A few thoughts on iOS 9

My day is ending, and I thought I would write down a few thoughts about iOS before I went to bed.

The update to iOS 9 came out at noon, and I downloaded it on my iPad (Air 2) and my iPhone (6) moments afterward.   I had a meeting to attend, so I figured I could leave my devices in my office, and if they downloaded, great.  If not, no worries.

Well, they both downloaded just fine.  iOS updates didn’t use to be that way.  It used to be a hit or miss thing on the first day if you wanted to update, because Apple’s servers couldn’t handle the load.  Not anymore.  My wife was able to update her phone this evening without any issues, either.

Sure, there are some differences in iOS 9.  The app switcher now goes to layered cards versus a row of cards.  You can use “glance” (swipe from the right side of the screen) to check another app for a second, and then return to your current app.  And if you have an iPad Air 2 or iPad Mini 4 (new at Apple), you can run split screen mode.  One other caveat–the app you want to run has to be able to be displayed in split screen mode, which is at the mercy of the developers.  Apps that can work with your current app in split screen mode are also shown in “glances”

Over the years, lots of people have demanded multiple apps in a split screen.  I have an Android device and a Windows device, and I just don’t use a tablet that way.  The screen size is too limited.  Perhaps it makes more sense on an iPad Pro, and I can see times, as a teacher, where I would want to show two apps.  Most of the time though, I think I’ll simply use one screen.

There are a few other changes that are readily apparent–the font is different and harder to read by my 42 year old eyes.  On the iPad, you now have a row of four icons in the folders (I think it used to be three), and the biggest change is the keyboard.  First of all, the keyboard shows whether you are typing in caps or lower case; and second, if you use two fingers on the keyboard, it acts like a trackpad.  A two-finger tap on the keyboard will select things.  This makes moving to the right spot in your document SO MUCH BETTER than the old magnifying glass.  This has been a feature of a few apps for years…I wonder why Apple took so long to implement the idea.

The only other thing to note is that there are 8,000,000 app updates today.  And if you use a computer for mirroring (e.g. Reflector, Air Server, XMirage), these programs no longer work with iOS 9.  Reflector 2 works, as does the Apple TV.  But none of the other mirroring apps work.  Don’t forget…you can also use a lighting cable on a Mac (Yosemite or newer) and show an iPad via QuickTime…but the joy in mirroring comes in wireless mirroring.

There are blogs (see iMore, for example) that will go into much further depth on iOS 9.  There are many more improvements to the OS, including with Siri.  For me, if Siri simply works better with every release, that’s a win.

Most of your apps will work with iOS 9, and other issues will be addressed in the days to come.  This is really an update meant to fix problems and bring some new features without redesigning the OS.  It has been tested like crazy by developers and public beta–it is probably safe for you to install, too.  I’d do it for the keyboard tools alone.  Today one author said that he now prefers typing on his iPad versus his MacBook for the trackpad feature alone.


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