As expected, Apple has announced the iOS 11 upgrade to its desktop operating system at the Worldwide Developers Conference in San Jose, California. And as was largely anticipated, the eleventh generation of this mobile operating system is one of the most significant in recent years. Many expect Apple to release a particularly revolutionary iPhone 8 in order to recognize the tenth anniversary of the iconic smartphone, and naturally iOS 11 is intrinsically tied in with this hardware release.
iOS 11 vs. iOS 10 Comparison
Apple’s senior vice president of Software Engineering, Craig Federighi, was on stage to deliver the new information on iOS 11, and the system certainly looks like a big improvement over iOS 10.
The first cab off the rank was Messages, which is effectively evolving into a cloud messaging service. Messages will now be stored primarily on the Apple servers, meaning that swapping between iPad, iPhone and Mac will be less problematical. Effectively, Messages will follow users without any syncing being required. This could be compared to the highly popular WhatsApp, but with new features bundled with it, alongside Mac support.
Apple was also particularly keen to promote huge updates to its Apple Pay mobile payment system. Peer-to-peer transactions are now possible, meaning that friends can be sent payment automatically with the Touch ID system. When a transfer is made using this system, the money will appear in one’s Apple Cash account. This is then enables users to spend the money in a store, or transfer the balance into any bank account, along with the option of sending it directly to friends.
Other big changes came with Apple’s personal assistant Siri. This is becoming an increasing jewel in the Apple crown, and it was not surprising that the Californian corporation placed a particular emphasis on Siri at its Worldwide Developers Conference presentation. The international flavor of Siri, and indeed the contemporary consumer electronics marketplace, was underlined by Apple’s promotion of wider translation in languages such as English, Chinese, French and Spanish.
Cosmetically, the software now has a more natural voice, which will make using Siri seem more appealing. Apple has also included improved support for opening and utilizing new apps with the software, meaning that the personal assistant is no longer restricted to Apple software alone. This will be very much welcome, as Apple is often criticized for ensuring that its devices are effectively closed shops.
Apple will deliver additional third-party support in order to ensure that developers can integrate apps with the voice-control persistent more readily. It is not known whether the new version of Siri will launch alongside the iOS 11 operating system, but it is expected to roll out before the calendar year is complete.
It seems that photography will also be a focus of the forthcoming iPhone 8 based on the information provided about iOS 11. New photo and video formats have been included in the iOS 11 operating system, with Apple shifting to HEVC and HIVC in order to provide more storage. These proprietary formats effectively dobule the efficiency of storage, meaning that users will be able to store more media on their devices.
Apple also promised compatibility for sharing, but there was some scepticism among observers whether this would actually come to fruition.
The infamous Control Center will also receive a facelift in the iOS 11 generation, with the stability of the system also significantly improved. This guiding force for the iOS 11 system has been reduced to one pane from the typical three, with some nifty new animations making the overall system feel more fun to use. Apple was particularly keen to promote the brightness and volume settings, which created a strong impression on the observing audience.
Apple also announced new improvements to Notifications and the lock screen, which should see the system somewhat streamlined. Notifications from the lock screen can now be mirrored in a far superior fashion once a device has been unlocked. And it is also possible now to swipe on the lock screen in order to access the entire backlog of notifications. This would certainly seem to make Notifications a more useful feature of the iOS 11 operating system.
Maps is arguably trailing behind Google’s similar system by some distance, but Apple has certainly not given up on this software just yet. Apple announced new updates to indoor mapping, beginning with malls and airports. Of course, it will be impossible to render every single mall and airport in the world immediately, but many will appear online as soon as iOS 11 goes live. Apple promises indoor floor plans and navigation tips, as well as information on where security is located.
Additionally, Maps also incorporates functionality aimed at the keen motorist. Turn-by-turn navigation benefits from speed limits being overlaid, with lane suggestions helping drivers get through complex intersections. Meanwhile, Do Not Disturb While Driving enables devices to intuitively understand if a car is being driven, and blocks out any messaging or contact during this period. The system even automatically responds to text messages with a response indicating that a user is in his or her car.
AirPlay 2 and Apple Music
In the music department, Apple has delivered a new AirPlay 2 protocol, which will see new options provided for users. Big changes here are the “up next” option and support for multi-room playback. Apple also announced a new app to support Apple music. Again, Apple announced integration for third-party applications, making iOS 11 a more flexible performer.
There was no specific talk of augmented reality, but this does not necessarily mean this cannot be patched in at a later date. Nonetheless, there were enough updates to whet the appetite of Apple fans ahead of the release of the iPhone 8.