iOS 11 was the least surprising announcement of WWDC. Apple has announced new versions of its mobile operating system at its developer conference for years. While the final version of iOS 11 won’t be available until September, here’s what Apple has in store for you with iOS 11.
Apple CEO Tim Cook started by saying that iOS 10 is installed on 86 percent of iOS devices. Apple SVP of Software Engineering Craig Federighi then introduced us to iOS 11’s new features. “There’s a big focus on technologies with iOS 11, but also new features,” Federighi said.
With iOS 11, stickers and iMessage apps are now more accessible with a shortcut drawer — there’s no need to tap multiple times to send a sticker. Now, conversations are automatically synchronized with iCloud and stay in sync. If you delete a message, it goes away everywhere. So say goodbye to the good old avalanche of outdated messages on your Mac when you come back from vacation.
When it comes to Apple Pay, you can now send money to other Apple Pay users — think Venmo or Square Cash. It’s built into iMessage when you want to send money. And if you receive money, you get an Apple Pay Cash card with a balance. You can spend this money using Apple Pay, send this money again or withdraw it to your bank account.
Siri is one of the big new updates in iOS 11. Siri is used on 375 million devices every month. With iOS 11, the voice sounds more natural with better inflections. You can now ask for translations using Siri — starting with Chinese, French, German, Italian and English.
And Siri is getting better at understanding the context, your interests and more. Apple calls this “Siri intelligence” and it affects the entire operating system. When somebody asks you “how far are you?”, iOS will look at your calendar to see where you’re supposed to go and suggest the answer in Messages. If you’ve been looking at Iceland travel tips, it’ll add Reykjavik to your autocorrect dictionary, suggest news stories about Iceland in the News app and more.
The camera app now also supports HEVC (also known as h.265). It should let you shoot better quality video with a smaller file size. And it looks like the image processing layer is getting an update as well as you should get better photos with the same old phone. You can edit live photos to choose a different main still photo. And just like Instagram’s Boomerang, you can make live photos go back and forth or loop. Apple added the Memories tab to the Photos app last year. With iOS 11, the company is adding new smart albums, including a #TBT album.
Control Center is receiving a major update. It looks completely new and features a ton of buttons. Apple doesn’t want you to swap between multiple tabs. For instance, you can adjust the brightness and pause the music on the same page. And if you want more details, you can 3D touch on a widget to get more features.
Apple updated the driving direction in Apple Maps with iOS 10. Now, with iOS 11 you get detailed maps for malls in American cities and airports — Americans are going to love this.
When you’re driving, iOS recognizes that you’re connected to the audio system with Bluetooth or uses the iPhone’s motion sensors to activate a new ‘do not disturb’ mode. With this mode, you don’t get any notifications and you can configure an auto-reply if somebody texts you.
AirPlay is receiving a major update. With AirPlay 2, you can connect multiple speakers using WiFi and control multiple speakers using your iOS device. Libratone, Devialet, Bose, B&O and more are all going to support AirPlay 2. But that’s not all. AirPlay 2 gets a developer API. Developers can finally play with AirPlay.
Developers will also be able to work with Apple Music thanks to a new MusicKit API. For instance, Shazam will be able to auto-add songs to an Apple Music playlist (finally).
Phil Schiller talked briefly about App Store changes. The most important one is that the App Store is getting a brand new design. It looks a bit more like Apple News. ‘Today’ is going to give you the personalized app recommendations, while games get their own, separate tab. There will also be an ‘Apps’ tab to see recommendations from the App Store team.
Based on the demo, there will be a ton of text, images and content in general. It looks cleaner with a better layout and less taps. This redesign is long overdue anyway.
And that’s about it for iOS 11. Beta starts today and you can expect more tweaks over the summer. Everybody will be able to download iOS 11 for free in September.
Update: It turns out that Apple had a bunch of new things in store. At the end of the keynote, Federighi came back on stage to announce iPad-specific features. On the iPad, there’s now a dock at the bottom of the screen so that you can switch between apps more easily. And if you need to use two apps at once, you can drag and drop an app and snap it on the side using Split View.
Talking about Split View, the app picker is completely new. It features Control Center shortcuts as well as previews of recently opened apps. It’s much better than the tiny column of icons in iOS 10.
There’s a new Files app that lets you browse your files on your iPad and on your cloud services. And then you can drag and drop files between Mail and the Files app. Apps don’t work in silo anymore and it’s a big revolution for Apple.
You can now draw in the Notes app using the Apple Pencil, and Apple will make this text searchable using OCR. The camera app is also receiving native document scanning. When you take a screenshot, a tiny pop-up appears in the corner. If you tap on it, you can crop your screenshot and annotate it without having to open the Photos app.
In many ways, iOS on the iPad feels more like a traditional computer. There are floating windows, a dock and more. This is how Apple plans to make the iPad more powerful.
iOS 11 is going to work on iPad Air and later, iPad mini 2 and later, iPad 5th gen and later, iPhone 5s and later.