iOS 9 rumors, features, release date, and what else to expect at WWDC 2015

Monday mornings aren't known for being a particularly exciting time of the week, but that on June 8 will surely be one great exception. That's when Apple is expected to deliver a cannonade of major announcements while kicking off its annual developer conference, WWDC. As usual, the event is shrouded in mystery. We know that big news are going to come, but we're not entirely sure what's going to be shown off on stage. Still, there's a prediction or two we can make, looking at all the leaks and rumors circulating the interwebs. 

iOS 9 – The epicenter of change

Yes, Apple is expected to use WWDC's stage to announce a new major version of iOS – the ninth to date. As much as we wish we could show you a glimpse of it, however, we can't. Apple is keeping its work under tight wraps, and we doubt that we'll get any leaks exposing iOS 9 prior to its public introduction. But that's okay. Who likes spoiled surprises, anyway? 

While nobody knows what iOS 9 is going to look like, major visual changes aren't expected. Chances are that the UI of the system will remain mostly the same in terms of appearance. Minor tweaks are likely coming, on the other hand. Among them is believed to be a change in the default system typeface. Neue Helvetica – used in both iOS and OS X – could end up being replaced by San Francisco, which currently in use on the Apple Watch. The latter font is specifically designed to be better-suited for smaller displays, and text displayed in it should be easier to read.

Split screen functionality and multi-user support coming to iOS?

According to rumors, Apple is about to take iOS' multitasking capabilities to the next level. Running apps side by side may be possible in iOS 9, which would give users the ability to, let's say, watch a video while using their favorite IM client. Without a doubt, this would be a pretty neat feature, albeit not a totally new one – it has actually been around for a while, found on Android UIs by Samsung and LG, as well as on Windows-based tablets. It is one of those features you don't really need often, but when you do, it feels nice having it at your fingertips. 

Another key addition to iOS could be support for multiple user accounts on the same device, akin to what we have on today's computer platforms. This should allow one iOS device to be shared by several people, with the files and settings for each user stored separately. 

We must make it clear that even if the rumored split-screen functionality and multi-user support do land with iOS 9, they might not be made available on each and every iOS device. Side-by-side multitasking, for example, makes a lot of sense having on a tablet, but could be inconvenient to use on a phone's display. Besides, older hardware might be left out as it might not be powerful enough to smoothly handle two apps simultaneously. And multi-user support could come to iPads only as they, unlike iPhones, are much more suitable for sharing between two or more people.

Proactive – the right information, right when you need it

Proactive, according to rumors, is the codename for an internal project that Apple has been working on for a while. We may see it materialize in iOS 9 as an evolution of Spotlight – the quick and easy-to-use search tool in iOS – and an alternative to Google Now, which is Android's predictive provider of information. In other words, iOS' searching capabilities could be significantly broadened with the new release. Proactive is said to be capable of providing information relevant to the user's agenda. For example, when there's an upcoming appointment in the user's calendar, driving directions to the location might pop up a few hours prior to the event. Spotlight, in the meantime, could grow smarter by taking into account the user's recent searches and preferences, as well as the time of the day. Searching for places to eat in the evening should intelligently display dinner recommendations of cuisine the user's into. 

As for our good ol' pal Siri, she's not going anywhere. She's projected to get smarter than ever with iOS 9 thanks to a new API that will allow her to interact with third-party apps. In other words, Siri might gain the ability to launch a specific application, which she finds relevant to a particular query. However, this fancy API might not be ready to launch alongside iOS 9, according to the rumor's source.

Apple Maps – more ways to get around

First, the good news: public transportation data is finally getting baked into Apple Maps with iOS 9's arrival. This should allow one to get proper, accurate directions when getting to their destination by bus or train. However, there's bad news as well. It is said that Apple Maps will provide public transportation data in just six major cities, namely New York, San Francisco, Toronto, London, Paris, and Berlin. In comparison, Nokia's HERE maps delivers public transit maps and directions in over 900 cities. Still, it's better than nothing.

Speaking of Apple Maps, the service could get augmented reality features in iOS 9, designed to aid users in discovering local listings. What the feature might look like isn't clear, but we're imagining it might be inspired by Nokia's City Lens. The latter uses the device's camera to project ratings and relevant information on whatever place of interest the camera is pointed at. Keep in mind that the rumored AR goodies might not be ready in time for iOS 9, according to insiders.

Performance improvements, iOS 9 for legacy devices

iOS 9 won't be a proper update if it doesn't improve the system's overall performance and responsiveness. Numerous bugs are also to be obliterated. No more crashes when receiving texts with funky characters in them.

