2015 has been a pretty big year for Apple as a company. Product launches this year included the Apple Watch, the iPhone 6s and 6s Plus, the iPad Mini 4, the iPad Pro, and the new Apple TV. This month is a big month for their software launches, with today marking the release of iOS 9 as well as watchOS 2, and OS X El Capitan launching at the very end of the month. In time I hope to do some sort of review of the new features in watchOS 2, but today's article focuses strictly on iOS 9 and everything new that Apple is bringing to their biggest operating system for both users and developers.

What's interesting about iOS 9 is how Apple has involved their community of users in the development process by creating a public beta program. OS X Yosemite famously was the first version of OS X to have a public beta (with the exception of the OS X 10.1 Kodiak beta 15 years ago), but Apple had never done anything like it for their mobile devices until now. However, many users found ways to install the developer betas of iOS on their devices by bypassing the activation or having a service register their UDID for beta installation. With more and more features being added to iOS, and more and more users adopting devices that run it, it appears that Apple felt that expanding their beta user base beyond developers would be a good way to collect information on bugs and stability, as well as general feedback about what does and doesn't work well.

Opening up iOS 9 with a public beta also plays into the focus of the new release. iOS 7 was an enormous release that redesigned the entire operating system, and iOS 8 added features like continuity and extensibility to improve how apps communicated on iOS, and how iOS devices and Macs communicate with each other. With all those changes there has been concern that there hasn't been enough attention to polish and eliminating bugs in iOS. While it's not something explicitly stated, it's clear that iOS 9 does go back to basics in some ways, and focuses on improving performance and stability. There are still new features, and some of them are very integral to keeping iOS competitive as a mobile platform, but the key focus is on solidifying the existing foundations.

The polish and improvements that will be most obvious to the end user are those that involve visual or functional changes to the apps they use on a daily basis. With that in mind, it makes most sense to start off the review by taking a look at some of the general changes made to the UI and the system in iOS 9, so let's dive in.

Table Of Contents

General UI and System Changes


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  • nafhan - Wednesday, September 16, 2015 - link

    Wrong. iPads get used by professionals (in addition to "prosumers") all the time for content creation tasks while on the go like music recording, viewing tablature, reviewing photos with clients, etc. Just because the content creation isn't happening on the tablet doesn't mean it's not getting used as part of a content creation workflow.

    That said: they are not a professionals primary content creation device. They're a secondary device that gets used when it's not reasonable to use the primary device for some reason.

    The Surface is going to fall into the same boat. Someone who does these types of content creation tasks is probably going to want something more powerful than Surface for their regular work. The iPad Pro and the Surface will both be used when the primary device is not available.

    Also, you are absolutely correct in that the vast majority of iPads (and computers) sold are as consumption devices. That's why the iPad mini exists!
  • superflex - Wednesday, September 16, 2015 - link

    A koolaid fight has broken out and everyone is drunk on their brand of OS punch.
    You clowns are worse the the GPU fanbois.
    Makes reading the comments at AT a waste of time.
    Now get back to your respective OS shrines.
  • lilmoe - Wednesday, September 16, 2015 - link

    You're contradicting yourself;

    "Just because the content creation isn't happening on the tablet doesn't mean it's not getting used as part of a content creation workflow".

    That was exactly my point, and the point you emphasized in your last paragraph. iPads (even the lateset "Pro") can never be used for standalone, real professional work. The iPad "Pro" might be good for simple sketching at best... I mean, the new "pencil" doesn't even support hover or palm rejection, nor does the "Pro" run any full blown professional programs.

    There's nothing an iPad can do that a Surface can't (provided the mobile app is there). But the Surface can also replace laptops for many consumers, they can be the sole PCs of many prosumers, and they can be the mobile workstations of professionals because they can run the full blown programs their used to. Something iPads can never do.

    Android was never a real threat to iPads. However, while Apple isn't worried about the Surface series in particular, the real threat to iPads lies in Windows 10 and Universal Windows Platform.

    I can't wait for a Samsung made Wacom Windows 10 tablet with a Core M7.
  • nafhan - Wednesday, September 16, 2015 - link

    I'm not contradicting myself.
    Your argument seems to be that since it could be used as an all around replacement for every computer, professionals are using the Surface that way. My observation is that you are wrong. People who make money doing creative work generally don't have an MS based workflow, at all, and that even if they did, they'd probably still only use the Surface as a primary computer when absolutely necessary. If you're making money at your job and doing creative work, you're going to want a more powerful computer with more storage than the Surface as your main computer.

