iOS 9 reportedly to focus on stability more than new features

Following Apple's misadventures with iOS 8, this year's update to the mobile operating system will center more on stability and performance improvements, says 9to5Mac.

The successor to iOS 8 may be more concerned about stability and performance than new features. CNET

Apple may use iOS 9 to add greater stability and performance enhancements to its mobile operating system.

Expected to be unveiled at Apple's Worldwide Developers Conference in June, iOS 9 will come packed with a number of "under-the-hood" improvements, according to 9to5Mac, which cited info from anonymous sources. A "huge" focus reportedly will be more on squashing bugs, ensuring stability and tweaking performance rather than just throwing in a bunch of new features.

Assuming the report is true, it would be a welcome change from the usual strategy of just cooking up a host of new features. Apple bumped into a slew of technical troubles with iOS 8, released in September, that frustrated users and forced the company to keep issuing one update after another over the course of just a few months -- from iOS 8.0 to 8.1.3. The pace of iOS 8 adoption has been slower than that of iOS 7, possibly because of all the bugs and frequent updates. So the time may be ripe for Apple to pull back and roll out a more stable and bulletproof OS to address the complaints with iOS 8.

One issue that hampered iOS 8 adoption was the storage space required just to upgrade. iOS 7 users needed at least 5.7GB of free space to store and install the latest version, a limitation that wasn't fixed until version 8.1.3. For iOS 9, codenamed Monarch, Apple will strive to keep the size of both the OS and its updates more manageable, 9to5Mac said, a factor that should help users who have only 16GB of storage on their devices and are low on free space.

One key question: which devices will iOS 9 support? Each new version of Apple's mobile OS typically is incompatible with certain older models. For example, iOS 8 does not support the iPhone 4 and older iPhones, the fourth-generation iPod Touch and older models, and the original iPad. Apple also typically discontinues some older models as it rolls out new iPhones and iPads.

If the iPhone 5C, the original iPad Mini and the fifth-generation iPod Touch are given the boot later this year, then all of the devices in Apple's lineup would be running the 64-bit A7, A8 or A9 chips, according to 9to5Mac. That would ease iOS development for Apple and outside developers, another factor that could help better stabilize the operating system and overall environment.

An Apple spokesperson declined CNET's request for comment.

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