Apple to pull off Snow Leopard-like optimization with iOS 9?

iOSIconXAccording to a report by 9to5 Mac, Apple is focusing on optimizing its iOS software in an effort to clear out bugs, increase efficiency, and generally improve the overall experience of using the software. This will come with the release of iOS 9, and is likely a breath of relief for users who have experienced ongoing issues with their iOS installations.

While technically a fresh installation of iOS on a supported iPad or iPhone should give you an acceptable experience, there are instances where specific programs and services you use might cause slowdowns, poor battery management, or other problems that can be frustrating to deal with. You might also have problems with keeping your iOS device connected to networks, and on relatively older devices like the iPad 2, the overall iOS 8 experience may be less than stellar, even when using only Apple’s built-in software.

Even though older hardware is expected to run the latest software a touch slower, sometimes even basic tasks like opening the Mail app will cause an extended hang or two. If Apple pulls through and addresses some of these issues, it should result in improvements for a number of these and other issues with current iOS installations, similar to how Apple boosted performance with its optimization efforts in OS X with the release of Snow Leopard.

By optimizing the OS, Apple will strip out inefficient programming both in its applications as well as in background services and core system libraries that developers use. In addition to making programming easier, streamlining the software will likely reduce the system’s storage footprint, which may in part be Apple’s solution to recent complaints of less storage being available than expected, especially on the most popular 16GB iPhone and iPad models.

With past optimizations, Apple did remove some useful features like its Rosetta translation engine for running older PowerPC code on Intel-based Macs, a move that was argued as being a bit premature for many users and developers. However, there are no current features in iOS that have such stringent requirements, and the optimizations for it are expected to primarily affect developers.

This means that when iOS 9 is released, you should have a relatively seamless upgrade experience, but will likely have to be a bit diligent on ensuring all of your apps are fully up to date; however, once updated, your iPhone or iPad should run notably faster than it currently does.

5 thoughts on “Apple to pull off Snow Leopard-like optimization with iOS 9?

  1. Steve

    Snow Leopard did not remove Rosetta support. Lion was the culprit that killed Rosetta support. Overall, I think many Mac enthusiasts would agree that Snow Leopard was probably the best OS X version ever. I would welcome that kind of polish for iOS.

  2. B. Jefferson Le Blanc

    The title of this article is indeed confusing. And the article went on to add to the confusion by mentioning Rosetta somewhat out of context. But Snow Leopard was an optimization upgrade for Leopard and was thus confusing enough on its own at the time. Perhaps that’s why Snow Leopard is so much revered now by those resisting upgrading any further, precisely because it was an optimization and added few if any features to OS X – although it, too, went through 7 updates, to 10.6.8, to reach it’s present state of stability. Leopard also went through seven updates before Snow Leopard – bringing to fifteen the effective number of updates between the two versions of OS X, an unprecedented cycle of improvement, not seen before or since. This was after OS X 10.4 Tiger saw ten updates, to 10.4.11.

    Given the problems with Yosemite, users’ skepticism is well founded. Apple certainly never worked as hard on improving OS X 10.7 Lion, 10.8 Mountain Lion or 10.9 Mavericks, all of which stalled out at four updates a piece. Of course it’s possible to look at Lion, Mountain Lion and Mavericks as a continuation of one version of OS X, as they were only incremental updates to the same core operating system. Perhaps this is one reason Apple moved to free upgrades, as there seemed to be little value added from one to the next to justify paying for them. The price cuts actually began with Snow Leopard. Twenty dollars did not seem unreasonable at the time (to most of us) for a mere optimization upgrade.

    But Apple stepped in it big time with Yosemite. Most other iterations of OS X stabilized by the second update. No such luck with 10.10. It’s still no better than beta software – and Apple continues to run a beta testing program on it, trying, so far unsuccessfully, to figure out where they went wrong. Of course it took several years for Microsoft to figure out what was wrong at the heart of Windows 8. As with Windows 8, the problems with Yosemite may turn out to be due to too many features too poorly implemented and integrated. Apple still has time to sort things out before they look as bad as Microsoft. But that’s hardly an encouraging example to follow. Perhaps Apple might have done us a favor by charging for Yosemite. Had they hesitated due to the cost, then many people might not have rushed to install what turned out to be, for them, an unstable and unreliable system upgrade.

  3. Kat Jenkins

    I have no serious problems with iOS8, but real improvements are always welcome. I really, really want to see a Snow Leopard-like optimization of the Mac OS (the OS for grown-ups?). While Helvetica Neue doesn’t bother me at all in iOS 8, I don’t find it a good choice for my desktop OS’s UI. On my two little Yosemite guinea pig partitions, I have resorted to third-party fixes to switch back to Lucida Grande on one and substitute Fira Sans on the other. cDock makes the dock less annoying, and turning off the absolutely pointless transparency effects is another big improvement. By the time I’ve also adjusted folder and drive icons and turned off the undesirable Spotlight options, I’ve spent more time than I should feel the need or desire to spend on making the interface more acceptable. And although I haven’t encountered some of the really nasty problems that have befallen a lot of users, I have found disturbing glitches. I care very little about further integration with iOS. I do very much want an insanely great Mac OS again.

  4. B. Jefferson Le Blanc

    Most of the trouble optimizing Yosemite’s UI comes from having to use third-party hacks to do it. For instance, starting with Lion I’ve used ColorfulSidebar to restore color and custom icons to the Finder window sidebar – because I actually use the sidebar for navigation. Fortunately ColorfulSidebar still works in Yosemite. Besides the transparency thing, there are precious few customization options built into OS X 10.10. Apple’s UI design for years now has been a my-way-or-the-highway proposition. Certainly never more so than with Yosemite. Of course not everyone has problems with the same issues. But the lack of UI choices in Yosemite is a statement in itself about what Apple thinks of its users.

    Then there’s the flat look interface graphics. Yosemite and Microsoft Windows 8 were influenced by the same design gestalt – from some nameless outside designer who, in my opinion, should be shot at sunrise for the crime of inflicting his utterly terrible taste on an unsuspecting public. How both Apple and Microsoft were persuaded to follow the same dark angel of design at the same time is a question for some graduate level research project. Certainly the tech pundits will never dig that deep – when they haven’t even noticed the parallel influences. Could they possibly be more oblivious?

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