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First Impressions: iOS 9

Apple-website-feature-imageApple released iOS 9 into the wild yesterday, after a beta period of about three months. I decided not to use the betas this year, unlike previous years, and so the last day or so have been completely new for me. Here are my impressions.

New_folders_on_ipadiOS 9 is a relatively minor update to the mobile operating system. In a similar fashion to iOS 8, the update is an evolutionary update that adds a few tweaks here and there, as well as getting rid of some well-known and established annoyances with iOS. Basic things such as a cleaner multi-tasking interface (the functionality is identical to that of iOS 8, however), the now-chronologically laid-out notification stream and larger folder capacities on the iPad (folders now have 4×4 app grids rather than 3×3) are welcome changes that, despite their relative insignificance, add some freshness to an operating system that can become quite boring and tedious.

News-Favs-PageAs an avid-news reader, I was disappointed to find out that the new ‘News’ app for iOS 9 that Apple unveiled back at WWDC was only available in the United States. A quick fix though, for my fellow non-Americans, is to change your iOS device’s region to the United States [Settings -> General -> Language & Region -> Region -> United States -> RESTART]. Why Apple have limited the app to the U.S is beyond me, but perhaps they’ll make it available by default at a later stage, possibly with iOS 9.1.

Settings-search

Battery-page-on-iphone

The changes to Settings are welcome, if unexciting. There is now a search function in the Settings app, meaning you don’t have to dig around the menus to find a specific toggle. The dedicated battery tab/page in Settings is useful, as is the Low Power Mode found embedded into it – a feature that we should have had a long time ago, but better late than never, hey?

There are improvements to the keyboard. I am fond of the new easy cursor movements; when you hold two fingers on to virtual keyboard, it turns into a makeshift trackpad allowing you to easily select and highlight words.

Slide-overSlide Over is one of my favourite parts of iOS 9, allowing you to open up a second app on the right side of the display above another. While it’s not true side-by-side multitasking (Split View is exclusive to the iPad Air 2, iPad mini 4 and iPad Pro), it’s still a useful addition and will only grow in utility as more third-party apps start supporting the feature.

Siri

Back-to-button

There are plenty of other changes in iOS 9, some of which are good (we finally have a dedicated iCloud Drive app!) and some of which are bad (I hate the font changes that Apple have made). I like the new Search page on to the left of the home screen and the improvements to Siri, including ‘her’ new interface improvements. And so, overall I think iOS 9 is a positive – if un-adventurous – step in the right direction for iOS.

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