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iOS 9 release date rumours: iOS 9 'already being publicly tested'

David Price | Jan. 30, 2015
iOS 8 has been with us for a couple of months, but we're already thinking about iOS 9. When will it come out, what features will it offer and which iPads, iPhones and iPod touch devices will it run on?

If you're not familiar with Google Analytics, we generate these figures by drilling down within the 'Browser & OS' section of the service's Audience section, and choosing to look at versions of iOS 9. We scroll down past the most popular versions and a few rogue page views appear under variants of iOS 9.x: these are clearer if we run a search on the number 9. Here's how that looks for the past couple of months:

iOS 9 release date rumours: Macworld analytics

Our understanding is that Apple developers normally only test pre-release OS builds internally, so this external testing process seems to be a new strategy.

Interesting stuff, and an excellent spot, but Macworld remains broadly sceptical, at least for now. If you look at the picture of our analytics above, you'll notice that iOS 9.x variants aren't the only ones to come up when we ran a search on the number 9. We also got iOS '10.9.5'. Which suggests that Apple is really ahead of itself.

What's more, the earliest of the iOS 9.x variants to visit the site was on 23 October (iOS 9.0). So if this theory is right, work on iOS 9 has been underway for a long time.

We're not sure how easy it is to spoof the version of iOS that shows up on a jailbroken device, or how often Google Analytics gets confused about OS version numbers, but we're more inclined (in the absence of further evidence) to believe that these are analytical anomalies rather than evidence of iOS 9 public testing. We'd love to be proved wrong, however.

iOS 9 rumours: Which iPads, iPhones and iPods will be able to run iOS 9?

Each time Apple updates iOS, it adds a couple of new iPads and iPhones to the list of compatible devices, and knocks one or two older ones off.

At time of writing, the following devices are compatible with iOS 8:

  • iPad 2, iPad 3, iPad 4, iPad Air, iPad Air 2
  • iPad mini, iPad mini 2, iPad mini 3
  • iPhone 4s, iPhone 5, iPhone 5c, iPhone 5s, iPhone 6, iPhone 6 Plus
  • iPod touch (fifth generation)

iOS 9 will very likely launch alongside a new iPhone (or set of iPhones) and will of course be compatible with them. Most likely it will be followed by new iPads a month later, and again, will work with them. But we can also expect to lose some devices from that list. Here's our prediction of the iPads, iPhones and iPod touch models that will run iOS 9:

  • iPad 3, iPad 4, iPad Air, iPad Air 2, iPad Air 3*, iPad Pro*
  • iPad mini 2, iPad mini 3, iPad mini 4*
  • iPhone 5, iPhone 5c, iPhone 5s, iPhone 6, iPhone 6 Plus, iPhone 7 series*
  • iPod touch (fifth generation)


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