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Traffic from Apple's unannounced iOS 9 grows into new year

Testing on Apple's anticipated iOS 9 release continues to ramp up at the start of 2015, with the next major iPhone and iPad operating system expected to make its official debut at the annual Worldwide Developers Conference in June.

Traffic data from AppleInsider shows that visits from devices that appear to be running early builds of iOS 9 have been steadily increasing over the last month. Traffic from iOS 9 devices peaked last week and has grown every week.

Very little has been rumored about iOS 9 thus far, though it's possible that Apple could leverage some of its recent acquisitions to boost its proprietary Maps service. In particular, Apple's purchases of HopStop and Embark are expected to pave the way for public transit data to be baked into the platform.

Apple is also believed to be interested in indoor navigation technology after its 2013 purchase of WifiSLAM. The unique indoor positioning tech uses Wi-Fi signals to extend location data to the insides of buildings and other structures.

Developers have also been hopeful that a future iOS release could open up Siri to third-party software, allowing App Store downloads to tap into the voice-driven personal assistant.

There has also been speculation that Apple could give developers access to the NFC chip found in the latest iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus, allowing compatibility with services beyond Apple Pay. For example, NFC technology could allow iPhone users to make transit payments or gain secure access to a locked building through their mobile device.

Whatever Apple does have in the works for iOS 9, it's likely that the next-generation operating system will be unveiled at WWDC, the company's annual developer-focused event that typically takes place in June. If Apple sticks to its usual timeline, the company will also showcase OS X 10.11, the unnamed next-generation version of its Mac operating system, at the same show.

Reserved dates on the calendar for San Francisco's Moscone Center suggest that this year, WWDC could be held June 8 through 12. Last year, the dates were set aside for an unnamed "corporate event," but since then the listing has been removed.