At the WWDC 2015 in San Francisco, Apple has again surprised us with its new launch. They introduced the new iOS and that is the iOS 9. This version, codenamed “Monarch”, is the latest generation operating system coming from iOS 8 in its new polished and improved avatar. On the surface, it is a good step forward though not a big one, as the update is done over the existing iOS 8 hardware so you can expect almost everything similar to the earlier iOS 8. But the new one is certainly improved with new features and improved interface.
As we know iOS is much more than just an operating system, it is that system which Apple envisions on as the computing of the future. And much to its sense, Apple shows this careful and strategic approach towards this launch as well. It does not make drastic changes, what it did is that it took the whole approach slowly and subtly. So I will go through the features and design changes so as to help you in your dilemma of whether to update to iOS 9 from your existing operating system.
Looks and Design
Almost all the versions of this operating system looks quite similar but out of these the look and feel of iOS 7 was a bit controversial due to many reasons one of such is the radical design change and much to our surprise the iOS 9 looks quite similar to it whereas I thought that it would be more like iOS 8. Nonetheless coming to the design without a single doubt the interface is quite similar- with only a couple of little yet critical contrasts.
To begin with, the font text style has been changed all throughout the iOS range from the font style Helvetica to a font style called San Francisco. Though the difference is very slight but it is easily perceptible. The letter R has a more curvier design in iOS 8 than in the iOS 9, all the letters are cleaner than before and most importantly it is very much perceptible that there is focus on cleaner lines. In my opinion it’s a very modern look and different than any other iOS generations.
iOS 9 additionally carries with it an entire host of new wallpapers, running from conceptual great close up pictures to planets and wonderful reminiscent of the old Hindu celebration, Holi and lots of desirable pictures. Most interestingly pictures specifically designed for the iPhone 5c has not been implemented.
Other than this in the visual front there is a significant change in the app switcher. In this current avatar the app switcher is a cascading fan of cards which is sometimes difficult to use when compared to the old method. But nevertheless, this new feature definitely helps in multitasking and jumping between apps without going to the home screen and I think it is more suitable specifically for iPhone 6 as it has 3D touch for easier multitasking.
The Features And The Performance
One of the most important features of this release is the improvement in multitasking. It is the ultimate and a must have in any smartphone. I like what Apple has done with it. Multitasking between apps is a big step forward and is best suited to the latest iPads. So whoever is using the latest generation iPad will be a very happy camper as this version of this operating system is successful with it. But it is only for the iPad mind you.
The basic formula of the multitasking feature is that it lets you use two apps simultaneoulsly7 with one app taking over 1/3 rd of the screen. Here two apps are not active, only one is active. The 1/3rd portion is sliced vertically and this is known as slide over.
The slide overview is implemented really nice by Apple and by their standards they have done a really good job. I for one quite like the implementation and the overall working of the slide over. Though slide over is not the end of the road though, iOS 9 has another trick up its sleeves and that is Split View. What it does is that it lets you interact with two apps simultaneously and it is available only on the iPad Air 2 and presumably on the iPad Air 3 and iPad Pro. One app takes 50% and another takes 50% of the screen. But what makes this my favorite is that it is adjustable, that is, how much space will an app will take is adjustable from ½ to 2/3 rd of the screen. This adjustability feature is accompanied by another feature of opposite scrolling which enhances its usability even more.
The last but not the least another multitasking feature which came up to my expectation is the picture-picture video reviewing, and this time this is the only multitasking feature is the which is compatible on almost all devices. The working of this feature is that if you are watching a video from any website like YouTube or Facetime etc and you want to see the home screen videos, just click on the home button and the current video will shrink itself but it will still run at this position. This really helps while navigating through the videos. It adds a really nice touch to the overall workability of the system.
This new feature is only limited to the US through the beta version so commenting on this won’t be something justifiable, but according to the demonstrations at the WWDC, it is more like Flipboard where you select some sources and it will effectively and automatically update itself with new stories and news. News somewhat reads your preferences and interests and will show you some news which you didn’t selected in the first place but match your interests. The new Explore feature is also nice letting you new channels that you might like. Quite helpful and informative!
One of the most important features in this release is the update and improvement in the Maps section. The newest feature is the public transport directions which in my opinion is a great improvement though it has come late into the party but nevertheless better late than never and it works great too. Improved location details and ability to show places of interest and various businesses are also new.
Battery Life Enhancements
As an iPhone owner, I am always worried about my battery life and I know every iPhone user just like me feels the same. What Apple has done this time on the new iOS 9 in terms of its battery life enhancements is really appreciable. Apple says it is much more efficient than in iOS 8, and an iPhone 6 running on iOS 9 will have an extra hour of battery life up its sleeves. As for testing when I used the beta version of iOS 9 on the iPhone 6, I got all around battery life when compared to iOS 8. The Low Power Mode is the icing on the cake. So we can expect good results out of the iOS 9. It is the best thing that could ever happen to an iPhone user.
We all know what Siri is, and just like we expected Siri has been given a thorough overall and it has been done for the good. The interaction is way better than any other generation, it is helpful and it is not stuttering anymore. The predictive ability and the suggestions of the new improved Siri are very exciting to use. It is quite streamlined, more intelligent, and more efficient and the improvements are quite perceptible to Siri users. It is like it is everywhere and it is now much like a personal assistant and that’s what we want right? Though it is still buggy in its beta version!
To Sum it up
It definitely feels good to have the latest OS installed in your phone. And there are many out there who are dying to get their hands on this latest OS from Apple. But I would highly recommend you to hold your horses and go through the various pros and cons. Some positives would definitely suit you. However, there are obviously some downsides that you might not like. This section is dedicated to discussing the various pros and cons of the iOS9. But rest assured the iOS9 is safe to install. Just keep in mind that it is always better to test it on your spare Apple device first before trying it out on your primary iPad or iPhone.
Overall, Apple’s iOS9 looks pretty promising, however, make sure that your are ready to live with the drawbacks. Also, do stay tuned for further updates…
- The first great thing about this brand new operating system is the Proactive or the predictive Personal Assistant. It is a piece of software that predicts your actions based on your use, automatically creating a shortcut for it. This is a very cool feature that makes using your device even easier and faster. Whenever you use your device, the Proactive observes. It takes a note of your usage habits, patterns and timings etc. to create shortcuts for such actions. If the Proactive thinks that you might really need an app, it takes the initiative. It can also furnish local stories and news that are in trend. So it means that the Apple Device would now know its user better than ever.
- The much in demand multi-tasking feature is finally available. Using iOS 9, you can simultaneously use two apps. This comes very handy while taking notes, viewing the calendar during an ongoing call etc.
- The picture-in-picture video viewing feature of the new iOS9 is fantastic as well. It looks pretty suave. Pressing the home button in earlier iOS versions would stop video playback, but not in iOS 9. It’s video playback shrinks into a smaller window and continues to play while you open another app. This could be called another implementation of the multitasking feature.
- You can easily distinguish the on and off state of the shift key in the virtual keyboard in the new iOS9. This may not seem significant but was an issue that triggered a lot of complaints from users.
- The San Francisco system font is a lot better and distinct than earlier system fonts.
- Proactive, with all its wonderful features, still remains bugged to some extent. For instance, only three or four providers furnish news for the local trending news feature. Moreover, the Proactive is unable to figure out a caller’s identity based on past interactions with that person on the device, like e-mail etc. This would have really been a helpful feature had it been included.
- The multitasking feature might be a relief for Apple fans but hasn’t reached perfection. In Slide Over you are not allowed to use two apps simultaneously. A bigger letdown would be that the multitasking feature is available strictly in iPads only, for now.