iOS 9 reviews: The critics like Apple's new mobile OS
iOS 9 launches today, and many of you might be wondering if it's worth it to upgrade to the latest version of Apple's mobile operating system. I've been running the beta version for quite a while now, and I love it.
[ Related: 7 tips and tricks for iOS 9 ]
But don't take my word for it, check out a sampling of reviews from Apple critics around the Web below. The consensus among the critics seems to be that iOS 9 is indeed worth upgrading to on your iPad, iPhone, or iPod touch.
The iMore review of iOS 9
Rene Ritchie at iMore has a very deep and detailed review of iOS 9 that is worth savoring:
iOS 9 had a tough job to do. After consecutive years of major changes many were vocal about wanting a "Snow Leopard" year—a release focused not on yet more splashy new features but on stability and reliability. Except, of course, for the few new features they really wanted, and each different from the other.
And Apple has, in large part, delivered just that. They pushed some plans further off into the future and invested in solving and salving some of the biggest problems and pain points of the that last couple of years. The result is iOS 9, an update that, like Snow Leopard, has no major new features... except for all its major new features.
And many of those new features are built entirely on the work of that last few years. From Auto Layout and Size Classes we get multi-app multitasking for iPad. From Extensibility we get content blockers, game recording, audio plugins, network extenders, and more. And from Continuity we get the Search API, universal links, deep links, back links, and more. We're getting the payoff, both planned and serendipitous, of all those pieces having been moved into place, and it's only just the beginning.
From download sizes to battery life, search to multitasking, it's better in ways that make day to day use and enjoyment of the iPhone and iPad better. It's not the radical redesign of iOS 7 or the functional revolution of iOS 8, but iOS 9 has the performance and polish that makes everything that came before better, and sets the iPhone and iPad up for everything that comes next.
The Ars Technica review of iOS 9
Andrew Cunningham at Ars Technica gave iOS 9 a thumbs up with a few caveats:
Last year we said that iOS 8 felt like the second half of the iOS 7 update, the one that completed the transition between iOS' skeuomorphic era and our current reality, where the lines between "mobile device" and "computer" blur a little more every day. iOS 9 takes that foundation and builds on top of it without radically altering things, much in the same way that iOS 6 built on top of the advancements in iOS 4 and iOS 5.
iOS 7 and 8 made big changes, and those changes could make the early releases of those operating systems frustrating to use. iOS 7 didn't settle down until version 7.1, and iOS 8 didn't feel quite right until 8.3. iOS 9 doesn't feel like it needs a major bugfix release before we can recommend it without hesitation for every device that supports it (and we should know, we tested it on most of them).
Visual tweaks continue to refine the aesthetic introduced in iOS 7. The software keyboard in particular is a big improvement.
The iPad was in need of some attention, and this update's multitasking features and hardware keyboard support give it that attention.
Supports all hardware that ran iOS 8 and shouldn't really slow anything down or consume much more space.
Improved battery life on some devices, and Low Power Mode should help you squeeze a bit more out of your phone in a pinch.
Updates require less space to install, and the OS includes several other space-saving tricks.
Proactive Siri and third-party search APIs are welcome additions to the platform.
Additions to existing apps like Safari and Notes are generally useful.
Available to everyone today.
Maps public transit supports a discouragingly small number of cities after three years of waiting.
Proactive Siri still isn't as capable or as useful as Google Now.
iPhone 4S' cramped screen is still a problem, given that many buttons and boxes expand in iOS 9.
No Low Power Mode on iPads or iPods.
Few iPads are actually powerful enough to use the best of the new features.
The AnandTech review of iOS 9
Brandon Chester at AnandTech noted that Siri has gotten better in iOS 9, but could still use some refinements on the search screen:
Siri is a feature that Apple can constantly improve on the back end, and I can definitely notice that the accuracy and speed of Siri has improved in recent times. I think Apple’s attempt to make Siri more proactive and intelligent didn’t really work out though, particularly the search screen to the left of your main home screen. I just didn’t feel that the suggestions for apps, contacts, and news were relevant to me. However, the improvements to search itself are substantial, and this will only become even more evident as developers allow their applications to be indexed by search so users can search through them for information or content.
It’s probably not surprising to hear that iOS 9 is better than iOS 8. On the iPhone I think iOS 9 brings along many smaller improvements throughout the OS, along with new APIs that developers can implement to improve the user experience. There are definitely some big changes such as the addition of Apple News and Transit in Apple Maps, but these are again just strengthening the core services of iOS rather than adding incredible new abilities and features.
iOS 9 is definitely a huge release for the iPad though, and because I’ve been limited to Apple’s own applications I’ve only been able to scratch the surface of what capabilities the new multitasking features can enable. I think the iPad definitely deserved a major release that focused on it though, and it’s clear that Apple has had many of these changes in the pipeline for quite some time now.
In the end, iOS 9 offers something new and great for all iOS users, and particularly those who use an iPad. With Apple expanding their portfolio of iOS devices and implementing new features like 3D Touch there are a number of directions they could go in with future releases of iOS, and only time will tell which direction they choose.
The Cult of Mac review of iOS 9
Buster Hein at Cult of Mac notes that speed is one of the most important virtues of iOS 9:
After two years of fine-tuning Jony Ive’s iOS makeover, Apple has delivered what feels like the full vision of what iOS 7 promised. It’s sleeker, simpler and speedier.
There’s no question about whether you should upgrade: iOS 9 is better than iOS 8 in every way (and it’s supported on all devices that run on iOS 8).
iOS 9 will save you time. From ad blockers to Back links, ProActive suggestions to iPad multitasking, iOS 9 is about making Apple devices work for you. You’ll spend less time fiddling with menus and endless apps, and more on stuff you actually want to do.
The Next Web review of iOS 9
Owen Williams at The Next Web considers iOS 9 a must-have upgrade for users:
Here’s the deal: this is a great upgrade and you should do it today — it’s worth it. iOS 9 fixed all my major issues with the software from both iOS 7 and 8, while adding thoughtful enhancements that make it much easier to use.
It’s far easier to upgrade, since you’ll need less free space. The improvements to Siri, proactive suggestions and battery life enhancements alone are worth upgrading for right now and overall iOS 9 is faster and more stable than any previous release.
iOS 9 is available for iPhone 4s, 5, 5s, 6 and 6 Plus owners from today, as well as the majority of iPad owners.
You can update by opening the Settings app, tapping on General, then Software Update.
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