Roundup: Recent iOS 9 and iPhone 6s Rumors

As the June 8-12 Worldwide Developers Conference approaches—and the anticipated announcement of iOS 9—we're seeing a lot of rumors related to iOS 9 and the forthcoming iPhone, which many are expecting to be called the iPhone 6s. 

Rumors related to iOS 9 include support for Apple Watch-like Force Touch, transit directions in the new version of Maps, a new system font (San Francisco) that's the same as that in the Apple Watch, a new Home app that will play a major role in controlling HomeKit devices (Apple's new smart-home platform), and the ability to have split-screen apps on the iPad. One oft-requested feature apparently won't be ready: multiple user accounts on a single device. But there's a possibility that it could come later this year as an iOS 9 upgrade.

Force Touch

9To5Mac reports that their sources confirm that iOS 9 will support Force Touch, which of course implies that the next iPhone will have a Force Touch display. Rumors say the technology will differ from that of the Apple Watch, but will include haptic feedback. Apple has now included Force Touch in the trackpads of the new MacBooks, so it seems highly likely that it will arrive on the iPhone.

What would it be used for? According to 9To5Mac, Force Touch may replace some press-and-hold interactions and may offer functionality similar to that on the new MacBooks. For example, it'll be used in Maps for dropping new pins, in media players for pressure-sensitive scrolling, in the Calendar to add events, and in various apps for looking up word definitions. Time.com reports that Apple is developing new gestures for iOS 9, including new methods of scrolling, highlighting, and navigating content. They say that Force Touch could eliminate the need for gestures such as the double tap and tap-and-hold.

Split-Screen iPad

A rumor that's been around for many months is that iOS 9 will allow side-by-side app support on the iPad. In fact, this had been rumored for iOS 8, but wasn't included. This feature is said to not only work on the rumored 12.9-inch iPad but also on current iPads. 9To5Mac says that the feature will support 1/2, 1/3, and 2/3 views. The screen can be split between two different views of the same or between different apps. However, 9To5Mac says that according to their sources, this feature could still be removed at the last minute if it's not yet polished enough. Since it was originally developed for the 12.9-inch iPad, it's possible that Apple will wait and debut that feature along with the larger iPad. When will we see the rumored "iPad Pro"? 9To5Mac says that it's still very much a work in progress, and that Apple wants to develop new iOS features to take advantage of the larger screen.

iPhone 6s Rumors

One of the most persistent rumors is that the iPhone 6s will get a camera upgrade to 12 megapixels. Passing along a rumor from a Chinese website, AppleInsider says it will be an RGBW model made by Sony. It will use smaller pixels, but it will still perform well in low light because RGBW uses an extra white pixel to compensate for the smaller pixels. 

DigiTimes is reporting that the iPhone 6s will use thinner and lighter LED backlighting chips. This will save space and make the phone lighter, but also could make the display 10 percent dimmer. 

Other rumors have suggested that the next generation iPhone will come with a faster A9 processor, 2 GB of RAM, and an additional microphone. Apple may also use the new aluminum alloy that's used in the Apple Watch and that's 60 percent stronger.

Given that the iPhone 6 and 6 plus saw a major makeover, it's expected that the forthcoming iPhones will mainly see internal tweaks and refinements, given Apple's usual schedule of upgrades.

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Jim Karpen's picture

Author Details

Jim Karpen

Jim Karpen holds a Ph.D. in literature and writing, and has a love of gizmos. His doctoral dissertation focused on the revolutionary consequences of digital technologies and anticipated some of the developments taking place in the industry today. Jim has been writing about the Internet and technology since 1994 and has been using Apple's visionary products for decades.