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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  • blackcrayon - Friday, September 18, 2015 - link

    "Samsung Android" eh... Funny, not even Samsung actually refers to it that way. Serious question: do the Microsoft Office apps work with Samsung's split screen multitasking? Reply
  • darkich - Friday, September 18, 2015 - link

    I'm jot using MS Office on Android, but I do know that apps that support multi-screen option can be easily opened, minimized(and moved around as Facebook messenger-like bubbles) and resized within any app, MS Office included. Reply
  • darkich - Friday, September 18, 2015 - link

    Heck, it even works within games. I'm posting this while playing boom beach on my Galaxy Note and I'm gonna make a screenshot in case you want proof.
    Works flawlessly!
    Reply
  • prophet001 - Friday, September 18, 2015 - link

    Apple being lauded for introducing half the things the Surface introduced years ago.

    The Kool-aid is real folks.
    Reply
  • nerd1 - Friday, September 18, 2015 - link

    Even at anandtech, I'm so sad. Reply
  • blackcrayon - Sunday, September 20, 2015 - link

    Pretty sure Microsoft was lauded for Surface features Apple introduced in the iPad years before that... But as usual, silly whining (i.e. "computer platform whining") is selective. Reply
  • blindjustice - Friday, September 18, 2015 - link

    I dont see this article in AnandTech the Apple news app. When will AnandTech website be compatible with Apple News app? Reply
  • knweiss - Sunday, September 20, 2015 - link

    FWIW: I'm not sure if app slicing is the reason but app sync to iTunes no longer possible with iOS 9 devices and the latest iTunes. I even opened a Radar on Apple's Bug Reporter which was closed with the comment "Apps are no longer transferred from iOS 9 devices.". Reply
  • Donkey2008 - Monday, September 21, 2015 - link

    Following the 15 pages of "The Surface is a business tool and the iPad is a toy" compels me to respond. We use both Surfaces and iPads at a mining company. A Surface 2/3 will NOT run any of the Windows mining software we use (Minesite, Vulcan). It is simply not powerful enough. Sure, it will run AutoCAD, but not a single AC user in our company wants to work on AC files on a 10" tablet. All it is really good for is for taking a Cad drawing to a remote location for review. The same thing can be accomplished on an iPad with the AC app. What the Surfaces ARE good at is for running smaller web apps and Office. We have several databases that we also update directly with the Surfaces. Again, any of these tasks can be completed on an iPad, short of updating an Access database (no Access app for iPad).

    As for iPad, we mostly give them to managers and execs who are travelling a lot. They get their email just fine. They can work on Word/Excel/PP docs via Citrix or the iOS apps. They can Facetime with our corporate iPhone users for instant face-to-face conferences. They have the Go-To-Meeting app so they can join meetings on the road. We have the Citrix app installed so they can access the network and work in our ERP (SAP). They have the MS RDP client installed so they can access their work computer if they want (Most don't bother and use Citrix and the Office apps).They are very simple to use and require little setup (other than logging into the apps). Just because it isn't a full-fledged desktop does not mean that it isn't a good, mobile business tool. Again, only a brain-dead tech who cannot get past working for Best Buy thinks otherwise.
    Reply
  • Peichen - Tuesday, September 22, 2015 - link

    Speaking both as an iDevice user and Apple shareholder, the thing I dislike the most about Cook is his willingness to forgo future customers in order to boost quarterly profit. I much rather have a CEO that plans for the future than make a quick buck and just count on core-users in the future.

    TouchID should be on all iDevices after iPhone 5s, NFC/Apple Pay should be available to all TouchID units. RAM and storage should have doubled with iPhone 6. Free iCloud and paid iCloud should have been way bigger. Battery should be bigger so they still lasts a day after a few years. All these steps would tie users into the ecosystem more retain them as future customers.

    I upgrade often but I also want the person buying my used iDevices to have a good experience with older hardware so they would continue to use Apple services.
    Reply

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