While previous versions of iOS and OS X have introduced several new features, a report from 9to5Mac says Apple’s focus for both operating systems this year will be on improved stability and performance, as well as new security features and interface tweaks.
There will still be a few new noteworthy features for OS X 10.11, such as a system font change to the San Francisco font used for the Apple Watch, as well as a new Control Center menu similar to that found in iOS.
“Additionally, Control Center has been planned for inclusion in OS X 10.11, after appearing in some early beta seeds of last year’s OS X Yosemite, only to be left out of the final release. Control Center moves many of the controls from the Mac’s Menu Bar to a pane that slides out from the left side of the Mac’s display, adding on-screen music controls and other iOS-influenced features. However, Control Center reportedly has been in flux during development, and could be pushed back again.”
Apple is also said to be working on a new kernel-level “Rootless” security system for both OS X and iOS, intended to curb the advance of malware by preventing even administrator level users from accessing certain files on Mac and iOS devices. “Rootless” appears to be a permanent feature of iOS, possibly foiling jailbreaking attempts, but OS X users will likely have the option of turning it off on their systems.
Apple also plans to add an iCloud backend to its IMAP-based apps on OS X and iOS, including Notes, Reminders, and Calendar. Apple is said to be upgrading its iCloud Drive and CloudKit servers to handle the expected increased load following the conversion.
9to5Mac also says its sources have told them that Apple is testing a new “trusted Wi-Fi” feature that would allow Macs and IOS devices to connect to a trusted wireless router with no additional security measures. Non-trusted routers would use a heavily encrypted connection. It’s possible this feature might not see the light of day until 2016, debuting in iOS 10 and OS X 10.12.
Apple is said to be taking a different approach to optimizing iOS 9’s support for older hardware, with the aim of allowing even legacy A5 processor-based devices such as the iPhone 4S to run the new OS.
“Instead of developing a feature-complete version of iOS 9 for older hardware and then removing a handful of features that do not perform well during testing, Apple is now building a core version of iOS 9 that runs efficiently on older A5 devices, then enabling each properly performing feature one-by-one. Thanks to this new approach, an entire generation (or two) of iPhones, iPads, and iPod touches will be iOS 9-compatible rather than reaching the end of the iOS line.”
Last but not least, Apple is said to be working on a major upgrade to its Swift programming language, with preinstalled code binaries that will require less space and use less data.
“Since Swift is still evolving as a development language, Apple previously did not include Swift programming “code libraries” within iOS. For this reason, developers who choose to write App Store apps with Swift must include the code libraries inside each of their apps. Consequently, App Store applications written in Swift carry approximately 8MB of additional code, and the more Swift apps you have, the more storage space you lose to code library copies.”
Swift is planned to reach what is known as “Application Binary Interface (ABI) stability,” with iOS 9 and OS X 10.11, so its code libraries will therefore be pre-installed within the new iOS and Mac operating systems.
9to5Mac reports Apple also has plans to convert its own in-house apps to Swift in 2016 for iOS 10 and OS X 10.12.