Everything that’s worth knowing about iOS 9


iOS-9-iPhone-6S

Apple has described iOS 9, much as Google has Android 6.0 Marshmallow, as an update that brings tweaks and refinements to improve the overall performance and usability of the operating system. Of course, there are some new features thrown in for good measure, and Apple has promised a smarter Siri, improved Maps and better multitasking.

Design and tweaks

Aesthetically, you won’t notice much new once iOS 9 is installed. It looks the same as iOS 8, albeit with a subtly prettier San Francisco font (as first seen on the Apple Watch) that replaces the traditional Helvetica seen on iOS devices.

Changes start to appear when you delve further into the OS. Notifications, for example, are now sorted chronologically, rather than being illogically grouped by app. As somebody who uses their iPhone a lot, this little change makes a big difference when it comes to catching up on missed emails and messages. I’m still disappointed that Notifications aren’t cleared when they are in apps, however, and Apple has yet to add an option to clear them all at once.

Multitasking has been given a makeover. A double-tap of the home button now shows your open apps in an elongated card view, not dissimilar to the multitasking view introduced in Android 5.0 Lollipop. This means you can better see what’s going on before choosing to jump into an app.

Another new feature makes it easier to switch back to a previous app, thanks to a small button that appears at the top left of the display.

Siri

Siri has many more strings to its bow in iOS 9. Sliding to the left-most menu reveals a list of ‘Siri Suggestions’ filled with your most recent contacts and apps, and headlines Siri thinks you might want to read. At the time of writing, Siri is recommending I read an article about Tony Abbott – so I think it still may need a little work.

That being said, it’s perhaps more intelligent than it gets credit for. Siri doesn’t just know that you’re a fan of Kingdom Rush and that it will be your go-to app. It registers your habits, learning, for example, that you call your mum every Saturday at 1pm, or that you check your emails every morning while commuting. One of our favourite features of iOS 9 is that plugging in headphones automatically fires up your music app of choice, be it Apple Music or Spotify.

Apps

Typically, Apple has given some of its own apps a lick of fresh paint in iOS 9. First up, Mail. If you get a phone call from an unknown number and that phone number is in your email, it will tell you who the call might be from. What’s more, if you use Apple’s Calendar app (I don’t), events will show up automatically.

Notes has been given a long-overdue overhaul as Apple sets its sights on the likes of Evernote. The app now supports formatting, photo insertion and handwriting, and you can switch between typing and drawing in seconds. It’s still no real contender for Evernote, but iCloud syncing.

Apple Maps has been given a major revamp in iOS 9. It’s now better at recommending local businesses, such as nearby restaurants, and has added public transport directions for a number of major cities.

Performance, battery life and security

Apple promises better battery life with iOS 9 but I haven’t noticed much of a difference. However, there is a new Low Power Mode which, until installing iOS 9, I didn’t realise how much I needed. Now, once you see the ‘red bar of death’, as I like to call it, switching on Low Power Mode provides enough juice for another three hours by turning off push notifications, dimming the screen and lessening the power used by the processor.

Apple has made some enhancements to the overall security credentials of iOS, adding a new six-digit passcode option and improved two-factor authentication.

In short

Truth is, most people upgrading to iOS 9 probably won’t notice much of a difference. But the small changes – be it the new font, improved Notifications or a battery-saving mode – will make a huge difference to many.

Is it worth upgrading? Yes. It’s by no means Apple’s most exciting iOS release, but it has given the overall usability of our iPhone 6 handset a much needed boost. Of course, those with an older device such as an iPhone 5 or iPad 2 may want to exercise more caution, but for those with a newer Apple device, there’s no question.

The good

Better multitasking, Siri improvements, Low Power mode, improved security, overall usability improvements, no major glitches.

The bad

Apple Maps still isn’t great, no option to clear all Notifications.

The ugly

Nothing.

iPhone 6S Repairs Brisbane – Screen Fixed

And just a reminder, Screen Fixed holds stock of iPhone 6S screens so we can complete your repairs on the spot.