    I have a feeling that you have never worked with any professionals. They don't want Swiss Army knives. They want dedicated tools to get their work done easily and quickly. I'll sort of take that back: they do want the Swiss Army knife device, just as a secondary or tertiary device, not as a primary.
  • The-J-Man - Friday, September 18, 2015 - link

    This is changing. Some creatives are moving to Windows-based workflows as there are shifts in the industry, and Surface Pro is significant part of that. Ever since the first Surface Pro came out, the question among creatives is "Can it run Photoshop?" (Yes, it can.) Since that day, I think most creatives realize that iPads are consumption only. If you can have a tablet that is a presentation device that also lets you do actual work on a train or at a coffee shop between meetings, then isn't that better, even if it doesn't have iMessage?

    Apple has had some missteps lately in the creative world. The garbage can look-alike Mac Pro is selling so poorly that I don't know anyone who owns one. Adobe's Premiere Pro takeover of Final Cut market share is significant and seems to be accelerating. It is getting harder and harder to justify the IT costs of supporting a department of Macs in an otherwise Windows environment, just to get the graphics work done. (Yes, Macs need support. They are not magic.) Most artists are getting used to using Windows through Boot Camp, and Windows 10 is actually a really nice experience.

    You are right that it is fairly safe to assume a creative is working on a Mac these days, but devices like Surface Pro are very impressive, even to us creatives. iPad Pro, to me, looks like a Surface Pro without the ability to run any of the apps that I really want to run. Let's face it, Creative Cloud programs like Photoshop and After Effects are where the money is, not those silly ideation apps Adobe keeps trying to push.

    Most creatives work on a workstation with a Wacom tablet and multiple monitors for maximum productivity. Given the creative's standard equipment of a primary workstation, a secondary tablet/laptop, and a smartphone, I am guessing a lot of creatives would choose Surface Pro over iPad (Pro or otherwise) as their secondary device.
  • robinthakur - Thursday, October 1, 2015 - link

    Most proper creatives doing it as a job that I know still use Apple, mainly for historic reasons it has to be said (try getting creatives to change tooling!) and the fact that the Surface Pro 3 runs Photoshop avoids the question of how well it runs it. The pen accuracy and pressure sensitivity as well as the display scaling are significant issues which hobble the SP3 to some extent and mean that it can't be used as a dedicated tool. The pen is designed primarily for OneNote, after all.

    The great unknown is the software for the iPad Pro. If Appl ecan persuade Adobe to release versions of CC and Micrososft to release versions of Office which are compiled for it with pen compatibility, then I can see it doing very well as all the User interface problems of not having a precision input device or keyboard will be solved.
  • KoolAidMan1 - Wednesday, September 16, 2015 - link

    A Macbook Pro is a much better laptop than the Surface and an iPad is a much better tablet. The value of the Surface is that it combines both. If you want to combine both devices while introducing compromises then its a good option. There's certainly something to be said for having fewer things. Reply
  • Sc0rp - Wednesday, September 30, 2015 - link

    The pencil supports palm protection dude. Reply
  • Morawka - Wednesday, September 16, 2015 - link

    they'll lose imessage and facetime.. they dont care about safari, and everyone can agree that itunes is garbage. you seriously cited itunes as a reason to stay apple? Simplistic device are great and all, but it severely limits how you can improve them 5-10 years down the road without inherently making them more complex (therefore losing the simplicity)

    they are made of metal and are nice looking. the ui looks like a candy shop. they are successful because the iphone is successful. you think it will stay this way for much longer tho? It remains to be seen, but odds are not in their favor.

    apple is pushing everyone to apps, even website developers (by ad blocking). apple is a compartmentalized experience on each device. They created lots of devices that only do a few things (but do them well) and then hope you buy all of them so they make lots of money.

    meanwhile competitors with complex systems which allow you to do much more with fewer devices, but has steeper learning curve. do you want to pack 3-4 devices that each do a couple of things good, or 1-2 devices that can do everything.

    let the market decide over the next 10 years, but eventually people will wise up and spend less money and pack less gadgets
  • centhar - Thursday, September 17, 2015 - link

    Apple users are the Pakleds of the computer world. "We can make it go, no intelligence is required" Reply

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