iOS 9: Already Over It.

Maybe this is a sign of a solid update for once...

September 18, 2015

It's not necessarily a negative thing, once a year-ish, the nerds at Apple wow us with a bunch of new features (often already available on other machines) and people crush your Facebook with posts like these listing why they love it or hate it or whatever. Usually, I like to sit back and enjoy the rants and anger spewing forth from various early adopters.

This time, with the launch of iOS 9, I couldn't wait to get my dirty paws on the update because it offered one significant update I'd been dreaming of for the last year: Low Power Mode. Last year, my pal Kool Keith got his new Samsung phone and proudly showed me how he could take his phone with 7% battery, throw it into a power save mode, and watch his beautiful screen go monochrome, shut down the unnecessary apps, and still let him stay in touch with his buds. He could save battery without shutting himself off from the world, then switch back and call the Uber to get to the next party. I couldn't wait for Apple to do the same.

They did not deliver.

iOS 9 Low Power Mode

Oh good, it will stop checking my email. That's about it. I've had my phone in Low Power Mode all morning and see very little benefit. Cool. Not cool. Now let's be fair, that's the one thing I was looking for. All the other stuff has left me unmoved and just plain over it. That's actually a pretty good thing. While on previous updates, my friends would lose everything off their phone, find that their batteries went dead in 89 seconds (exaggerated), and other shenanigans. This time, I've seen very little of that - a sign that the updates are either super boring, or actually working. Here are a few things that I found are cool with this update:

New iOS 9 keyboard

  • New Keyboard: with this update, one simple update could mean a ton. The keyboard no longer leaves you guessing what Shift mode you're currently using. Now, when a letter stands to be lower-case, you'll find the matching symbol representing the key you're about to strike. Psychologically this is a big step. We're taught our written language should looks for years in school, and that conditioning is finally massaged with this update.
  • Fancy New Font: It makes me grumpy to write this, but Apple also introduced their brand new font, San Francisco, and ditched long time winner Helvetica (RIP). It's clean and crisp and should help to modernize the look of their now iconic font.
  • Back To: When using an app sometimes you'll be sent to another function on the phone, or maybe be interrupted by a text message. Now, when this happens look at the top of your screen where you'd usually see the 1 of 5 bars reminding you that you didn't check to see if your phone worked before moving into your new apartment - there is now a trigger to head back a level to whever you came from previously - sort of a trail of breadcrumbs.

iOS 9 Back To feature

  • Siri got way stronger: evidently I still mumble a lot or she hates my nasally voice, but Siri does a better/scarier job trying to figure out what you're up to by making recommendations when you swipe from left to right on the home screen. Suggestions for your crew that you've been talking to a bunch or the apps that you may be headed to.

iOs 9 Spotlight Search

Gross. I'm so predictable. Why couldn't something smarter show up there... Also Bryce is #theworst.

  • More siri: Now when you search your Spotlight, it will finally be smart enough to search your contacts, too...

iOS 9 Spotlight Contact Search

  • Still more Siri: Finally, Siri should do a way better job of doing the things you need like sending texts, setting reminders, and giving driving directions. One sweet tweak, you can now call out song titles from your music collection or Apple Music, and Siri will track it down for you - great if you need hands free!

iOS 9 Siri the DJ

I still haven't updated my iPad as I understand the improvements are huge. All of these little adjustments to me have already become second nature and there are tons more. The new iOS is supposed to helo keep the apps from being such battery hogs and keep your device running longer. I don't buy it since Apple has previously always delivered on making the new iOS immediately make my two generation old device feel like a dinosaur, but that's the nature of the Fear of Missing Out culture into which we're embedded.

I'm already over iOS 9, and that's a good thing. So far it works with few bugs and runs smoothly. That's a win in my book.