Everyone has heard that iOS 9 is coming. In fact the public will get their first look at the new OS on 8 June 2015 when Apple holds its annual Worldwide Developers’ Conference (WWDC). So it should come as no surprise that the first two key details – a major feature and a new look – have now leaked out courtesy of the ever reliable 9to5Mac.
Features first and iOS 9 will see the launch of a crucial new app called ‘Home’.
Home will begin a major Apple push into the so-called ‘Internet of Things’ (IoT) and act as a control hub for third party HomeKit products, much like the roles of Game Center for games and Health for Healthkit apps.
That said, the spread of Homekit products is arguably wider and more ambitious than Game Center or Health. Home devices can include everything from smart thermostats and wireless garage doors to smart keychains, coffee makers, smoke alarms, cars – in fact almost anything you consider could be made ‘smart’.
Home is also expected to incorporate Siri for voice activated control, something which could lead to user experiences straight out of classic Sci-Fi.
Perhaps more importantly though, Home will give a much needed boost to HomeKit in general. Despite being announced last year, Homekit has largely sat still since and Apple will be desperate to be at the forefront of the IoT revolution.
After all having seen Google GOOGL +0.71% splurge $3.2BN on Nest last year, founded by ‘father of the iPod’ Tony Fadell, it shows how integral IoT is in the mind of Apple’s biggest rival.
Eye Pleasing New Look
It was the iOS 7 that finally shook up the appearance of an aged iOS after six long years but it also greatly divided opinion. The iOS 9 update on the other hand looks to make a small visual tweak everyone can get behind.
9to5Mac has learnt that Apple, in a strong display of common sense, plans to change the system-wide font of iOS 8. The shift will see it ditch the skinny Helvetica Neue introduced in iOS 7 (and widely criticised for prioritising style over readability) in favour of ‘San Francisco’.
San Francisco is used on the Apple Watch and was developed by Apple “specifically for legibility”.
As simple as this shift may sound, it is actually hugely complex to implement. The change in character dimensions affects every element of the UI and creates a lot of work for third party app developers. As such 9to5Mac warns that the shift may be postponed.
Whether it makes iOS 9 or not, however, the shift does look inevitable.
9to5Mac says Apple employees have told it daily builds of OS X 10.11 and iOS 9 have used San Francisco since late March. But the biggest giveaway is already in the public eye: the new 12-inch MacBook which uses San Francisco on its keyboard.