But most interestingly, Apple could try to bring an iOS 9 update to as many devices as possible, even though it is already terrific at supporting its legacy hardware. A so-called core version of the OS is said to be in development for iPhones and iPads powered by the 4-year-old Apple A5 chip. This will be limited in terms of features compared to a full-blown iOS 9 release, but anything that runs fine on older iDevices will be enabled. iOS devices featuring the Apple A5 SoC include the 7.9-inch iPad mini tablet, as well as the discontinued iPhone 4S.

Apple Music – a new streaming service incoming?

Ever since it acquired Beats for $3 billion, Apple has been expected to launch its own streaming music service. Well, the time for this to happen might have arrived. Apple Music, as the service is likely to be called, is predicted to be subscription-based and priced to compete with rivals like Spotify and Google's Play Music. That is, we're expecting it to cost about $10 per month. Also, we're hearing that Apple Music will not be available in free, limited, ad-supported form like Spotify. Instead, users who want to give it a try without pulling out a credit card will have access to a limited selection of songs. In the meantime, the free iTunes Radio service will not be discontinued. Rather, it could get even better, with real DJs hosting entire sets. 

iPad on steroids – new, 13-inch tablet to be unveiled?

Rumors about a larger iPad model have been circulating for about a year. Referred to as the iPad Pro or iPad Plus, the elusive device has been described as a larger, 13-inch slate with superior hardware and a higher-resolution display compared to what the current iPad lineup has to offer. And now could be the right time for it to debut. This iPad Pro/Plus will be the perfect device to show off iOS 9's split screen and multi-user capabilities. The rumored stylus support could make it suitable for use in enterprises or as an artistic tool. The two pairs of stereo speakers could make it a great entertainment device. Click here to read our complete coverage on what the rumored 13-inch iPad could turn out to be.

Apple Watch – expanding the app ecosystem

Apple will surely dedicate a healthy portion of its keynote time to its wearable, the Apple Watch. In addition to how well it has been selling compared to rivals, we're also likely to hear Apple saying a word or two about developing apps for the fancy gadget. Apple is expected to announce a set of tools necessary for devs to build native Watch software. And that's a big deal. As of now, third party apps run on the paired iPhone and communicate with the Apple Watch, which could cause a not-so-smooth user experience. Apps that run natively on the Apple Watch, however, should perform noticeably better, without delays. 

iOS 9 release date – when is it going to launch?

While iOS 9 will be thoroughly shown off at WWDC, it isn't going to launch right after the conference. There's still plenty of coding and polishing to be done, and Apple is going to need a few more months to take care of it. Therefore, the release of iOS 9 is likely to occur in the year's late third quarter, presumably in time for the release of the next generation of iPhones. Until then, however, developers will have early builds to play with – Beta versions of iOS 9 meant for testing the compatibility of apps prior to the OS' official release. While anyone with a developer account will be given access to the iOS 9 preview and will have the chance to install it on their iPhone or iPad, the builds aren't likely to be stable enough for daily use.

And that's all so far, folks! We will be shown the complete picture on June 8, when WWDC begins at 10:00AM Pacific time. For those not attending, Apple will be live-streaming the event, and you can rest assured that we'll be keeping a close eye on it.

UPDATE: Below are included screenshots allegedly depicting the changes coming with iOS 9, courtesy of 9to5Mac.



1. AppleCultist

Posts: 335; Member since: Feb 18, 2015

What we can expect: - More lag than Android gingerbread phones from 5 years back - Worse battery life - More crashing iOS 9 will be another stealth malware update from Apple like all the previous iOS versions. There will be nothing good about it. Apple wants you to keep buying newer iDevices, so they intentionally program shoddy updates to make your current devices worse. Any honest Apple user would admit it. I have an iPhone 4, iPhone 6, iPad 3 and a macbook pro 2009.

