iOS 9: Apple’s desktop-class smartphones

iOS 9 will be the world's most powerful 64-bit mobile OS.

ios 9 apples desktop class smartphone

Apple's Phil Schiller talks 64-bit in 2013. Competitors are still catching up.

The latest rumor from Mark Gurman’s Deep Throat over at 9to5Mac claims Apple will focus on performance and stability rather than features in iOS 9 – and that its new mobile OS will be 64-bit only.

Learning from history

It makes sense for Apple to decelerate the pace of regular feature introductions and take the time to optimize and improve the many it already has. It is interesting (and informative) to reflect that the last time it chose to decelerate feature improvements was when it launched OS X Snow Leopard in 2009, which introduced a range of under-the-hood improvements, the biggest being 64-bit support.

It took a while for 64-bit apps to arrive on the Mac, but the system supported them when they did.

Apple introduced 64-bit support in iPhone 5S with iOS 7 back in 2013. Almost everyone is still catching Apple up on this, Android has only recently generated 64-bit support and most other platform users will likely celebrate at least one more birthday before 64-bit apps are commonplace.

Platform advantage

Fast-forward to today and 64-bit has become one of Apple’s many unique platform advantages; 64-bit apps are no longer a rarity on iOS.

Soon they will be universal.

As of Jan. 15, all iOS apps submitted to the App Store must include 64-bit support and be built with the iOS 8 SDK.

Gurman suggests part of the reason for an iterative maintenance release in iOS 9 is to address system performance and other issues created by Apple’s annual feature additions.

Consider Apple’s path to 64-bit computing across both the Mac and mobile platforms, and you may see things a different way. It’s possible these stability problems have represented growing pains while the company bought us to this place.

So, what is this place?

Apple everywhere

Apple’s mobile devices and Macs now work together superbly well, offering industry leading built in support for Continuity.

Apple’s next bit processor evolution is likely to see it deliver desktop class performance in mobile devices, powered by (it is claimed) a 14-nanometer A9 processor. Speculation suggests this will be based on ARM’s Cortex-A72 CPU design, a 2.5GHz processor with natural language user interfaces and “console-class gaming performance."

That sounds like a pretty powerful platform. Soon it will also be a wearable platform.

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