Any day now, perhaps as soon as Monday, May 16 or Tuesday, May 17, Apple will almost certainly release its last update to iOS 15 (unless there’s a crisis that needs to be averted).
Here are the best features we can expect in the update.
1. Apple Classical
This is the big deal. Apple bought the brilliant Primephonic classical music app in August 2021 and has been talking about the importance of classical music a lot recently. So, the fact that the beta software for iOS 15.5 has mentions of something called Apple Classical is no surprise.
The exact nature of what it will mean has yet to be revealed. Will it be an entirely separate app or part of Apple Music? My guess is it will be the same thing, but we’ll see.
Most importantly of all, will it require a separate additional fee or be folded into the $9.99 Apple Music fee? Or will it be another reason to encourage subscribers to upgrade to Apple One, with any separate feel effectively waived when you sign up to all the services?
I believe Apple will want to make it part of the same Apple Music subscription and will trumpet it as the best classical music streaming service in the world, which it likely will be, at no extra cost.
The groundwork for this is in the beta software, though it’s possible that the Classical app may not arrive yet.
2. Apple Pay Cash
There are smaller upgrades to this coming in iOS 15.5, it seems, with Request and Send buttons being spotted in the beta of Apple Pay Cash in the Wallet app. With these buttons, Apple Pay Cash users can receive and send money from their Cash card.
3. External website links for reader apps
It looks likely that there will be some under-the-hood updates addressing, for example, purchases made outside the App Store. Already, Apple has allowed developers of so-called reader apps such as Spotify, Netflix and others, to have what’s called an External Link Account Entitlement.
It sounds boring but could be important as it means that a Netflix subscriber could follow the link to sign up for a subscription or manage an existing one. This will include warnings that if you signed up to a subscription through an external link, that cancelling it can’t be done via the App Store, only through dealing with the company directly.
There is a gentle upgrade coming for Podcasts, allowing new settings so you can limit how many episodes are kept in your valuable on-device storage and automatically deleting older ones.
The Home app will be able to display wi-fi signal indicators for HomePods, which is actually more useful than it sounds, especially if you have more than one network in your home and a HomePod invariably switches to the wrong one at the wrong time.
This new update is pretty much certain to arrive in the next few days. Stay tuned and we’ll report as soon as it’s live.