With WWDC now less than a month away, it's only a matter of time before Apple takes the wraps off of iOS 9, the mobile software that will power Apple's next iteration of iPhones.
While typical iOS updates involve the rollout of hundreds of new features, iOS 9 will reportedly be a bit different. Indeed, with a growing chorus of users complaining that iOS has become too unwieldy and a bit buggy, iOS 9 will purportedly focus more on under the hood enhancements rather than a bombardment of cool new features.
See also: What to expect in Apple's iPhone 6s
In that vein, it's fair to look at iOS 9 as the mobile version of Snow Leopard, Apple's 2009 OS X release that was designed primarily to increase machine stability and improve overall system performance.
Still, with iOS 9 being the fuel that powers Apple's primary revenue generating device -- the iPhone -- it's not as if iOS 9 is going to be a complete dud from a consumer perspective. Here's what we've heard so far.
More responsive Touch ID
Rumor has it that Touch ID with iOS 9 will be even snappier and more accurate than it already is. While Apple's fingerprint recognition system works great most of the time for most people, some folks do find it to be a bit wonky at times. In addition to some Touch ID software enhancements Apple plans to implement with iOS 9, there are also rumors that the Touch ID sensor itself will see an improvement on Apple's next-gen iPhone hardware.
Beats Music integration
The fruits of Apple's 2014 acquisition of Beats Music may very well be the most prominent feature in iOS 9. According to a number of reports, Apple has been working hard to tightly integrate a revamped Beats Music streaming service with iTunes. Apple's service will purportedly be similar to Spotify in the sense that it will offer users on-demand and unlimited music streaming for $9.99/month. Rumor has it that Apple was hoping to undercut Spotify with a monthly subscription rate of $5 or $6 but was ultimately unable to get record labels to hop on board.
See also: Apple Watch reviews: Complete roundup
Apple's Beats Music streaming service, though, will differ significantly from Spotify insofar as it will not come with a free music tier. Still, Apple's streaming music service will likely offer users a free 1-3 month period where they can test out the full capabilities of the service before being asked for monthly payments.
In order to grease the wheels ahead of rolling out a new music streaming service, you might recall reports form early last week which claimed that Apple has been trying to get music labels to cancel existing contracts for free music streaming on both Spotify and YouTube. Word has it that such actions has already attracted the attention of both the DOJ and the FTC.
Earlier in the week, 9to5Mac reported that Apple's new music service will be called "Apple Music."
Transit directions in Maps?
This one is sort of a wild card. For years now, Apple Maps, despite getting better in a number of ways, still lags behind Google Maps if only because the former still doesn't have built-in transit directions. Even more curious is that Apple has purchased two very top-tier transit direction app companies over the last 18 months and yet, transit directions still haven't been integrated.
Hopefully with iOS 9 Apple will finally pull the trigger. Lending some credence to this wild card of a rumor is a job listing Apple posted this past April looking for a software engineer to join Apple Maps' routing team. First spotted by AppleInsider, the description reads in part:
"As a member of the Routing team, you will work on one of the most anticipated features of Apple Maps," the listing states. In requirements, the company directly asks for someone with "in-depth knowledge about public transit," both as a rider and on a technical level.
So while such a rumor is admittedly circumstantial, one can only hope that Apple will finally deliver on what itself concedes is one of the more "anticipated features of Apple Maps."