We are already seeing some iOS 9 prep as logs indicate increased traffic from devices running iOS 9 despite an official announcement from Apple. We expect that Apple will announce the new iOS 9 release timing at WWDC 2015 in June. At this annual summer event Apple typically shows off many new features and delivers a time frame for a public release.
As part of WWDC 2015 we could see a major focus on one important area of iPhone and iPad performance in iOS 9 — stability and performance improvements. This comes after six fast iOS 8 updates that deliver bug fixes and performance enhancements to the iPhone and iPad.
On 9to5Mac, Mark Gurman shares the iOS 9 details that Apple has yet to announce. Gurman is a trustworthy source for Apple leaks, with a long history of sharing Apple’s plans well ahead of the official announcement. In the succinct report Gurman compares the iOS 9 update to Apple’s OS X Snow Leopard release in 2009 which focused on the stability of the operating system.
Although we typically see Apple make a big show of delivering new iOS features and a completely new look for the iPhone and iPad software, this year there is a bigger focus on the stability. It is not a shock to any iPhone user on iOS 8 that there are some long-standing bugs and issues that Apple is still trying to fix.
The new report outlines three key focuses for apple’s employees tasked with creating the iOS 9 update. According to Gurman’s sources there is a “huge” effort on making iOS 9 more stable, fixing bugs and delivering better performance with the update.
We are already seeing the benefits of another area of work with the iOS 8.1.3 update that arrived just over two weeks ago. This small update made it easier for 16GB iPhone and iPad users to upgrade to iOS 8 thanks to a smaller amount of free space needed to install the update. When the iOS 8 update arrived in fall 2014 many users could not install the update without deleting photos, files or apps.
Right now it is not clear what devices will run iOS 9, but if Apple follows earlier releases you can expect an iOS 9 compatibility list that does not include the iPhone 4s, iPad 2 or iPad mini. The report outlines the possibility that Apple could drop the iPhone 5c and iPod touch 5th generation from support. If Apple takes that step it would also cut iPhone 5 iOS 9 support from the picture since it uses the same internals as the iPhone 5c. Traditionally we expect one more major update for the iPhone 5, but Apple could choose to focus on newer hardware with a 64-bit processor with the iOS 9 update.
Even if Apple does focus on stability and performance with the iOS 9 release in 2015 that doesn’t mean there will be no new features. So far the iOS 9 rumors are scarce, but we are still waiting for a split-screen iPad feature that appeared in iOS 8 code, but never made it into the iOS 8 release. It is also possible that Apple will finally bring new features to Apple Maps.
Although not part of the rumors, Apple’s small steps towards allowing app developers to use system features like the keyboard hint at a more open approach. It would be great to see Siri allow users to control third-party apps like Spotify in iOS 9. The Apple Watch is coming in April after an iOS 8.2 update, and it would make sense for expanded support or features in iOS 9.
Even though we should expect an iOS 9 preview at WWDC 2015 in June the iOS 9 release isn’t expected until this fall with a new iPhone. Normally the iOS update arrives two days before the new iPhone. Right now we expect an iPhone 6s and iPhone 6s Plus release in the fall. These new models will likely look the same, but include some upgrades and exclusive iOS 9 features.