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By Kalama Hines

The approximately 50 million iPhone users in the USA, and countless more using iPads, were recently given access to the latest software out of the Apple kitchen.

On Wednesday, Sept. 15, Apple released their iPhone Operating System (iOS) 9.0. The update features debugs as well as a set of all new features. And like most tech upgrades there are positives as well as negatives.

The iOS 8.0 upgrade, released almost exactly one year ago, featured time lapse video, touch ID and voice messaging, among many other additions. As for iOS 9, Apple has improved ease of use and convenience.

Here is a list of the new features you are going to love, going to hate and the ones you may never notice – what we like to call The Good, The Bad and The Useless:


Image Courtesy of NeuroGadget

 The Good

 For users of Apple’s “notes” app, you’ll soon see a massive upgrade.

The newly re-fitted app now allows users to copy maps and picture into a note, as well as draw using a finger tip. Not a “Draw Something” champion? Its fine, use the new feature to circle certain text. Or, for the more advanced fingertip artists, sketch out a quick diagram of that invention idea you had. You can also piggyback this tool on other apps – write, or draw, directly onto your emails.

It’s a Smartphone, so it should be learning its user’s tendencies.

A new “smart search” feature allows your phone to collect information about your use history. A quick swipe right from the home screen takes you to a display listing the contacts you connect with most and the apps you most commonly use as well hot keys for finding nearby restaurants, bars, shopping and gas. So, stop leaving apps without hard closing them so you can quickly go back to them with a double-click. And don’t worry about finding your maps app, swipe right and the nearest bar is just a push away.

An upgrade to that maps app, however, includes public transit information.

Though this feature is currently available for only a select number of cities, the idea that this is available and will likely expand in the near future is fantastic. Plus the Bay Area is already included. Wanna take BART to The City, but aren’t sure where the nearest transit station is, or what the train schedule looks like? A snap of a finger and a wink of an eye and poof, all that information – station locations, schedule information and even possible delays – are in the palm of your hand.

There are other additions that will make life of iPhone users even easier, and more pleasurable. The new “low power mode” allows your phone to run on the bare minimum energy, stretching out battery life – one of Apple’s biggest issues.

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Image Courtesy of IappleJailBreaker

Attach any file you’d like to emails. And zoom in on videos the way you zoom in on photos.

Something that may go largely unnoticed is a new search bar in the settings app. No more spending what seems like hours to turn on, or off, your LED flash alerts. Just search “LED.”

Also, iPad users will get use of a couple features not yet available on the iPhone. A new keyboard tracking element allows you to type on the keyboard by dragging your fingers from one letter to another – not exactly something that I would use, but something Android and Samsung users brag about.

Finally, iPads will now include a picture-in-picture mode, allowing those users to Facetime their significant other while finishing that game of Solitaire.


The Bad

 A new “hide” feature in the photos app allows you to hide private photos from others who may get a hold of your phone. There’s just one small problem – it doesn’t hide the pictures.

According to Apple, apparently, taking photos out of your photo collection calendar means they are hidden, even though they are still visible in your album. So don’t save that nudie thinking it is “hidden” unless you want it to be readily available and completely unhidden.

The “News” app allows you to pick news outlets that you are most likely to read, then compiles that news in one spot.


           Image Courtesy of Maclife

That compilation, however, feels more like a Facebook newsfeed than a news app, and it is even more cluttered. If you want to read a particular source, there website is just a few clicks away. No need to create a feed of hundreds of stories you’ll have to sift through to find one you’re interested in.

Bugs will certainly pop up over the coming weeks which will force new versions of the OS but, for the most part, not a whole lot of negatives to the update.


The Useless

Buttons for music playing apps now automatically appear when you plug in your headphones.

Cool, but was it really that hard for users to swipe up? Pushing a music note icon, then a play icon doesn’t seem a whole lot easier than sliding a quick menu up and pressing play, to me. Maybe I’m alone in this thinking. But that seems highly unlikely.

“Hey, Siri” the new OK, Google.”


Image Courtesy of Wired

There are large contingents of Apple patrons that use Siri for everything. Maybe it’s my slight accent, or just my luck, but I struggle with Siri, and I know I’m not alone in that. And, really, we needed access to Siri that didn’t involve a push of the finger? C’mon.

New designations in the Photos app isolate selfies and screenshots.

No matter if you take one selfie per week or 50 per day, they’re still going to be in your photos and you should still be able to find one to use for your Tinder account easily enough. With the addition of unnecessary elements like these, all you’re doing is taking up room on your phone. Room you could be using to save “hidden” pictures.

A pair of new components allows you to use your phone as a hotspot – providing internet connection to another device by using your data – and leaving a WiFi connection that isn’t up to snuff.

Each seem to have their advantages while being a bit concerning. If you’re connected to WiFi that isn’t great and suddenly your phone begins moving quickly, beware, you may be using your data. And you don’t want that precious data to go to waste because you forgot to turn off your phones hotspot activation. Sure, it’s easy to say that would never happen, but if you’re busy – as most of us are – while using your iPhone, things can and do happen.

For the most part, the advancements included in this iOS 9 update are useful, but as is usually the case when upgrading your tech, there are issues and will be bugs.

In all, the new Apple may not have hit a home-run with their new operating system, but they certainly line a double into the gap.




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