In 2009 they were touching/lip to lip kissing..this movie Uhura kisses Spock's "cheek" after she has sealed his helmet-what the heck???!!!!
I adore that moment! There is more familiarity, love and romance in that little interaction between them (her sweet indulgence when he's all nerdy is adorable) than in more explicitly romantic scenes IMO also the fact that Uhura is the one helping him wear that thing because he's probably more comfortable with her touching him
That little interaction alone says a lot and makes it pretty clear that they're not just colleagues.
and I think Uhura is a little tease
I love his confusion it makes me think about all these small display of affection by her and him secretly enjoying them even though they're illogical
(like "why do you kiss me when I'm wearing the helmet"? and yet he still tilts his head a bit as to receive the kiss)
Spock runs to her on the bridge when they are in total danger and yet they don't hold hands...
they hold hands (it's probably more visible in imax than 16:9 unfortunately where you just see the movement and you get the feeling of it) it's said in the novelization too
there is another scene where they also hold hands:
when McCoy's hand is trapped in the torpedo and they are all anxious for him. When they finally see he's out of danger Uhura moves to Spock. It's subtle and in the background but you see the movement where he raises his hand and take hers.
Their relationship had always been very subtle
I understand your disappointment and I understand why someone might get suspicious and think that perhaps the writers toned it down to placate the haters.
But realistically I think you get more in your face scenes between them in the first movie because the first one was more about Spock IMO while this movie is more about Kirk.
Maybe it's just my impression but it seems to me that most of the interactions that got focus on are the ones that happen in his presence or when the characters interact with him.
I know that he's Damon Lindelof's favorite and I get why this had to be a Kirk's movie but I also hope that the last one will be more an ensemble. I also like it more when Spock is allowed to be a protagonist on his own and he isn't used only as Kirk's friend (or Kirk's friend to be) that is one of the reason why I'm glad he has Uhura.
Still I think Spock's speech on the way to the klingon planet is one of the most touching scenes of both movies.
It could as well be him telling her "I love you" without using those words and without making him OOC. Also I like that they didn't pretend that what happened to vulcan never happened and didn't affect him.
Though you will probably understand the S/U and Spock's arc better if you read the comics.