Cheers

Stephen Batchelor

Why is Apple winning the smartphone battle?

iPhone-6s

Why is Apple winning the smartphone battle?

Apple has unveiled its 11th iPhone, the iPhone 6S. Earlier this year Samsung unveiled the Galaxy S6, which is the South Korean giant’s 9,986th smartphone.
Not really, but it feels like it is. The Galaxy S6 is just one part of Samsung’s long and wide-ranging attempt to dethrone the iPhone as the smartphone of choice for hundreds of millions of people, something that’s really not working.
At one point, the Galaxy S range of smartphones from Samsung looked like it could be a genuine challenger, the Galaxy S3 and Galaxy S4 sold in (relatively) huge numbers, and it looked like Samsung was on the right track.
However, in the past couple of years, as Samsung has seen sales of the Galaxy S5 falter, it has sought to diversify in order to hold its position as the world’s biggest smartphone manufacturer.

So… Many… Phones

And so this year, alongside the Galaxy S6, the Galaxy S6 edge, the Galaxy Note 5, the Galaxy S6 Edge+ and the Galaxy S6 active. Before the end of the year, we will likely see the Galaxy S6 mini, the Galaxy Note 5 Active and the Galaxy S6 mini active note edge+.

I’m not 100% about that last model, but you get my point. Samsung is making it increasingly difficult for users to decide which smartphone they should buy. In 2014 alone, Samsung released 56 smartphones, at current rates, it would take Apple 28 years to release the same number of new phones.
Samsung has said it is trying to cut down, and so far this year it has released “only” 21 smartphones, though if you include variants, that figure increases dramatically.

Slow and steady

On the other hand, Apple is following a much more restricted course. Everyone knows that every September brings a new iPhone, and while that might mean lower iPhone sales in the third quarter of every year as people hold off updating, it also means that consumers are not confused.

Add to this that update cycle where Apple refreshes the design of the iPhone every two years, while the alternate S update, which we just saw, improves upon an already excellent phone.
Apple gives users three basic choices – the 4.7-inch iPhone 6S, the 5.5-inch iPhone 6S Plus and the 4.5-inch iPhone 5S. While some may bemoan the lack of diversity, it means Apple can control the experience on the phones much more tightly.

The same but different

People know that the iPhone is a good phone. There’s little debating that, and Apple doesn’t want to upset that perception by launching something radically different.

Instead, it has taken the iPhone 6, which was universally praised by reviewers as well as customers, and improved it dramatically. It has made one of the best smartphone cameras even better, it has boosted performance with the A9 chip, it has added a unique and potentially very useful feature with 3D Touch. As Apple says, “The only thing that’s changed is everything.”

Samsung, on the other hand, changes the look and feel of its Galaxy S range pretty dramatically every year, adding and removing features at random and failing to provide a consistent experience for those looking to upgrade from a previous model. They may not look radically different at first glance, but pick them up and use them, and the subtle change of a button or sensor means learning all over again how the phone works.

A smart message

The issue isn’t about whether the Galaxy S6 and Galaxy S6 edge are good smartphones, they are, the issue is that Samsung simply does not communicate why they are great smartphones nearly as well as Apple does with the iPhone.
While Apple’s stagecraft at such events is typically superb, it is not immune to mistakes, as we saw with senior VP Eddy Cue’s embarrassing Apple Music presentation
The problem comes from the fact that Samsung is getting squeezed at both ends of the smartphone market. At the premium end, Apple is dominating while at the budget end of the market, where Samsung saw exponential growth in recent years, it is being surpassed by the Chinese smartphone makers who are offering better hardware at lower prices and are willing to undercut Samsung at every turn just to gain some market share.
Samsung needs to rethink its smartphone strategy, but it may already be too late to follow in Apple’s footsteps and offer customers a clear choice of the best technology the company has to offer in a small range of smartphones that will cover the majority of the market.

iPhone 6S Repairs

The iPhone 6S hasn’t shipped yet. Screen Fixed will hold stock when the device hits shelves.

Take it easy out there!

Stephen Bachelor