As the ever important Apple Worldwide Developers Conference (WWDC) draws closer, more information has seeped into the public domain regarding what we can expect from iOS 9. Although there have been some suggestions that Apple may not release the next generation of its mobile operating system as this event, it appears increasingly likely that we will see iOS 9 debut at the WWDC conference.
iOS 9 to clamp down on jailbreaking
One of the rumors regarding the iOS 9 mobile operating system which has emerged recently will be of interest to many iPhone users. Apple has fought a long battle against jailbreaking since the very first iPhone, with this unfortunate aspect of the iPhone series enabling software piracy and the removal of hardware restrictions on Apple’s operating system. Although the iOS system is known to be a very secure and safe operating system, there are still software and hardware exploits of which ingenious hackers can take advantage, and this has been an ongoing problem for Apple over the last eight years.
This is certainly an issue that Apple has taken seriously. The consumer electronics giant has previously pursued legal proceedings against jailbreaking, and one might imagine that facing the corporate lawyers of the world’s first $700 billion market capped company would be a pretty intimidating prospect. However, Apple has been unable to achieve its goals in the continuing legal struggle against piracy, and jailbreaking has remained a major issue for the corporation throughout the lifecycle of the iPhone series.
Jailbreaking is essentially a directory technique that enables users to access the hidden file directory of all iDevices (iPhones, iPads and iPod touches). Once hackers have access to this file directory, it is then possible for them to make alterations to critical system files. This will then enable piracy of Apple software to take place, and also for the user in question to introduce unauthorized programs into the device.
While Apple is primarily concerned with jailbreaking because of the commercial costs to itself as a corporation, there can also be issues related to users’ devices. Jailbreaking tends to affect the stability of iPhones when carried out in a sub-par fashion, ensuring that the smartphone does not run as smoothly as would otherwise be the case. In extreme cases, jailbreaking has also been known to make the iPhone ‘brick’ completely; essentially rendering it utterly unusable. In a few very isolated cases, the display of the iPhone has even been completely unable to turn on.
Clearly this is a major issue for Apple, and it is one that the corporation evidently attends to address with the release of iOS 9. Cynics might suggest that Apple has been attempting to deal with jailbreaking for quite some time, and has been singularly unsuccessful in doing so. But Apple thinks it has cracked the problem this time round, with a new security measure that will apparently be introduced in this generation of the iPhone operating system.
iOS 9 introduces Rootless
Rootless is a new software element of iOS 9 which is intended to prevent software pirates from jailbreaking all Apple iDevices. Without meaning to get too technical, kernel-level security will deter users from reaching the critical system files, and this will make Apple devices considerably more secure. According to early reports about this software innovation, the security measures related to Rootless will be so stringent that it will be impossible to reach the most critical system files even with administrator-level access.
Although hackers will almost certainly attempt to circumnavigate these new security measures, it does seem that the plans which Apple has put in place will see a new era in mobile security dawn. These strong deterrents have not appeared in previous versions of iOS, and it seems as if Apple has found a possible solution to widespread jailbreaking.
iOS 9 eliminates Google Now
Elsewhere, in the ongoing battle between Apple and Google, it seems that the iPhone manufacturer has struck another blow. Apple has always been a company that emphasizes its own software and hardware independence, even if it is dependent on companies such as Foxconn for manufacturing, and Samsung for chip provision.
But Apple takes great pride in producing its own software, and as mentioned previously in this article has an overarching policy of attempting to exclude all unwanted third-party programs. With this in mind, it seems that Apple will dispense with the Google Now service when iOS 9 is released, with the consumer electronics giant instead including Proactive as a service built into the mobile operating system.
According to early reports about this new piece of software, Proactive will aggregate information across Siri, Contacts, Calendar, Passbook, and third-party apps to create contextually aware information. This is obviously intended to compete with, and marginalize, Google Now, which is rapidly become an important aspect of the Android operating system. Indicative of its high profile in the Android series is the fact that the latest Android Lollipop release introduced a dedicated Google Now page to the left of the home screen.
Google Now has also become a critical foundation of the entire Android Wear platform, and with Apple having recently released its embryonic smartwatch, the Apple watch, this could be seen as an essential way of distinguishing its smartwatch from its Android rivals.
iOS 9 to focus on Maps and smart homes
Aside from these new aspects of iOS 9, as ValueWalk has reported previously, it is probable that Apple will focus on new maps and smart home-related functionality when iOS 9 is released. Each of these new avenues for Apple will be considered an important commercial market in the coming years, and these will be critical aspects of the new operating system. Apple will also be working on ironing out some of the bugs that appeared in iOS 8, and ensuring that this latest release of the operating system is as slick as possible.
With just weeks to go until WWDC, we’ll soon find out what Apple has in store for its latest mobile operating system.