iOS 11 has officially been announced and all of the rumors that have been leading up to its release may now be put to rest at the WWDC. Apple CEO Tim Cook took the stage this year to speak about how differently the new Operating System will work with Apple’s most popular portable products, primarily the iPhone and the iPad. Here are some of the biggest features to look forward to.
One of the first features demonstrated on the stage was that of the new syncing feature that allowed for messages and their deletion to be synced through across iCloud, iOS and macOS. This means that messages will show as is on the iPad, iPhone and the macOS. Previously, users would have to deal with double the notifications or delete conversations twice.
Apple Pay is including person-to-person payments now, which will put it in direct competition with the likes of Venmo and Square Cash. With Apple Pay Cash Card being introduced in iOS 11, users will be able to store their received funds from peer-to-peer transactions, which can be transferred to the user’s bank account.
The new Siri will now sound more natural to the ear and will also be able to provide active translations from languages such as English, Chinese French, German, Italian and Spanish. The AI is also becoming a lot smarter this time around, especially in the realm of suggestions, through something called on-device learning based on the personal usage statistics of the user and their usage habits through apps such as Safari, News, Mail, Messages and others. This learning is also synced through all the devices that a user takes control of, making it affective across macOS to iOS as well.
There is now a feature that iOS allows users to take portrait photos using the optical image stabilization, flash or HDR. There is also a new Loop effect and Bounce effect which can be applied to Live Photos. Apple is also using a High Efficiency Image File Format (HEIF) that enables users to save more storage space when saving images. A very convenient new feature is the camera’s ability to natively scan documents.
New Control Centre
The Control Centre has been redesigned a little, which now looks like a more widget-like appearance instead of a list of actions that can be performed. Once users swipe up, they will be greeted with the most frequent and important settings, will be able to change the songs when listening to music and also adjust the brightness simultaneously. For more options, users will be able to 3D touch on a widget in order to get more features.
New for iPad
The iOS does not anymore like an inflated version on the iPad anymore. Apple has been able to use the screen real estate of the iPad a little more effectively. The iPad now gets its own Dock just like the iMac does where users will be able to add multiple apps to it, instead of the constant number that was previously allowed depending on the number of columns of the homepage. There is a new drag-and-drop feature that allows for users to quickly move information and media from a split-screen app to another. While these kinds of copy-pasting activities existed on Android, it has been a long time coming for the iPad and fans will be relieved to know that the most basic functions are now there and intact. On iPad, certain pairings for split-screen will now be preserved so that users can get back to the paired apps without having to start a split-screen session all over again. It would have been great to see these features also carry out on the iPhones as well, since the screens are large enough, and as evidenced on Android, smaller screens can also perform multi-tasking and split-screening rather well. There seems to have been a missed opportunity here. The iPad will now have floating windows and better compatibility with the Apple Pencil, which can now be used to draw on the Notes app and make handwritten text searchable. This makes iPad a lot more like a computer than a mere tablet and will be something that most users will look forward to.
While Apple never wanted to include a file management app and offer users the freedom to go through their internal storage, the new Files App is somewhat of file manager that allows users to view their files on the device along with those stored on the cloud. The Files App supports iCloud, Dropbox, OneDrive, Google Drive and much more.
For basic conveniences, Apple has gone ahead and included maps for indoor locations such as airports, shopping centres and other public places, but only in select cities for now. Some of the cities which will be able to take advantage of this feature are Boston, Chicago, Hong Kong, London, Los Angeles, New York, Philadelphia, San Francisco, San Jose, Tokyo, and Washington DC. There are maps available for over 20 airports in the US as well internationally. When the user is driving, Maps will provide lane guidance and speed limiters to give the driver a better understanding of how to manoeuvre the roads. A much-needed new safety measure has also been introduced called the Do Not Disturb While Driving feature that removes any distractions that should occur on the screen while the driver is behind the wheel. There will be no text messages shown on default, so long as the word “urgent” is not mentioned in the text
Apple Music, AirPlay 2, HomeKit 2 and Multi-Room Audio compatibility
iOS is going to be a lot more useful to Smart home users, especially for supporting multi-room audio that will be controlled by iPads, iPhones in order to use various third-party speakers. Apple Music will allow for users to now see what their friends are currently listening to. There is also a private listening option that omits others from checking on what users are listening to. An unnecessary feature that is more intrusive than intrusive. Most would probably not want others to listen in on them hearing their music. With AirPlay, developers can now take advantage of the API to allow for more compatibility for different speakers and provide more functions than just playing music.
iOS introduces major changes to the App Store. It has finally received a much-needed makeover and also comes with a “Today” tab that provides information on notable releases and also offers suggestions. The Games section now has its own dedicated tab. App Store now wants users to be more inclusive into the app making process by having a new section that consists of making-of stories editorial aspects related to certain apps. Users will also be able to see the list of in-app purchases available on the app-store without the user needing to open the app and see it for themselves.
ARKit allows for the basic development of Augmented Reality applications right form iOS for users, more so to developers in order to test and gauge the plausibility and how elements could be used in the real-world. It sounds vaguely familiar to Google’s own Project Tango, but minus the hype and the extra hardware requirements. According to the presentation, the kit provides fast and stable motion tracking, plane estimation with boundaries, ambient lighting estimation, scale estimation support for Unity, Unreal, SceneKit, Xcode and other templates.
Screen recording, Face-Time and other features
Some of the features that did not get a mention but are still notable additions to the operating system include the ability to now take screen recordings, one-handed keyboards, FaceTime Live Photos, password auto-fill, more language options for keyboards, storage optimization and much more.