in time for the release of iOS 9. It’s a great illustration of the benefits that come from using a platform app like NoteStream over a custom-developed app that would now need expensive enhancements just to stay “in the race”.

ADM: How can authors contribute their content to NoteStream?

NoteStream: Interested authors should email If their content is suitable for publication on NoteStream, they will receive an Author Profile form to start the on-boarding process. As a platform, we merely distribute content and fully attribute it to the author and/or publisher.

ADM: What other benefits will authors gain from using NoteStream?

NoteStream: Apart from making long-form content easier to read on mobile, readers can follow their favorite authors and receive notifications when new articles are published. We also make it easy for people to find new content on related topics. It’s a mobile-first community of engaged readers. 

Editors Note: Richard W. Forsythe is the Co-Founder and the Chief Technology Officer of NoteStream. Mr. Forsythe started his career as a Lecturer and Trainer for Microsoft products including Excel and SQL Server, and has over 20+ years experience in the software industry, covering software development, product management and global strategy. All of these roles have helped prepare him for the creation and launch of NoteStream, an innovative, user-friendly app that presents compelling content on a wide range of topics in sequential, snackable form written by industry experts.
Born and raised in England, Mr. Forsythe holds a Bachelor of Arts and a Master of Arts in Mathematics and Computation from Oxford University and a Master of Business Administration from Edinburgh Business School.  

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About the author: RICHARD HARRIS, Executive Editor

As the Publisher and Editor for App Developer Magazine, Richard has several industry recognitions and endorsements from tech companies such as Microsoft, Apple and Google for accomplishments in the mobile market. He was part of the early Google AFMA program, and also involved in the foundation of Google TV. He has been developing for mobile since 2003 and serves as CEO of Moonbeam Development, a mobile app company with 200 published titles in various markets throughout the world. Richard is also the founder of LunarAds, a mobile cross-promotion and self-serv mediation network for developers. He has been a featured presenter at trade-shows and conferences, and stays active with new projects relating to mobile development.

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