As an iOS developer, I get access to the early betas. The idea of course is to be able to release your apps for each new OS release when it is released, instead of lagging behind the curve. On Monday, Apple kicked off the Worldwide Developer’s Conference (WWDC) 2015 and announced iOS 9 along with the newest version of OS X, nicknamed El Capitan.
I didn’t wait for the keynote speech to finish before downloading and installing the first beta of iOS 9. The entire process is pretty simple. Assuming you already perform nightly backups to iCloud, which I hope you do, all you really need to do is connect to iTunes and perform a restore of the new iOS firmware downloaded directly from the Apple Developer’s site.
iOS 9 doesn’t really introduce anything new and groundbreaking yet, so I wouldn’t recommend everyone rush out and load the new beta. There is a huge list of things broken on Apple’s website, and battery life is noticeably abysmal, but all of this is expected for a new release. All of my Apps appear to work fine, except for Plex, which I’m sure will be resolved in the next release.
So what is new? Well, we get access to Swift 2.0 and the latest version of Xcode, so for developers this is important. The task switcher on the iPhone (you know the interface when you double tap the home button) looks different. My left handed friends are already complaining about it, so perhaps it will be tweaked more in future betas. The keyboard now shows upper and lower case letters on the actual keys, which is a huge fix in my opinion, and one sorely due.
There is a new Apple Watch icon on the home screen, which so far does nothing for me, but then again, I don’t own an Apple Watch. The upcoming News App, that reminds me of Flipboard, isn’t ready in this beta yet. The Notes App has been upgraded to support a bunch of basic formatting and hyperlinks (welcome to the 90’s). Likewise, apps that now open other apps will feature a “back button”, so that toggling between apps is a lot more streamlined.
Unfortunately the multi-app multitasking features in iOS9 are only available for the iPad. This makes sense from a developer’s point of view because you can layer an iPhone version of an App over the iPad version of an App, placing them basically side by side. This keeps developers from having to create yet another view for yet another orientation or screen size.
Hopefully beta 2 will be forthcoming with a bunch of new features and the News App. For now, iOS 9 is just the next logical step in the growth of the Apple ecosystem. For those of you anxious to update, but can’t, here is the new official iOS 9 wallpaper for your iPhone!