3. The_Innovation

Posts: 648; Member since: Jul 18, 2012

You're right. But this isn't necessarily a bad thing. Let me share my revalation with you based on my experience of using both iOS and Android. Like most, my first smart phone was an iPhone. At its early stages, everything about it was above ordinary. Pinch to zoom blew people's minds away. There was no real competition at that point. People were still using Motorola V500 flip phones. After about a year of using it, I realzied, there is no more going back. This is here to stay. Some years laterr I heard of Android, and kept hearing about all the features that it had, that iOS didn't. The freedom of custumozation, the widgets, and the ability to replace any default app with a different app seemed much needed. At the same time, I began to notice that Apple doesn't really change anything about their OS. Nothing was ever revelutionary. Being the type of person who loves technology and gets bored with them quickly, I wanted a change, so I switched to an Android. I got a Samsung Galaxy Nexus running on Android 4.1Jelly Bean. At first it was great. I custumized the living hell out of my phone. Kept showing people all the widgets, and the live wallpapers, all the default apps I had switched, all the new keyboards I replaced, etc. But I began to notice that something isn't right. Android had more functionality, but it wasn't as smooth flowing as the iPhone. I couldn't type the same way, kept having MMS issues all the time, couldn't group text, etc. My phone would slow down at times, apps would freeze and crash, etc. The more I messed with the core apps, the more unstable the phone became. My friend told not to replace any default stock apps, since it creates problems. Well, then why did I get an Android? I actually began to miss the iPhone. All the technicalities of Android began to annoy me, so I switched back to an iPhone. I know the iPhone takes a while to add a feature that's been around for a long time, but when they introduce it, they do it in their own way, that's very unique. For instance, there was no video recorder on the iPhone until the 3GS, where every other phone had it. But once it came out, you were able to instantly cut, edit, and trip your video before you sent it. It was very well done. iMessage was next, sure group texting was around, but iMessage is the smoothest and most stable messaging application I've used. It just works. Right now I use a Samsung Galaxy S6 Edge, which means I switched again. I suddenly realized that Android, just like iOS, hasn't changed at all! There is nothing "revolutionary" new about Android since 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich. It's the same for the most part. So criticizing Apple for not making changes doesn't make sense. Comparing the two phones, the iPhone is the more stable one. This is not a biased opinion. This is a user opinion who used both. When the iPhone 6S comes out I'll most likely switch back.

5. JoeDirt

Posts: 49; Member since: Oct 19, 2013

I couldn't agree more with what you said. I have had both an Android (work) and iPhone (personal) for years now. Based on my experiences with the two phones I have to say everything you mentioned is on point.

11. AlikMalix unregistered

I try Android every 2 years... I like certain Android features, but automated OS just works better for me - not into changing fonts and etc. My 2 year is over this fall, will try S6 this time - if it fits, it sits, but I find myself going back to iPhone... just too much to give up for a nice pen and slightly better camera.

18. The_Innovation

Posts: 648; Member since: Jul 18, 2012

This is exactly what happens to me. I mean that's not a "iSheep" or fanboy stuff. That's just you preferring the iPhone. Just like me. People don't seem to understand that.

26. darkkjedii

Posts: 30972; Member since: Feb 05, 2011

I understand both of u guys. I have the s6 edge now, and my 6 plus, and as good as the edge is...I would not give up my 6 plus for it to be my only phone. If I had to choose one...I choose the iPhone. I'm enjoying both though.

12. SantMS07

Posts: 1; Member since: Jun 03, 2015

very well said bro.. I have had the experience of using all the major 4 OS platforms.. iOS, Droid, Windows n BlackBerry.. Personally I seriously felt BlackBerry10 is very refreshing.. but yeah it has very few apps.. But I'm damn sure you'd love it.. give a try n let me know...

14. gustavoace

Posts: 187; Member since: Nov 13, 2012

Very well said. It is not just mobile OS, but this happens even with desktop. But statistically, iOs apps crashes more (​/does-ios-crash-more-than-android-a-data-dive/) as you can see in this report. Apple brags about things that is not true, or at least is distorted. Android fragmentation is harmless to users as you can install Facebook, GMail, Whatsapp, Skype, etc in every phone since gingerbread. If you look at iOs fragmentation ( you will see that 25% of the users do not have 8.x version, and fraction of that can't install ANYTHING in their devices.

19. The_Innovation

Posts: 648; Member since: Jul 18, 2012

Overall, the iPhone still feels more solid. I'm not basing that on statistics, I'm basing on my experience having used both phones.

20. AlikMalix unregistered

Hey bro, thanks for the source, but you gotta stop linking to that 2012 article - it's been a while now, and the article is so old it doesn't show up anymore. Do you have anything recent? iOS has had trouble in early iOS 8 update, but it's just history now. Apps don't crash anymore often than android platform. There was a lot of app compatability with ios7 release due to the new 64bit OS (not all apps but a few). But they were all fixed within weeks for the popular ones and in couple of months for the rest. Anyway, I have met only 2 or 3 people in the past 2 years that still have an iPhone 3GS - I have not seen anyone with anything older than that. And anyone with iPhone 4 is holding a 5 year old device. Yeah you should expect a few hardware restrictions. I'm really curious about the rumor that Apple is building special ios9 updates for older devices - if the rumor is true and it will work out as planned that would be epic - but I'm not holding my breath. But if you consider fragmentation as not a problem because you can install Facebook? Well these same popular apps are still available to 3GS owners or older as Apple does not remove the ios6 and below compatability apps from the App Store Here's the official:

27. frederick333123

Posts: 76; Member since: Jun 15, 2013

Well said bro....

