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iOS 9 review roundup: Did Apple deliver on its big promises?

September 16th, 2015 at 3:15 PM
Apple iOS 9 Review Roundup

iOS 9 is out today, but the real question is whether you should install it or wait for iOS 9.1 to come out and fix the inevitable bugs? We’ve scoured the web for some of the world’s most respected tech reviewers to give you a better idea about whether upgrading to iOS 9 is the right decision for you.

DON’T MISS: iOS 9: The 9 best new features

Joanna Stern of The Wall Street Journal finds that many iOS 9 features are derivative of things we’ve already seen from Google, Microsoft and Samsung. That said, she thinks they add up to create an update that delivers serious improvements, particularly in the realm of battery life:

“Wait, wait, more battery life after updating?” Yep, you read that right, but before you ditch your charger for the weekend, the power-saving benefits of iOS 9 require some explanation.

Apple promises an extra hour of battery life after the update. In our grueling, far-from-typical battery test, which cycles through a series of websites with brightness set to 65%, the iPhone 6 with iOS 9 lasted 40 extra minutes. Those savings come from tweaks Apple has made to better manage the power efficiency of its own apps, including Safari.

Federico Veticci of MacStories wrote a truly massive 48,000-word review of iOS 9. If you skip ahead to his summary, you’ll see he think Apple did a fine job of accomplishing its mission of delivering a more stable OS that delivers stronger battery power:

iOS 9 isn’t Apple’s new Snow Leopard. Just because some additions and changes may not be as massively popular or be instantly recognizable as a new design and custom keyboards were, it doesn’t mean they don’t exist. The company has put more resources into optimizing iOS, and early results are encouraging. Low Power Mode makes a difference when battery is running low, and developers will be able to support it in their apps; the entire OS feels snappier and more stable in daily usage.

iMore’s Rene Ritchie also gives iOS 9 his seal of approval and he thinks it’s just what iPhone and iPad users have been waiting for after the past two years of whirlwind changes in iOS 7 and iOS 8:

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.

AnandTech’s Brandon Chester says that you shouldn’t underestimate just how important of an update iOS 9 is, especially for the iPad:

When you just consider the iPad iOS 9 might be the biggest and most important update that Apple has ever shipped.

Multitasking has a profound impact on how you can use an iPad. No longer do you need to interrupt your current task to quickly check another application, as you can now slide it in from the side. Watching videos is no longer something that prevents you from performing any other tasks, because now we have picture-in-picture support. The iPad Air 2 and now the iPad Mini 4 go even further with split screen multitasking, allowing you to have two applications running in the foreground at the same time. The boost to productivity that split screen multitasking enables will be enormous once applications enable support for it. To me, iOS 9 feels very focused on breaking down many of the limitation that have held the iPad back as a productivity device.

And finally, Ars Technica’s Andrew Cunningham notes that iOS 9’s best features won’t be available to everyone who installs the software. That said, he believes you should upgrade to the new version anyway:

The worst thing we can say about the new release is that its biggest, best new contributions—the things that make the iPad feel more like its own device and less like a big iPhone—are only available to a sliver of existing devices. Slide Over and Picture-in-Picture need an iPad from 2013 or later, and the truly transformative Split View mode needs a cutting-edge model. The rest of the operating system is about spit-and-polish, taking existing features (Siri, Spotlight, Maps) and extending them in logical ways.


But if you’re running iOS 8, update. There’s no reason not to, and there’s nothing keeping you from doing it.

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