Whenever Apple introduces newer versions of its iOS or OS X platforms, it’s generally the marketed and discussed features that garner all of the attention. With iOS 9 and OS X El Capitan currently in the development and testing stages in preparation for a potential September release, there are unannounced inclusions that are being discussed. A Reddit user has discovered a real-time flight tracking feature embedded in iOS 9 and OS X El Capitan that Apple has so far neglected to mention in any of its official discussions regarding the two platforms.
The newly integrated flight-tracking feature will be sure to blow users away when the two platforms land later this year. The system appears to be deeply integrated into iOS and OS X to provide up-to-date information about a flight’s status from individual airlines. It also appears to provide an immediate preview of that particular flight’s projected flight-path, which is apparently determined by using purposely designed data detectors, as can be explained in layman’s terms. During the early beta stages it looks as though those data detection mechanisms are only active within the native Mail, Messages, and Reminders apps.
The system works by detecting a flight number from a specific airline. This could be within a text or iMessage, embedded within an incoming or outgoing email, or even set as a reminder within Apple’s own Reminders app. When that flight number has been detected, iOS or OS X renders the number into a tappable or clickable link with a specific call to action. Tapping that link provides additional context for the flight, including the departure and arrival airports, the status of the flight, time of departure, and an interactive map containing the projected flight path.
A long press on the link produces a contextual menu that allows the user to preview the detailed flight information as above or copy the text. All of the information shown in the iOS screenshots is also available directly through OS X El Capitan, with the long press to invoke the contextual menu, being replaced with a simple right mouse or trackpad click. iOS 9 and OS X El Capitan, the latest versions of Apple’s mobile and desktop platforms, are expected to launch this fall alongside a revamped iPhone range.