I was recently chatting with a friend when he sent me a screenshot of an article he was reading. I couldn’t even pay attention to the article’s content because I was taken aback by the dated graphics of the Safari browser in which the article was displayed. What iOS is he using? I asked myself. Does he still live in the Stone Age? With iOS 9 now available in beta, this throwback to the old iPhone operating system inspired me to look back at the iOS features that have changed the way we communicate.

When the first iPhone was released in 2007 with OS, it lacked many of the features we rely on today. The software had emailing, texting and a camera, but lacked much else. There were not yet apps, or even an iTunes store. Believe it or not, it was only seven years ago that the App Store came to exist with iOS 2, presenting us with virtually unlimited opportunities to communicate through social media and online games, available at all times in the palm of a user’s hand. It was the third iOS that finally brought us all the basics – the ability to copy and paste as well as video recording. These features seem like no-brainers to us now; we use them to stay in touch with friends, family and coworkers, but it wasn’t all that long ago that we had to find ways to function without them.

iOS 4 came along in 2010, giving us Facetime, the ability to chat face-to-face with any other iPhone user, even from thousands of miles apart. Apple also enabled multitasking between apps—iPhone owners were previously unable to use more than one app at a time. iOS 8 brought along big changes, allowing us to message more quickly through QuickType, which allows users to customize frequently used vocabulary, as well as giving us the ability to seamlessly move between the iPhone and other Apple devices. My personal favorite iOS 8 feature is the ability to send voice memos, for when a phone call isn’t needed but you’re not able to send a text.

Now, Apple enthusiasts like myself can experience iOS 9 in beta, and the rest of the public will get the bug-free experience in September. I’m most excited to try the News app, similar to Flipboard, which will allow us to see news tailored to our interests. Another huge new feature is the update to Notes; previously notes were text only, but iOS 9 will allow images and a sketch feature, making it much more useful to use in meetings. A crucial new feature for communicating? The ability to attach files to emails from within the Mail app; we’ll now be able to add attachments to email replies!


What new iOS features are you most excited about? Tweet to us at @solomonmccown and let us know!