iOS 9 to Focus on Stability Over Features: A Marketing Misstep?

9to5Mac, known for stellar sources, reports:

For 2015, iOS 9 is going to include a collection of under-the-hood improvements. Sources tell us that iOS 9 engineers are putting a “huge” focus on fixing bugs, maintaining stability, and boosting performance for the new operating system, rather than solely focusing on delivering major new feature additions. Apple will also continue to make efforts to keep the size of the OS and updates manageable, especially for the many millions of iOS device owners with 16GB devices.

This is welcome news, as a decline in Apple’s software quality, while exaggerated by some members of the media, has become apparent as of late; iOS 8 is unstable, but nowhere near as bad as Android 5.0, for example. It’s refreshing to hear Apple listening to their users’ concerns, especially as some of my ‘non-techy’ friends have been apprehensive to update their phones recently.

However, without a set of tentpole features I imagine that a large proportion of users will ask ‘what’s new’, and Apple won’t have a convincing answer. Many still are ignorant of iOS 8’s extensions and Today widgets, so why should they care about ‘bug fixes’, whatever they are?

OS X Snow Leopard, an under-the-hood update for the Mac, was a huge success for Apple, but this was a time before Macs were ‘mainstream’, they were just breaking out into some schools and colleges at the time. Now there is a more critical and yet more technologically apathetic audience to please, and it will be hard to do that with an stability focussed update.

I feel it could be wise for Apple to release iOS 9 later than usual. They could announce it in September and release it in early 2016. Most people won’t miss it, and then maybe they’ll have the time to add some exciting, ‘mainstream’ tentpole features as well as smoothing out operation. Whatever they do, Apple need to make sure as many users as possible update, and reducing the OTA file size is a promising first step.