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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  • centhar - Thursday, September 17, 2015 - link

    It is not and saying that is rather silly. Reply
  • PsychoPif - Wednesday, September 16, 2015 - link

    You need to get your fact straight. Most Surface devices have a faster processor than the iPad Pro. Reply
  • osxandwindows - Wednesday, September 16, 2015 - link

    How do you know that? Reply
  • moderntheorist - Wednesday, September 16, 2015 - link

    "More graphical and computational power than ANY Surface devices available" you are joking right? That ARM architecture is nowhere near as powerful as an Intel i7, when an iPad can do something like this we'll talk: http://www.jcallaghan.com/wp-content/uploads/daisy... Reply
  • Vichy_C - Wednesday, September 16, 2015 - link

    They already can. Using Apple AirPlay you can use alternate displays. That is the most useless thing I've ever seen a tablet do. My desktop is for multiple displays, not my tablet. My tablet is for portability and power. All these features don't mean jack with the market share Microsoft has, anyway. According to Geekbench, the highest scoring multicore Surface 3 device has an i7 4650U and scores less than 2000 points above the Air 2. If the Pro is 90% faster than the air then suddenly the pro is about 1500 points ahead of the fastest surface. Apple even said themselves that is'd going to be faster than 80% of portable PCs shipped in the last 12 months. Reply
  • xenol - Wednesday, September 16, 2015 - link

    The Surface 3 has an Intel Atom.

    And if that's what Apple is using as their benchmark... roflcopter. Geek Bench is not an apples to apples comparison when you're comparing:

    1. Two different processor architectures
    2. A mobile, stripped down OS vs. a fully functional OS.
  • blackcrayon - Wednesday, September 16, 2015 - link

    A fully functional OS that needs first party anti-malware and weekly updates to keep it from being overrun with toolbars... There are some advantages to being "stripped down". Reply
  • damianrobertjones - Thursday, September 17, 2015 - link

    Yet I've had people ask me to remove stuff from their iPad as well as browser re-directs. Easy stuff but still... Reply
  • damianrobertjones - Thursday, September 17, 2015 - link

    P.s. Do you remember the iOS release, the other year. that had to have THREE updates to fix things? Reply
  • Smudgeous - Wednesday, September 16, 2015 - link

    You should really try verifying Apple's previous claims before assuming they're reflected in Geekbench. Apple claimed the IPad Air 2 had 40% faster CPU performance and 150% faster GPU performance than the previous IPad Air. However, their single core Geekbench results only showed a 23.24% increase. So going by the same Geekbench scaling factor, their new 80% faster claim would result in something around a 46.5% higher single core Geekbench score than the Air 2, or roughly a 2650. That would mean that the now-15-month-old Surface Pro 3 with the dual core i7 4650U is 22.64% faster. If this is accurate, that would put the A9X chip at 10% slower than the Core M 5y71 in the new Macbook, which is interesting as they're both 4.5w TDP processors.

    Now, the multicore score did show a 72.63% increase, but only because it added a third core. Similarly, the Mediatek octacore MT6795 outperformed the IPad Air 2's multicore score, despite having a single core score less than half as high. Also, as the number of cores remains the same as the Air 2, the multicore score will not result in the same kind of scaling.

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