iOS 9, Mac OS X 10.11 will bring ‘big focus on quality’, smaller apps, legacy iPhone/iPad support and more

BY Evan Selleck

Published 22 May 2015

iOS 9 Concept

iOS 9 is more than likely going to be unveiled at this year’s Worldwide Developers Conference in June, and details about the next iteration of Apple’s mobile operating system continue to find their way to the surface.

According to a new, in-depth report published recently by 9to5Mac, Apple will be making some major changes to iOS, but all with a focus on making sure that more people are happy with using the software than ever before. Indeed, the report indicates that Apple will put a “big focus on quality,” and that the majority of changes for the platform in general will specifically target optimizations under the hood. This lines up with a previous report issued on February 9.

The report also suggests that Apple engineers were the ones that wanted to focus on “Snow Leopard-style stability” for the launch of both iOS and Mac OS X this year. This follows the less-than-stellar, and bugged launch of both platforms recently. The Apple executives reportedly said they wouldn’t completely ignore new features in this release, but that a focus on optimization and quality would be the main goal.

One of the major new additions to OS X 10.11 worth noting is the inclusion of Control Center, as revealed in the report. Instead of sliding up from the bottom of the display, though, as it does in iOS, it would slide from the left, and offer controls for music and other iOS-like features.

Security continues to be a major focus for Apple, and that will continue with a new “kernel-level feature for both OS X and iOS” called Rootless. This is meant to do several different things, including preserve the security of sensitive data on devices, increase the safety of extensions and prevent malware. Interestingly enough, this feature will reportedly deal a big blow to jailbreakers with iOS, but the feature will reportedly feature a shut-off option in OS X.

Apple will also put a bigger focus on iCloud moving forward, transitioning many apps to use the service that aren’t yet. That includes apps that are using an IMAP back-end at the moment, including Calendar, Reminders and Notes.

Trusted Wi-Fi is apparently in the cards for iOS and Mac OS X as well, but this feature might not make it for iOS 9 or OS X 10.11. If it does, though, users will be able to access trusted Wi-Fi routers without any additional security measures, while access to non-trusted wireless routers will be matched with heavier encryption.

Good news for owners of older devices, too, as the report indicates Apple will be bringing legacy support to devices like the original iPad mini and even the iPhone 4S. To do this, Apple has reportedly restructured its engineering process, and made changes to the way it developers iOS 9 at a core level so that it can function better on the older devices:

Instead of developing a feature-complete version of iOS 9 for older hardware and then removing a handful of features that do not perform well during testing, Apple is now building a core version of iOS 9 that runs efficiently on older A5 devices, then enabling each properly performing feature one-by-one. Thanks to this new approach, an entire generation (or two) of iPhones, iPads, and iPod touches will be iOS 9-compatible rather than reaching the end of the iOS line.

And, finally, with the launch of Swift 2.0, Apple’s design language, the size of apps will reportedly get smaller by a distinct amount. This will be done with the new language reaching “Application Binary Interface (ABI) stability,” with the code libraries being pre-installed in iOS and OS X moving forward, meaning the apps will require less space on the devices when installed.

Leading up to this, reports have surfaced that outlined other new features coming to iOS 9 and OS X 10.11, including the addition of the Apple-made San Francisco font being brought to both platforms. On top of that, Siri will be getting a makeover to better match it with the Siri experience on the Apple Watch. And, just recently, it was reported that iOS 9 will indeed bring transit directions to the Maps app.

What do you think of iOS 9 so far? Looking forward to the update?

[via 9to5Mac]