How time flies, and Apple’s iOS is already celebrating its 11th version. Apple certainly wasted no time in pushing iOS 11 to the forefront at the WWDC (Apple WorldWide Developers Conference), portraying a slew of new features and capabilities that makes it the most advanced and relevant version of iOS to date. iOS 11 is set to be released later this Fall, so there are still a few more months to go before your iPad and iPhone get to enjoy the official iOS 11 version. Of course, those who have the intestinal fortitude might want to get a feel of iOS 11 through the early developer version, which will definitely have its fair share of quirks that need to be ironed out beforehand.
Files is a dedicated File Manager app
Better late than never applies to the Files app, which is a dedicated File Manager app. It does seem as though Apple is able to get away with some things right from the get go for so many years without obtaining too much flak from its user base. The lack of a dedicated File Manager app would certainly have irked the Android community to no end if it has not been included for more than a decade, and we are glad to say that Apple has finally pulled up their socks to get the job done right at long last. The Files app will be extremely basic in nature, where it functions more as a central place to locate or delete files as you free up more room for other items. Files will also be able to peer into all of your stashed data on iCloud, different kinds of third party online storage services such as Dropbox, Box, and Google Drive.
Siri gets an upgrade
Siri, Apple’s take on the artificial intelligence voice control persona, will also gain a boost in iOS 11. One will be able to enjoy more options for Siri, obtaining better graphics and more expressive male and female voice options. Expect Siri to be a better travel companion with its polished translation skills, where among them include English to Chinese, Italian, German, French, and Spanish. In due time, additional languages will be added into the mix, and Siri will gain the ability to learn based on the user’s usage patterns. This will take into consideration the user’s interests, location, and past information requests, although it will be limited to the device itself.
Apple intends to usher in a new era with an improved Apple Music in iOS 11, although Apple Music is not likely to usurp Spotify anytime soon. Apple Music in iOS 11 lets you check out what tunes are popular among your family and friends, although there is the option to keep your eclectic music taste private if you wish to. There will be a Shared ‘Up Next’ playlist so that other contacts can see what tunes you have on your playlist before making recommendations to tweak that playlist accordingly.
Messages become better, supports peer-to-peer Apple Pay Payments
While iMessage is touted by many to be one of the best mobile messaging platforms in the market within an iOS ecosystem, there is always room for improvement, and the software engineers at Apple have done it again by improving on iMessage. How does iOS 11 change iMessage? Users can make use of Apple Pay thanks to a new iMessage app, where it will rely on TouchID fingerprint authentication for security purposes in order to send encrypted end-to-end payments to the person whom you are “talking” to. iCloud in iOS 11 will also guarantee a perfect synchronization of your messages across the myriad of iOS 11-powered devices that you own, which means you would be up to speed all the time.
Control Center and Notification Center redesigned
Expect iOS 11 to introduce a redesign for its Control Center and Notification Center. All of the options will now be accessible via a single screen. This includes playback and AirPlay controls, and there is also an easier to use vertical slider design when it comes to controlling brightness levels and volume controls. Not only that, the Notification Center and lock screen will also be merged as one screen. This does away with the need to swipe screens sideways, since scrolling up or down makes life a whole lot easier.
Apple Maps goes 3D
Remember how drone-free Apple Maps stunk all those years ago, where it brought people to the wrong places, and its listings were inaccurate? All of those weaknesses have been weeded out in iOS 11. In fact, Apple Maps has progressed to such an extent where it is even able to be used when one is indoors, and we suspect that many people would have used Apple Maps on their iPhones to find their way in and around massive shopping malls. What’s new for Apple Maps in iOS 11? It looks like the introduction of 3D maps will certainly up the wow factor, allowing the navigation of shopping malls more fun. Of course, this will be available in major cities first, before it spreads to other smaller suburbs.
If you prefer Apple Maps to Google Maps while driving, iOS 11 will introduce speed limits as well as lane guidance warnings. Apple Maps plays catch up with Google Maps here with the introduction of one-handed zoom, without explaining how it will function in iOS 11. We will simply need to wait until this Fall to find out.
Apart from shopping malls, indoor maps for major airports worldwide will also be made available in iOS 11. This is certainly a welcome development for frequent travelers and for those who tend to make stops at major cities, but it is not so relevant for folks working in smaller cities or even towns, and hardly take flights as a mode of transport. Still, the improvement in Apple Maps for iOS 11 is a welcome one by all means.
Apple CarPlay Do Not Disturb
Road safety gets a boost with a minor change to Apple CarPlay in iOS 11, letting the iPhone and iPad being used in the car only at certain times. In other words, whenever you are moving on the road, you would be disallowed access to your iOS 11-powered device, as CarPlay will lock down on your handset so that your eyes will be able to concentrate on the road, while your two hands remain on the steering wheel. There will be an auto-reply option made available for messages, so that those who are trying to get in touch with you while you are behind the wheel would know that they can call back later, or expect you to return their call.
Better iPad Apple Pencil Support
The Apple Pencil’s main purpose was to see action with the huge iPad Pro, offering a more realistic feeling when it comes to sketching digitally on paper. However, it seems that Apple must have seen just how poor the Apple Pencil’s sales figures were, hence expanding its compatibility in iOS 11 to be able to be used on the iPad. Apple Pencil will also be supported in standard apps such as Mail, Safari, screenshots, and Notes, rather than relying on a regular stylus or your grease-stained finger, proving earlier rumors right.
Home Kit and AirPlay 2
IKEA-compatible HomeKit will see AirPlay 2 support integrated in iOS 11, letting you gain full control of compatible audio hardware that supports multi-room playback, the Apple TV included. We do hope that subsequent releases of iOS will eventually offer Sonos support.
Better use of cameras and other sensors
ARKit is a new backend tool for developers which will make full use of the iPhone or iPad’s camera, sensors, gyroscopes, and other internal hardware so that an improved augmented reality experience can be forged. Not only that, the camera apps will also receive new photography filters in iOS 11, while Live Photos can be cropped. Expect to maximize your iPhone or iPad’s storage space thanks to iOS 11 offering a new HEIF compression scheme that is touted to offer a more efficient shrinking algorithm than JPEG, while doing the same for video via a new HEVC video codec.