7. waddup121 unregistered

No rootless?

10. Iodine

Posts: 1478; Member since: Jun 19, 2014

Of course iOS 9 will be a terible release for any iHater as it spread improvements to so many people imediatelly and yet you can't use any of that only bacause of your orientation... I am just wondering how you will prove your claims. If they want to force people to new hardware, why it tooks three years to "slow down" the device ? Why they release updates that improve performance on older devices ? Why people show so much safisfcation in iOS updates ?

2. xondk

Posts: 1904; Member since: Mar 25, 2014

I still can't wrap my head around changes such as font's the vast majority of them look so so so similar that I do not get the point.

4. AlikMalix unregistered

When you use iOS - the little things about UI and how text fits, and speed of animations, the way the screen blues into background when choosing spotlight, swipe gestures etc - are always improving as you use iOS over time. You begin to appreciate certain Siri responses, variable display of info based on your search, interactions with UI become more human with each update. Yes there are "wtf" instances - but quickly they get patched or changed. iOS UI still has room for improvement - I would like split screen on iPad (don't need on a phone though). I would love S-pen accuracy type of equivalent on iOS. But I don't want to leave iOS due to exclusives like iMessage and find my friends. Certain apps, and integrated cloud services. And most people here hate iTunes - I don't know how to keep my collection up to date, organized, and have my old tracks updated to modern standard of quality via iTunes Match. I like iOS just like hundreds of million people. I just want them to take a few things out of beta - like pages and numbers iCloud integration - because I've been using them for a long time already and apart from a few crashes on the PC and visual glitches (also on the PC) - it's a great quick little tool that is joy to use vs very complicated excel on windows. Just my view. Don't really care for iOS 9 expectations other than bringing all these "beta" versions to full service.

6. LetsBeHonest

Posts: 1548; Member since: Jun 04, 2013

" would like split screen on iPad (don't need on a phone though)." . it will be a nice addition to 6+ like devices too. Nice way to utilise extra space. Lets hope it comes.

8. nodes

Posts: 1158; Member since: Mar 06, 2014

5.5" is too small for split screen, doesn't make sense man. only Samsung would implement split screen into phone.

9. LetsBeHonest

Posts: 1548; Member since: Jun 04, 2013

Oh I disagree. I've used Samsung 's split screen and it's awesome. If I go buy an iPhone (probably bigger screen version) a split screen functionality is a very nice welcome.

13. Ruturaj

Posts: 1484; Member since: Oct 16, 2014

I want stylus on ipad air 3 too.

15. ken6688

Posts: 13; Member since: May 24, 2013

I am a iPad user, I want the apple watch can be paired by iPad instead of iPhone.

16. spiderpig2894

Posts: 597; Member since: Jan 10, 2012

It better fix old iOS devices. My iPad 2 can't connect to a WiFi network anymore! I need to be at least 3-5ft. from the router in order to just connect. The WiFi module has decreased it's range since iOS7 and keeps on decreasing every update. *sigh* Apple, you are so good at luring people's money. Even tough I have an iPad 4, the old one is still usable.

17. tacarat

Posts: 854; Member since: Apr 22, 2013

Proactive? I hope its not another blemish on their record.

21. frydaexiii

Posts: 1476; Member since: Dec 01, 2011

All all I saw is: 1) 2012 Multi-windows 2) 2012 Google Now 3) Still will never be up to speed with Google Maps or Here Maps 4) 2013 What KitKat was supposed to be 5) Spotify ripoff 6) 2014 Galaxy Note Pro 7) 2014 Android Wear. Not bad. We'll see where this goes. (Probably nowhere we "fandroids" haven't already been, but sure, we'll see)

22. darkkjedii

Posts: 30972; Member since: Feb 05, 2011

Man I hope ios 9 brings multi window. That would rock! !!

23. surethom

Posts: 1668; Member since: Mar 04, 2009

live-streaming the event??? Really, if once again on ONLY apple devices then :(. live-stream to everyone, apple is so closed minded.

25. Scott93274

Posts: 6032; Member since: Aug 06, 2013

Yeah, but if you recall last September's exclusive to Apple only live stream of the new iPhone, they completely screwed it up. So odds are if they only permit streaming on iOS devices then you won't be alone in your frustration about not being able to see the conference. You'll also have all the Apple crowd angry and frustrated as well.

24. surethom

Posts: 1668; Member since: Mar 04, 2009

If multiuser is going to be enabled (uses more storage), I wonder if apple will FINALLY stop releasing 8gb & 16gb devices, 32gb should be the minimum, its 2015 & storage is so so cheap.

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