Last week Apple released the public beta version of iOS 9. I've been using OS X betas for over a year, but this was the first time I decided to take an iOS beta for a spin, and I have to say I'm pretty impressed with the changes Apple has made over iOS 8.
An Open iOS (More or Less)
I wasn't a huge fan of iOS 7. There, I said it. The overall design just didn't sit well with me, and like all iOS versions, I felt very trapped with what I could and couldn't do. iOS 8 was a bit of an improvement in that regard with the addition of third-party keyboards and app extensions, but it still left something to be desired.
Last year, Apple overhauled iCloud. They tried to make it into the cloud storage service users have always wanted it to be, but one major issue I had was the ease of access across devices. On OS X you had an iCloud folder, which like Dropbox, you were able to drag and drop files to. But iOS lacked a similar function. You couldn't really navigate to files you stored, the only way to open them was to launch an app that supported said files (and also supported iCloud Drive) and then open them from there.
This has finally been fixed in iOS 9. There's actually an icon on the homescreen which launches your iCloud folder. Finally.
What Newsstand Always Should've Been
The second, and in my opinion, best change in iOS 9 is the introduction of the News app. It's really what Newsstand should have always been. Now, I was excited when Newsstand first came out in iOS 5, but was really let down when I discovered I pretty much had to pay for a subscription to read any publication/source. News does away with that model, going with more of a Flipboard-esque concept, allowing users to subscribe to topics or news sources, and then aggregating stories from news websites. The best part? It even supports Pocket!
That was huge for me. I'm a huge procrastinator and collect articles in Pocket like most people collect stamps. It's still a little glitchy, but don't forget this is far from what will be the GM or full release of iOS 9.
iOS 7 saw the introduction of Helvetica Neue as the main typeface for Apple devices, OS X Yosemite then followed suit. With iOS 9, Apple has dropped Helvetica Neue in favor of their own font San Francisco, which was released alongside Watch OS for the Apple Watch.
I have to say, it works really well in iOS (How well it works with OS X El Capitan will be an upcoming post), far better than Helvetica Neue in my opinion. The differences are subtle but San Francisco just seems so much more inviting than HN. To be honest, it looks like the font that has always belonged in iOS.
There's obviously a lot more changes made in iOS 9, especially with the search function and Siri, but these are the three big ones that have really stood out to me over the past week.
All I can say, is this is the first time in years I'm actually excited for an iOS release.