After a couple of developer betas, iOS 15 and iPadOS 15 are now available as part of Apple’s Beta Software Program, alongside beta versions of tvOS 15 and watchOS 8. A macOS Monterey beta is listed as “Coming soon.”
Federico Viticci at MacStories has, as always, a good look at the next version of Apple’s mobile operating systems:
Let me cut to the chase: I don’t think iOS and iPadOS 15 are massive updates like iOS and iPadOS 13 or 14 were. There are dozens of interesting new features in both updates, but none of them feels “obvious” to demonstrate to average users like, say, dark mode and iPad multiwindow in iOS and iPadOS 13 or Home Screen widgets in last year’s iOS 14. And, for the most part, I think that’s fine. The wheel doesn’t have to be reinvented every year, and the pandemic happened for everyone – Apple engineers included.
Over at Tom’s Guide, our old Macworld colleague Philip Michaels has similar thoughts:
iOS 15 poses a challenge that recent iPhone software updates haven’t had to face. Those recent iOS updates were pretty easy to sum up. Sure, each update contained its fair share of new features and enhancements to existing capabilities, but it was usually easy to pinpoint the biggest changes and summarize them in a couple bullet points.
Try doing that with iOS 15, and you’ll soon spiral into madness.
iOS 15 and iPad 15 are kicking off their public betas today, and after a few weeks with the developer betas of the new software, Apple’s OS updates feel like more of a grab bag of new features than ever before.
A major rethinking of either platform, this year’s updates are not. The two updates were clearly born in 2020’s norm-shattering pandemic. The feature list at WWDC and on Apple’s website wears last year’s remote-first influences firmly, from the heavy emphasis on FaceTime features to a better system for corralling notifications into “work” and “personal” buckets.
There are at least two months before Apple releases these updates, and while that time will probably largely be spent squashing bugs, there’s always the possibility of changes and tweaks along the way. Of course, you can always find out for yourself—though, as usual, we recommend being careful about what devices you install this software on: it is, after all, a beta.