With the Apple Worldwide Developers Conference (WWDC) on the horizon, one of the most anticipated releases will be the new iOS 9 operating system. This is a traditional release for Apple at the WWDC, and this year’s release will be particularly important for Apple, as it attempts to create a profoundly stable system ahead of the release of the iPhone 7.
At the time of writing, all available evidence would seem to point to the fact that Apple will delay the iPhone 7 until 2016. This will give Apple the opportunity to perfect the iOS software before this critical smartphone is released. With the iPhone 7 expected to be particularly revolutionary, this will place huge demands on the OS. In the meantime, Apple will simply upgrade its iPhone 6 range during 2015, with a new iPhone 6s and iPhone 6s Plus anticipated by analysts, alongside a smaller iPhone 6c version.
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iOS 9 – Apple to focus on enterprise
So what can we expect from iOS 9 when it is released? Well, one feature of this software which is set to be particular prominent is the emphasis that Apple will place on the enterprise aspect of the operating system. It could be quite reasonably asserted that Apple was slow to understand the potential of these products to attract the enterprise marketplace. This is perhaps understandable, but it has allowed other companies to establish a strong foothold in the market.
Whereas Apple is an undoubted powerhouse in consumer electronics, it does not enjoy the same status in the enterprise marketplace. Whereas BlackBerry would love to have the sort of market penetration that Apple enjoys with everyday members of the public, it can always console itself with the fact that these devices are extremely successful in the corporate world. While BlackBerry smartphones are no longer a major feature of the high street as they were at one time, we are increasingly likely to see BlackBerry smartphones operating in a working environment.
Thus, Apple wishes to close the gap on market leaders such as BlackBerry and ensure that the iPhone is operating more regularly in an enterprise setting. Apple has already made transformations to the iOS operating system in order to achieve this, most notably the fact that mobile developers are no longer locked out of iOS application programming interfaces. Certainly Apple likes developers to produce applications and software for the consumer marketplace, but it is not doing far more to encourage enterprise developers as well.
So onces the iOS 9 operating system is available at the WWDC, we can be certain that there will be many enterprise-friendly features included. iOS 8 beefed up the app security feature that distinguishes between apps installed by the user from the Apple App Store and those installed by IT. This has the very useful function of enabling IT administration to apply specific rules to enterprise applications which wish to restrict data sharing.
In a world in which external threats such as hacking are so problematical for companies of all sizes, this was a wise move by Apple, and one that will certainly contributed to the enterprise-quality of its devices. It is also expected that iOS9 will improve data and device management tools in accordance with this focus.
Apple Watch focus
By the time that the iOS 9 release is made public, the Apple Watch will have been on sale for a couple of months, and it is probable that Apple will also include some smartwatch-related functionality in this operating system release. The Apple Watch is an extremely important device for Apple considering that it represents part of a wider strategy to increase the number of revenue streams that the company produces. With this in mind, iOS will almost certainly feature some innovations aimed at the Apple Watch series, with the general intention of providing a second boost to sales after the initial release of the device.
With a few months still left to the release of the iOS 9 operating system, there is also still time for Apple to upgrade the existing iOS 8 software. So it is difficult to predict whether some very feasible features will be part of the next operating system, or whether they will be upgrades to the existing iOS 8 software.
But although the Apple proprietary software system has been praised for quite some time, the release of iOS 8 certainly resulted in more bugs than Apple would have liked. Annoying glitches like shaky animations and delayed notifications should be fixed in iOS 9, while many less high-profile errors could also be corrected.
CarPlay comes to the fore
It is also likely that iOS 9 will place a particular emphasis on CarPlay. This was, of course, included in the iOS 8 operating system, but the last 12 months has seen Apple moving to compete strongly in this arena. Apple has been continually linked with the electric car manufacturer Tesla, and while an Apple car could also be on the agenda, the reason suggested for these meetings is that Apple wants eventually to dominate in-car software systems.
Thus, iOS 9 is highly likely to improve CarPlay functionality in an attempt to make this the standout software package of its type. In the constant push to create new revenue streams, the automobile will be a new battleground for Samsung and Apple, Android and iOS, in the coming years.
Beats Streaming Music Service
Also predicted by many analysts for the WWDC is a Beats Streaming Music Service. Apple paid a significant amount of money to acquire this brand, and has yet to really make too much of it. It is widely expected that there could be some sort of a merger between iTunes and the Beats service in the next few months, which would pave the way for an increasing Apple emphasis on music going forward.
iOS 9 is therefore expected to have far more of a music-related functionality than previous iterations of the operating system. This will be very much in-line with Apple strategy in the near future, as the consumer electronics giant targets another niche which it considers to be particularly lucrative.