As Apple continues to ready itself for its Worldwide Developers Conference (WWDC), many people are wondering what shape iOS 9 will take at this event. Apple typically unveils the latest version of its flagship mobile operating system at the WWDC event, and this is expected it to be a formality at the 2015 edition.
High on the list of priorities for iOS 9 will be improvements to the stability of the software. iOS 8 was decried by some consumers and critics for its buggy nature, and Apple will certainly be looking to make significant improvements to the software when it releases later this year.
iOS 9 Maps focus
In terms of new features, recent rumours suggest that the system-wide font which is applied to iOS 9 may be changing. Although this may sound relatively trivial, considering that hundreds of millions of iPhone users worldwide have become accustomed to one typeset, any such change will have a surprisingly large emotional impact. There are also practical considerations for Apple as well.
However, reports suggest that Apple will employ the San Francisco font in iOS 9, following on from its introduction in the Apple Watch. This is specifically designed to be superior in smaller display screens, and scales more dynamically with both small and large text sizes.
Apple is also planning to improve its Maps service. This has to some degree lagged behind the widely recognised Google Maps, and Apple will be hoping to address this situation with some new functionality this time out. In particular, Apple has signalled internally its intention of launching the Transit service with this iOS 9 release, according to sources close to the company. This particular software will enable iPhone users to navigate mass transit via the official Apple Maps application.
The path for this has already been readied by Apple removing Google Maps as the official provider of data on the iOS operating system. This is just another front in the endless battle between the two mega-corporations, with Apple evidently viewing the Maps niche as one with a huge potential for growth.
In addition to the central functionality of this program, Apple is also intending to include a trip planning feature in the Transit application, alongside a new view for the software, which will settle in alongside the existing Standard, Hybrid, and Satellite/Flyover offerings. Apple had previously pulled this feature from iOS 8 very late into the development of the software, apparently due to reliability and compatibility issues.
Apple has also been working on announcing its indoor mapping project. This ongoing program will enable users of its iOS Maps service to navigate major buildings, offices and landmarks more easily. This may not be part of the iOS 9 initial release, with the feature perhaps not ready to go live at the time of its unveiling, but it could be part of an update to iOS 9 at some point during the next 12 months. Sources close to Apple indicate that the company is already mapping out its own offices in Cupertino, California.
iOS 9 to enhance smart homes
Another new app included in iOS 9 will be intended to make a smart home management more fluent. This is set to be another significant area of growth for technology in the coming years, as more smart appliances are produced and the notorious Internet of Things system becomes more prominent.
This new software could in fact begin shipping as early as next month, and according to early reports Apple employees are already testing versions of this software. The program will be called simply Home, and it will enable users of Apple devices to set up smartphone products, group them into different rooms within a property, connect them to other Apple devices such as Apple TV, and allocate appropriate related products to purchase.
Although the app stops short of actually controlling your home, it will be an extremely useful tool in terms of setup. This will also be seen as very much a companion program for HomeKit, which Apple intends to be central to this new smart home niche in the near future.
Apple already has plans for HomeKit to be the foundation of its future smart home products, and for multiple devices within a single house to connect with each other via the iOS operating system. These devices can then all be controlled through the Siri personal assistant and other third-party applications. Clearly this is a technological niche which Apple has already given considerable thought to, and it will probably be a growing part of the iOS operating system as its capabilities develop further.
This functionality comes just days after Apple completed the acquisition of Coherent Navigation; a global positioning company based in the Bay Area. This purchase is obviously intended to play a major role in Apple’s location technology services going forward, with the company focused on creating commercial navigation services based on partnership with large corporations such as a Boeing and Iridium.
iOS 9 to aid new revenue streams
With Apple having suffered a disappointing share price in the early months of 2014, it promised the city at that time that it would develop new revenue streams. It seems that the smart home and mapping technology which Apple evidently has earmarked for iOS 9 is part of another effort to expand commercially, and develop new product lines. This process began in earnest with the release of the iPhone 6 Plus and Apple Watch in at the last 12 months, and Apple is also predicted to strongly expand and branch out into such areas as in-car technology, and even possibly the manufacture of an electric car.
For the time being, iOS 9 will be somewhat less ambitious than this, but murmurings about this software indicates that it will play a significant role in the future direction of the corporation.