iOS 9 Lock screen mockup 001

Just as our own analytics showed a very clear spike of traffic emanating from devices running Apple’s unreleased iOS 8.1.3, now word comes that several publications are starting to see versions of iOS 9 showing up on web analytics for their sites.

Assuming version numbers have not been spoofed, this would indicate Apple may have begun testing first prototype builds of iOS 9, ahead of a developer preview expected at its annual developers conference in the summer.

“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,” writer Davir Price noted.

A recent report by the well-informed Mark Gurman suggested just that, that Apple is planning on expanding pre-release mobile software testing to select retail employees in an effort to eradicate bugs and improve stability and reliability of iOS builds.

“The program is set to commence soon with a beta version of iOS,” Gurman wrote.

Web analytics showing traces of iOS 9 was sent to MacWorld by Roman Zavrel who runs a Czech-language technology website called letemsvetemapplem.eu. According to that site’s traffic data, three visits were made in January using iOS 9.0, as can be seen below.

iOS 9 analytics 001

Sure enough, Macworld has been able to confirm that its own analytics contain traces of iOS 9. In fact, the publication has recorded ten page views from devices running variants of iOS 9.x in the past few months.

“Six were recorded as iOS 9.0, three were iOS 9.2 and one was 9.0.9,” reads the article. One visit from a device which identified itself as running iOS 9.0 was recorded on October 23, 2014, indicating work on iOS 9 has been underway for a long time.

Keep in mind traffic data may have been spoofed using a jailbroken device, assuming this is possible in the first place.

Could Apple really be that far ahead of itself?

Be that as it may, it is anyone’s guess what new features iOS 9 could bring to the table. For what it’s worth, the previous two major iOS release have been about a thorough redesign (iOS 7) and extensibility (iOS 8).

Given the recent criticism targeted at Apple’s software quality, I wouldn’t be surprised if Apple paused on innovation and released a Snow Leopard style iOS update to fix all the quirks and optimize code base.

Here’s an iOS 9 concept video by 18-year-old student Ralph Theodori.

As you already know, the company has been releasing major new iOS and OS X releases on an annual basis for the past few years.

What new features are you expecting to see in iOS 9?

Source: Macworld