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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  • defferoo - Thursday, September 17, 2015 - link

    i would think that their claims are based on the multi-core score as they never claimed the "single-core performance increased by 40%". So assuming their claims of an 80% faster CPU are applied to the multi-core score, you'd get a score around 8000, which is pretty insane for a tablet. If you were to compare that to a Mac, you'd find that it slightly beats out the current high-end rMBP 13 inch. yes, the rMBP only has 2 cores, but it's also 28W (probably due to the high clock speed) versus the ~5-7W A9X.

    To be honest, I don't think they could have achieved an 80% improvement in speed without either doing some serious frequency scaling (which would greatly increase power consumption) or adding a 4th core. Which is why my guess is that in addition to architectural improvements, they slightly increased the clock speed of each core and added a 4th core to get the speed increases that they wanted. What is most interesting to me is the prospect that a single A9X core may be similar in performance/watt to Intel's Core CPUs.
  • damianrobertjones - Thursday, September 17, 2015 - link

    ...Which are VERY cheap Atoms. Reply
  • danbob999 - Wednesday, September 16, 2015 - link

    I doubt the A9x is a faster CPU than the Core i5 in the surface... Reply
  • blackcrayon - Wednesday, September 16, 2015 - link

    Me too. I wouldn't be surprised if the A9X had better graphics though. The iPad Pro certain has a much better screen. Reply
  • buevaping - Thursday, September 17, 2015 - link

    The A8X has better graphics than standard mobile i5 already. Run GFX Bench. Reply
  • osxandwindows - Sunday, September 20, 2015 - link

    a8x graphics beet intel hd on gaming, Hell anything beets intel hd in gaming Reply
  • nerd1 - Wednesday, September 16, 2015 - link

    Okay okay... my playstation 4 has more graphical power than the iPad so it can be very useful for productive tasks right? Reply
  • osxandwindows - Sunday, September 20, 2015 - link

    lol ps4 for pro dream on Reply
  • Sc0rp - Wednesday, September 30, 2015 - link

    Actually a playstation 4 WOULD be useful for productive tasks if productive software was released for it. Consoles are basically appliance computers after all. Reply
  • damianrobertjones - Thursday, September 17, 2015 - link

    When you say 'Surface' do you mean The Surface RT, Surface 2 and Surface 3? Fair enough. The next version of the 'Surface' might feature Core m which should be right on the cash for beating, just, this new ipad Pro.

    Don't even suggest that it's anywhere near the i5 let alone the i7

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