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iOS in 2015: Highs and lows

As we stand on the cusp of a new year, it seems like a good time to look back at iOS over the last 12 months and the long-standing promises Apple has finally delivered on.

You can finally buy an Apple Watch

Apple’s first ever smartwatch finally made itself available to the general public in April. We’d all been reading, seeing and hearing about the Apple Watch since September last year, when the company first pulled the wraps off of it on stage in Cupertino, however unless you were a member of the super elite and/or a major player in the fashion world, it was initially impossible to get ahold of.

Apple Watch

In its opening months at retail Apple reported significant sales of the wearable – even the Edition version, which sold for up to a cool five figures, but as the year progressed the device’s time in the limelight quickly faded; sales have levelled out resulting in notable discounts from retailers over the holidays.

Apple’s most recent keynote brought with it new colourways and material choices for the Watch along with the arrival of watchOS 2, which served to improve some of the weaker parts of the user experience and add in a few new features too.

Apple launches a real Spotify rival in Apple Music

Apple’s $3 Billion acquisition of Beats Audio was one of the biggest moves the company made in 2014, but the fruits of its newest purchase didn’t materialise until June this year, with the relaunch of Apple Music.

Apple Music

The latest Music app installed on every iOS device no longer just offers access to your locally-stored tunes, but has been opened up to feature a robust streaming service with exclusive content from top artists and Beats 1 – a dedicated 24/7 radio station headed up by some of the world’s top DJs.

Apple even saw fit to break convention and develop an Android app so that the service was available beyond the borders of the iOS and Mac OS families.

The iPhone 6s/6s Plus bring new interaction to iOS

The ‘s’ update over last year’s iPhone 6 twins brought all the expected upgrades, such as a bump up in overall performance and smarter, sharper cameras, but the headline new feature was 3D Touch.

Apple iPhone 6s

Whilst Huawei may have technically produced a working smartphone with a similar technology days earlier, the new iPhone’s implementation let users press into their displays to interact with iOS 9 in new ways.

Apps like Instagram now let you jump to your activity feed, the ‘peek and pop’ gesture let you preview web links and hard-pressing now offers a means of interacting with iOS 9’s new Live Photos feature.

Apple gets serious about Apple TV

Arguably one of Apple’s most under-developed products, Apple TV saw its most significant upgrade in years with the release of the 4th-generation model in September.

Apple TV

As well as beefing up the hardware and introducing a new remote with a touchpad to facilitate better navigation and basic game controller functionality, Apple reworked the iOS-based interface into something it called tvOS – a skew unique to the latest Apple TV that sports a new, more refined interface and ports of iOS apps and games like Crossy Road, as well as new titles from big developers.

The iPad Pro showcases iOS with real grunt

Aside from being a gargantuan tablet, the iPad Pro is the best example of what iOS is capable of when supplied with more horsepower. Easily the beefiest iOS device to date, we’ve seen the Pro handle 4K video editing using iMovie, next level graphical fidelity on a mobile device when gaming and the best iteration of side-by-side app multitasking from an iOS device ever.

iPad Pro

With the spreading net of iOS-based experiences; from your wrist to your TV, and the next level performance it’s now able to utilise thanks to the Pro, iOS has become more versatile and pervasive than it’s ever been before.

Read next: Android in 2015: Highs and Lows

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