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Apple’s unreleased iOS 13 software was just spotted for the first time, and we can’t wait

Updated Jan 3rd, 2019 8:00AM EST
Apple iOS 13 Update
Image: Zach Epstein, BGR

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Wednesday was a very rough day for Apple and the carnage is obviously carrying over to Thursday. The company issued a rare earnings warning after the market closed on Wednesday afternoon, stating that its holiday-quarter performance is expected to fall well short of the guidance the company issued last October. Apple and its CEO Tim Cook blamed its shortfall on worse-than-expected iPhone sales in China, but pundits are already tossing around theories that iPhone sales are weaker than expected in other key regions, too. If that is indeed the case, it shouldn’t come as much of a surprise considering how expensive Apple’s current iPhone lineup is. Not only that, but the latest iPhones lack any novel marquee features that might encourage people to upgrade. Instead, the iPhone XS is a faster iPhone X, the iPhone XS Max is a bigger iPhone X, and the iPhone XR is a more colorful iPhone X. That’s pretty much it.

The news cycle surrounding Apple will undoubtedly be gloomy for the foreseeable future. Things might get even worse later this year when Apple’s next-generation iPhones are announced. If early reports pan out, Apple’s iPhone 11 series will reuse the same design for a third consecutive year, which is disconcerting to say the least considering how many exciting new smartphone designs we’re expecting to see in 2019. Samsung, for example, will release new flagship Galaxy phones that are almost all screen, with just a tiny hole cut out in a corner for the front-facing cameras. Luckily, iPhone users are in store for some excitement as well in 2019, and they won’t even have to buy a new phone in order to enjoy it. That’s right, iOS 13 is set to debut this summer ahead of its anticipated September launch, and expectations couldn’t be higher.

Apple’s iOS 12 software update last year was fantastic, but it was also quite boring. iOS 11 had been so problematic for Apple that the company decided to focus mainly on bug fixes and performance enhancements in iOS 12. According to multiple reports from independent sources, Apple even delayed a number of exciting new features and pushed them back to 2019 in order to focus on optimizing iOS 12. The end result achieved exactly what Apple had hoped. It made iPhones and iPads feel brand new again, speeding up performance and even improving battery life in the process. The downside, however, was that there really weren’t any exciting new features to be found.

That’s where iOS 13 comes in… we hope. Because Apple chose to focus mainly on fixes and optimizations in iOS 12, plenty of exciting new features are expected to debut in iOS 13. We all know Apple doesn’t plan to show off iOS 13’s new features for several months, but we might get a taste of things to come long before Apple’s annual WWDC conference rolls around this coming June. Why? Because iOS 13 is now being actively tested ahead of its release, which means leaks should start trickling in soon enough.

MacRumors noted in a blog post that the site has begun to see visits from iPhones running iOS 13. Analytics software is capable of determining device types and operating system versions for each and every visit to a website, so it’s easy to tell when an iPhone or iPad is running iOS 13. The blog says that devices running iOS 13 first began visiting the site in October, and things picked up in November and December.

BGR can confirm that devices running iOS 13 have been visiting our site as well. In fact, we first began to see iPhone and iPad models running iOS 13 all the way back in August, as you can see in the screenshot below.

As for what we can expect from Apple’s hotly anticipated iOS 13 update, details are few and far between for the time being. Early rumors suggest that the iPad will get some nifty new features such as in-app tabs and updates to Split View. As for the iPhone, rumors from last year suggest Apple might give the world its first big home screen revamp since iOS 7 all the way back in 2014. As we noted earlier, new details should begin to leak now that iOS 13 is being tested more actively, so we’ll just have to wait and see what’s in store from Apple’s next big iOS update.

Zach Epstein
Zach Epstein Executive Editor

Zach Epstein has been the Executive Editor at BGR for more than 10 years. He manages BGR’s editorial team and ensures that best practices are adhered to. He also oversees the Ecommerce team and directs the daily flow of all content. Zach first joined BGR in 2007 as a Staff Writer covering business, technology, and entertainment.

His work has been quoted by countless top news organizations, and he was recently named one of the world's top 10 “power mobile influencers” by Forbes. Prior to BGR, Zach worked as an executive in marketing and business development with two private telcos.