Apple will launch its latest update to its most important software product at the Worldwide Developers Conference later this year, as iOS 11 is unveiled. The annual Apple conference is due to take place in San Jose this year in June, and here the Cupertino-based company will be introducing both the developers and its users to its latest mobile operating system.

iOS 11 will be particularly important as it will form the software basis for the iPhone 8 range. The smartphone will be one of the most critical in the history of Apple, marking the tenth generation of the iconic iPhone series. It is already predicted that Apple will completely redesign the iPhone concept for the iPhone 8, so iOS 11 will need to deliver outstanding features to accompany this.

iOS 11

AI Siri

The next generation Siri system promises to be a major step forward over previous releases of the personal assistant, with a strong artificial intelligence element anticipated by analysts. The personal assistant niche is generally developing rather rapidly, with Samsung set to reveal its Bixby assistant later this year, and several other rivals to Siri already comprising the existing marketplace. Google’s Assistant and Amazon’s Alexa are now available on both smartphones and their smart devices, while HTC has also produced Sense Companion.

So although Apple was the first to market with its voice assistant, the company is now being challenged from multiple directions, and must deliver something revolutionary if Siri is to reach the pinnacle of this niche once more. It is notable that the Google Assistant is rather more sophisticated than the Apple personal assistant, and thus Apple is even facing the danger of being left behind.

Thus, the iOS 11 version of Siri is expected to deliver significant improvements over previous generations, with its artificial intelligence capabilities a particular focus. Central to this process will be Apple’s acquisition of Australian start-up Turi in August 2016. Turi provides developers with the ability to create apps featuring machine learning and artificial intelligence capabilities, and this is expected to migrate to Siri and iOS 11 in 2017.

iOS 11 – 3D Touch

The 3D Touch system is already one of the highlights of the Apple mobile phone system, but the touch-sensitive technology is set to be upgraded further still in 2017. iOS 11 will ensure that it is possible for users to employ this technology throughout the body of the forthcoming iPhone 8, effectively replacing physical buttons with pressure-sensitive devices embedded within the phone itself. iOS 11 will need some outstanding software provisions in order to achieve this, but it is nonetheless expected to deliver this functionality.

Virtual reality

iOS 11 is also being linked with Kinect-like functionality, with a 3D front camera featuring a sensor with depth-sensing capabilities. This will enable facial recognition for games and other software, drawing comparisons with the Kinect system included in the Microsoft Xbox 360 and Xbox One. Virtual reality is becoming increasingly important in the technology marketplace, and iOS 11 is also expected to feature software provisions to support this exciting innovation.

Improved Maps

Apple has already done its best to improve the Maps software included in the iOS system, but iOS 11 will once again step up the quest of the company to rival Google Maps. Drones and indoor navigation software will be utilized in order to advance the software, according to Bloomberg Technology, with the new feature expected to include inside views of buildings and improvements to car navigation. It seems that iPhone 8 and iOS 11 users will benefit from a much improved piece of software later this year.

Video sharing

It has been widely anticipated that the iOS 11 operating system will feature a video sharing application similar to Snapchat. This is according to another report from August published in Bloomberg. This feature would play a role in Apple’s ongoing quest to integrate social networking applications within the iOS operating system. It need hardly be said that social media is becoming increasingly important for technology companies.

Dark Mode

One of the most common requests from iPhone users with regard to the iOs operating system is the inclusion of a Dark Mode feature. The light utilized by the existing version of iOS is still bright when exposed in a grim environment. This has been addressed to some extent by the theater mode included in the 10.3 release of iOS, but Apple could introduce an entirely new Dark Mode when iOS 11 is unveiled.

More customization

There is no doubt that the iOS operating system delivers one of the slickest experiences found in any software package. But a continuing bugbear of the system’s regular users is the lack of customization available. Control Center is particularly prevalent in this complaint, with many Apple uses wishing desperately that Apple would allow more customization of this critical facet of the operating system. This could arrive when iOS 11 is released.

Multi-screen iPad support

One feature which has been suggested for iOS 11 is multi-screen support for the iPad tablet. This would be vital for the tablet as a professional and production tool, effectively enabling users to utilize the iPad as a main computer. One possible solution to this problem that has been suggested would be for iOS 11 to rely on the use of a mouse or touchpad connected via Bluetooth. Whether or not this comes to fruition with the iOS 11 system remains to be seen, but it has been heavily rumored.

Split-screen mode search

Another new feature that has been touted in some quarters is the inclusion of a search facility for split-screen mode. This is a rather minor suggestion, but one that would actually be rather nifty and helpful when seeking out applications that haven’t been used for sometime.

Supported devices

Finally, he following devices are expected to receive iOS 11 support: iPhone 7and 7 Plus, iPhones 6s, 6s Plus and 6, iPhone SE, iPhone 5s, iPad Pro 12.9-inch, iPad Pro 9.7-inch, iPad Air 2, iPad Air, iPad 4th Gen, iPad Mini 4 and iPod Touch 6th Gen.