At the World Wide Developers Conference yesterday, Apple announced iOS 11, its latest iteration of its mobile operating system. While the new OS doesn’t bring any major UI upgrade, which is slightly bit disappointing, it is indeed loaded with features especially geared towards improving productivity on the iPad.
Let’s take a look at what’s in store when iOS 11 releases for the iPhone and iPad sometime later this year:
New iMessage Features:
With iOS 10, Apple upgraded the look and functionality of the iMessage with stickers, emojis, and more. In iOS 11, Apple is making it even more accessible with a dedicated applications tray that allows you to access your favorite stickers and applications without having to navigate through menus.
The update will also improve synchronization across all devices, so if you sign in to another device, all of your iMessage chat history will be transferred over. Deleting a message from a chat will be affected across all devices.
Finally, Apple has integrated Apple Pay with iMessage where you will be able to exchange money with another user using the new person-to-person transactions.
One-handed Keyboard Mode
A small but extremely useful feature: the iOS keyboard is getting a one-handed mode, where the keys are squeezed to the side of the screen for better reachability. Now we can finally type while sleeping!
A Brand New Control Center
Apple has crammed all of the Control Center settings onto a single screen, so you will no longer have to manage two separate slides to get to your favorite settings. Each of the settings is now Force Touch-enabled, which brings more controls and information when used. What’s more, the Control Center is entirely customizable where you can remove and add new toggles (like Cellular Data) onto to the pane.
New Compression Formats for Videos and Pictures
iOS 11 will now record videos in HEVC format, which Apple claims give better compression and use less space while maintaining the same quality as the old H.264 format. Even pictures will be captured in a new HEIF format, which is again designed to take up less space. Despite the use of new formats, Apple says users will be able to share the media with others just as before.
The Photos app has also received a few nifty upgrades. Users can now create loops out of Live Photos, which works pretty similar to the Boomerang effect found on Instagram. Live Photos also packs a number of effects - such as adding a long exposure effect onto a video. Users can also pick out a single frame from a Live Photo and make it the ‘main image’ for that particular picture.
Siri, Can You Translate This?
Siri can now translate languages on the fly. At launch, Siri will support the translation from English to Chinese, French, German, Italian, and Spanish. More languages will be added in the months to come. Apple has also made Siri sound a lot less robotic and more human, with a much more natural way to speak words and phrases.
Do Not Disturb While Driving
iOS 11 is now fitted with a new Do Not Disturb feature that blocks non-important notifications if it detects you are driving. You will still receive all of the notifications but they will not be shown while you are driving. If someone texts you on iMessage, it will automatically respond with a message saying that you will get back to them later. However, if the message contains the word ‘urgent’, it will let that message pass through the filter. The feature can be easily disabled just in case you are in the passenger seat.
Maps for Malls
Apple has added indoor maps for shopping malls and major Airports in its updated Apple Maps app. The feature will support only a few countries in the USA at launch, but Apple has promised to spread the love to other countries throughout the year. We cannot wait for this feature to come to Dubai, as it will make navigating the often complex and maze-like malls in the city an absolute breeze. Only now if it could automatically detect where we parked our cars in Dubai Mall…
A Redesigned App Store
The App Store has received a major facelift that will definitely show an impact on how users discover new apps and games. Now you have a new Today tab which features the hottest and most popular apps at a glance, with daily ‘Game of the Day’ and ‘App of the Day’ picks. The store is also visually streamlined with bigger pictures and richer app descriptions.
New iPad Features
iOS 11 is big for iPad users, as it has received the biggest visual UI lift as well as a host of productivity upgrades.
The dock on the iPad now behaves like the one found on Macs, and holds a greater number of apps and intelligently moves the most used apps to the right. Users will be able to easily drag and drop apps on the dock, and also use it to open two apps side by side in a multi-task view. Paired apps stay together on re-launch. There is also a new UI to switch between apps and is easily enabled by flicking four fingers from bottom to the top.
Apple Pencil users can now take notes instantly by tapping the Pencil on the lock screen. All of your scribbles will be saved in the Notes App, which can now also scan documents using the camera. Documents will be automatically straightened and presented for you to edit and save, much like the popular app Scannable.
The New Files App
iOS 11 will bring a new app called Files, which is sort of a file manager to easily sort and manage your files on your various cloud services like Google Drive, Dropbox, Microsoft Skydrive and more.
iOS 11 is scheduled to release in the Fall, most likely with the launch of the new iPhone. However, those curious to get their hands on it right away can do so by installing a developer profile on their device and downloading the latest developer preview of the OS. However, doing this can be quite risky and might destabilize your device, so make sure you have backed up all of your files before attempting it!