Apple's iOS 9 is expected to cause a boom in the use of IPv6, which could speed up service provider networks but create a lot of work for mobile developers.
The new Apple mobile OS, coming out on Wednesday, will treat the new Internet Protocol as an equal to IPv4 instead of favoring the older system. That will cause iOS devices to use IPv6 much more, as long as apps, websites and carrier networks support it, according Facebook engineer Paul Saab. He led a panel discussion on IPv6 at Facebook's @Scale conference on Monday.
Even when all the pieces are in place for IPv6, iOS 8 only makes an IPv6 connection about half the time or less because of the way it treats the new protocol. With iOS 9, and IPv6 connection will happen 99 percent of the time, Saab predicts.
IPv4 is running out of unused Internet addresses, while IPv6 is expected to have more than enough for all uses long into the future. Adoption has been slow since its completion in 1998 but is starting to accelerate. The release of iOS 9 may give a big boost to that trend.
"Immediately, starting on the 16th, I'm expecting to see a lot more v6 traffic show up," said Samir Vaidya, director of device technology at Verizon Wireless. About 50 percent of Verizon Wireless traffic uses IPv6, and Vaidya thinks it may be 70 percent by this time next year as subscribers flock to the iPhone 6s.