Every time that Apple introduces its ’S’ model of iPhones, it makes several changes from its predecessor, with the idea of making the device faster and more efficient. The iPhone 6s Plus too sees several improvements in terms of speed, search and stability. The 3D Touch which was first introduced on the iPhone 6s, now has a new level of interaction with the interface. It feels a lot like Force Touch on the new Macbook models. All you’ve got to do is hard press an app icon, which pops-out shortcuts for the app directly from the home screen. For example, when you hard press the Camera icon, it pops-out a menu with options such as take selfie, record video, Slo-mo, and take photo. If you select the ‘record slo-mo’ option, it starts to record a slo-mo video. This saves you the trouble of going through numerous steps, as most of these functions are now at your disposal right from the display screen. However, there are only a limited number of apps that support 3D Touch currently, and Apple wants its iOS developers to update the existing apps with this feature soon, so that the app experience on the 6s and the 6s Plus is more interactive.
The second generation Touch ID fingerprint scanner too, is phenomenally faster that the fingerprint scanner on the iPhone 6, and works like a charm. The News app was something which caught our attention and which we were excited about. It is basically a news reader app which has support for RSS Feeds and other sources. While the News app is limited only to a select few regions currently, we hope that Apple makes it available in India in the next couple of updates.
Apple's new app switcher has a different design now; all the open apps are now lined up in a side scrolling 3D carousel which can be invoked from the left edge of the screen. Additionally, Spotlight search has improved tremendously when compared to what it was on earlier iOS versions. It is now accessible from the left most pane of the home screen, and can handle simple calculations and currency conversions.
Siri’s capabilities for natural language processing have improved a lot. You can now search for photos based on specific dates and locations. You can also wake the phone up from sleep mode, simply by saying ‘Hey Siri’. There is a new feature called Siri Suggestions, in which Apple’s voice assistant, Siri predicts what you might be looking for, based on usage pattern. When you swipe right from the home screen, a list of the recently and frequently used apps and contacts show up right below the Spotlight Search before you type anything. If the location-based services are On, it will show you options for dinner, coffee, shopping, banks and ATMs. Below it are couple of news items. What’s to be noted here is that these items are automatically generated, even before you type in anything into the spotlight search. Siri Suggestions is undoubtably the icing on the cake. Apart from searching and launching apps, Spotlight Search also looks through native apps to find information that matches the searched terms.
With no major cosmetic changes to the UI, iOS 9 looks similar to iOS 8. Apps and games open much faster now, all thanks to the 2GB of RAM. However, when compared to the flexibility that Android allows, one might miss few of the popular features such as widget library, double tap to wake up, and gesture support in sleep mode.
However, we also found some rough edges to the software. When viewing images in the Photos app, the interface would break when the orientation of the phone was changed from portrait to landscape. Additionally, we found that a number of apps would crash at times, immediately after we launched them. Moreover, there are also Wi-Fi connectivity issues. iMessage is still far from perfect and we also noticed issues with Bluetooth connectivity. That apart, we also experienced lags and frame drops several times while watching videos. Animations also tended to stop automatically at times.
Although, Apple’s iOS 9 makes several improvements in its software, there is still a lot left to be desired.