Apple Loop: The iPhone 6S Killer Feature, New MacBook A Mistake, iOS 9 …
Sir Taking a look back at another week of news from Cupertino, this week’s Apple Loop looks at the new contextual service ‘Proactive’, force-touch in iOS 9, legacy devices and iOS 9 support, stability for OSX update, reviewing the mistakes of the new MacBook, Target’s Apple Pay plans, native apps for Apple Watch, and Sir Jony Ive’s oblong issue.
Apple Loop is here to remind you of a few of the very many discussions that have happened around Apple over the last seven days (and you can read our weekly digest of Android news here on Forbes).
Apple Gets Contextual To Protect User Base
With so many web services and applications processing data, one of the biggest hurdles for any smartphone is getting relevant information to the user. Android’s use of Google Now attempts to cross this bridge by predicting what information a user will need in the near future. It looks like Apple will be follow suit with the debut of ‘Proactive’. Gordon Kelly looks at the evidence for this new service:
…next week Apple will unveil ‘Proactive’ as a key new service built into iOS 9. Proactive will aggregate information across Siri, Contacts, Calendar, Passbook, and third-party apps to create contextually aware information.
…Google has also started pushing Google Now on iOS as a key part of its Google iOS app ecosystem. Google apps have also become increasingly interlinked (eg Chrome can be the default browser from results in the Google Search app or Google Maps) which has given Google Now more prominence.
Consequently it should surprise no-one that Apple saw this coming. It bought third-party Google Now clone Cue in 2013 and now it appears time to bake that functionality into iOS 9.
Just as Apple Maps started as a ‘restrict Google’ play to become a cornerstone on iOS, Proactive will likely start as a ‘stop Google’ before building up its own personality and create more soft lock-in for iOS users.
iPhone 6S Killer Feature, As iOS 9 Prepares For The Force
As WWDC gets closer, Apple’s new additions to iOS 9 will become clearer, but one of them is already here. Gordon Kelly notes the addition of Force Touch to both OSX (in the new MacBook) and on the Apple Watch. Its inclusion in the next version of iOS 9 is a near-certainty:
For the uninitiated Force Touch was launched with the Apple Watch and has also now made it into the MacBook Pro range. It enables the screen (in the case of the Watch) or the touchpad (in the case of the MacBooks) to differentiate between the pressure of touches with stronger presses recognised as new commands or shortcuts.
iOS 9 will bring this to the iPhone 6S and iPhone 6S Plus (as previously speculated) with 9to5Mac saying it will offer contextually useful new features similar to those seen on the Watch and MacBooks. These include pressure sensitive fast forwarding in media players, one touch dictionary definitions when typing, one touch new calendar entries in the Calendar app, and instant dropping of new pins on Maps.
There’s another advantage to Force Touch… it’s going to be very hard for the competition to feature it in competing smartphones without it being incredibly obvious.
iOS 9 Set To Resurrect Legacy Devices
One other target for iOS 9 looks to be support for older iOS devices, typically those running the A5 processor. This includes the iPhone 4S and the original iPad mini. Updates to Apple’s mobile operating system have always put a lot of pressure on older hardware as more features are added on top of older silicon. Along with the focus on stability in iOS 9 there, is a push to improve the efficiency of the OS on older models. 9to5Mac’s Mark Gurman:
In what will come as a surprise to many people, our sources note that even A5-based Apple devices, including the original iPad mini and discontinued iPhone 4S, will be able to run iOS 9. In order to avoid the sluggishness and bugginess that was most notably seen in iOS 7 for the iPhone 4, Apple has restructured its software engineering process to better support older hardware.
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.
Are you ready to dig out your older hardware, or have you already sold it to pay for the newer models?
Stability Is Also The Keyword For OSX
As well as the update to iOS 9, WWDC will see the next version of OSX released in beta. OSX will also be focussing on a stable environment with less new features in this release than previous years.
According to sources within Apple’s software development departments, Apple engineers have been pushing executives for a Snow Leopard-style stability focus in 2015, following numerous bugs that clouded the launches of both iOS and OS X. Apple directors reportedly opposed a complete pause on new features, but agreed to focus on quality assurance by holding back some features that were initially planned for the latest operating system launches