September 16, 2015 Last Updated 8:04 am

Ahead of public release of iOS 9, Microsoft releases updates for Office apps

Morning Brief: developers rush out releases ahead of public launch of iOS 9, trying to get a handle on bug issues before users begin to experience trouble with their apps

The App Store is filled today with app updates the mention that they support iOS 9, Apple new mobile operating system scheduled to be released to the public today. One series of updates not only mentions iOS 9, but say the some new features require it.


PowerPoint on the Apple Watch

Microsoft updated its iOS apps for Word, Excel and Powerpoint. Here is the odd thing: the date on these apps is August 12, over a month ago. But the app updates will be appearing inside your iTunes account, or on your device this morning. Likely the updates were submitted last month and then held by Apple. And good thing, too, if they really do ‘require iOS 9’ for some features, those features certainly won’t work until Apple releases iOS 9 later today.

Here is the description from the PowerPoint app:

What’s New in Version 1.13

  • Multitasking*: get tasks done faster by running PowerPoint for iPad side by side with other apps. For example, copy numbers or a chart from Excel into PowerPoint, or an image from Safari.
  • Keyboard shortcuts*: no need to learn keyboard shortcuts by heart. Just tap the Command key on your external keyboard to get an overview of all shortcuts.
  • Mirrored User Interface in Arabic and Hebrew*: PowerPoint now has a mirrored UI when the device language is set to Arabic or Hebrew.
  • Now available in Vietnamese.
  • Office Add-ins: add tools that help increase your productivity in PowerPoint and enhance your presentations. For example, a word cloud generator, an audience polling tool, a live stock ticker, and more (requires iOS 8.2 or newer).
    * Requires iOS 9

I’ll admit that saw ‘require iOS 9’ and those that applied to the whole app, not just the new features. In iTunes a bullet and an asterisk look pretty similar.

iOS-upgradesAdding new features that require the user to have upgraded to the latest version of the operating system is usually pretty risky. But with iOS, users are quick to upgrade and so developers are less hesitant to add in those new features, though making sure the app still works under the older OS is still vital.

According to Apple developer support, as of Monday 87 percent of iOS device owners have updated their devices to iOS 8. Eleven percent are still on iOS 7. Compare that to Android where only 21 percent of Android device owners are on the latest version of Android, Lollipop.

For me, the fact that Android updates are delivered by the carriers is the single biggest reason I have not bought an Android device (OK, maybe the biggest reason is that I have to buy my own devices – and Google, Samsung, Amazon, Microsoft and the other tech companies are not very good at promoting their platforms to TNM).

There were plenty of other app updates that mention iOS 9 early today.

Flipboard, which will be competing with Apple’s newest app, Apple News, has issued an update mentioning iOS 9: “Optimized for iOS 9. Search for your favorite sections in Spotlight and get to the content you want to see.”

The Weather Channel has issued an update that features a few changes to its Apple Watch support, as well as mentioning that the app is now iOS 9 compatible.

The update for WordPress hints at some of the troubles that developers have whenever Apple releases a new version of iOS.

This is the last line of its description for version 5.6 of its app:

Hello iOS 9, goodbye crashes! Fixed a bug that crashed the iOS9 app while adding photos in the editor

These are bugs that users actually haven’t encountered because they are specific to iOS 9 and wouldn’t be seen until Apple releases it today. But developers, testing out their apps over the past month, have no doubt run into issues caused by the new operating system – or should we say, issues hiding in the background that now come out due to iOS 9.

Audience Media has issued iOS 9 related updates for many of its apps including its most popular ESPN The Magazine. The company’s apps deliver native digital formatting for the iPhone, then a replica edition on the iPad. Other titles that are using the service include the B2B titles from Associated Construction Publications.

Two streaming music services also updated their apps today, though neither app description mentions iOS 9.

Pandora has issued an update that is promoting its new Pandora One Day Pass. The feature allows users of their free service to test out Pandora without ads and costs the user $0.99. Think of it as Pandora’s version of a single copy sale – a pretty smart feature and one that might add incremental revenue.

Rdio Music has added tour dates of acts into their app:

Tour Dates at Your Fingertips. If an artist is playing near you, you’ll see a green “On Tour” icon at the top of their page, letting you know when you can catch them live. You can even tap through to purchase tickets.

One assumes that the feature will inform you early enough that you can actually buy tickets.

Comments are closed.