Apple fans are all excited about the 10th anniversary iPhone 8. But there has been a little less focus on the operating system that would run the iPhone 8. The iOS 11 is set to be officially unveiled at the Worldwide Developer Conference (WWDC) on June 5th at the McEnery Convention Center in San Jose. The iOS 10 was a significant improvement over its predecessor. The iOS 11 has to set a whole new standard in terms of features because it will be powering Apple’s 10th anniversary iPhone that will bring exciting new features.
Apple has not revealed anything about the iOS 11. But app developers, rumors, and concept designs help shed light on how the upcoming mobile operating system would differ from the iOS 10. Here’s what, according to the rumor mill, will be new in the upcoming firmware upgrade:
Group FaceTime calling
In January, rumors indicated that Apple could finally introduce group FaceTime calling with the iOS 11. Reports coming out of Israel claimed that Apple was already working on the functionality. Apple may consider implementing the feature in the upcoming OS upgrade, especially given the rising popularity of group video chatting apps. Several concept designers have imagined the feature and how it would work. Lack of group calling is one of the reasons why FaceTime is still not a true rival to Skype.
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iOS 11 will not support 32-bit apps
The current iOS 10 supports 32-bit apps, but the latest versions of iOS 10 have been warning users and developers that the future versions of iOS would not support 32-bit apps. It means apps that haven’t been updated to support 64-bit processor will not work on iOS 11. Apple started migrating away from 32-bit in 2013 with the launch of the iPhone 5S. However, 64-bit support was mandated for apps only in 2015.
According to analytics firm Sensor Tower, almost 8% of apps in the App Store are still stuck on 32-bit. It means roughly 200,000 apps will become unusable on the upcoming iPhones, iPads, and devices where users upgrade to iOS 11. If you want to keep using a 32-bit app, the only option you’ll have is not to upgrade to the new firmware.
This is arguably the most requested feature from iPhone users. Apple is coming up with a new Theater Mode for iOS and watchOS, but it is nowhere close to what the Dark Mode is supposed to be. The new Dark Mode would provide a system-wide dark background that would ease the eyes at night. App developer Andrew Wiik has spotted a Dark Mode in the Settings app in iOS Simulator.
It has sparked speculations that the feature would be later introduced to the iOS 11. The Dark Mode could also help improve a device’s battery life by reducing the display’s power consumption.
Siri was once the best digital voice assistant. But now it is lagging behind the likes of Google Assistant, Amazon Alexa, and Samsung’s Bixby. Apple’s digital assistant can’t answer follow-up questions. Apple is working to give Siri a major overhaul amid stiff competition from rivals. The next-gen Siri will sound more natural, and get a boost in terms of artificial intelligence. Apple will also reportedly open it to third-party apps.
To improve Siri, Apple is going to use technology from Turi, an Australian machine learning startup it acquired last year. Turi helps developers create apps with enhanced machine learning and AI capabilities.
Augmented reality (AR) support
Apple CEO Tim Cook has never tried to hide his love for augmented reality. He has even predicted that AR could become as big an opportunity as the smartphone. The Wall Street Journal reports that the upcoming iPhone 8 would have specialized hardware to support AR. Apple and its partners are developing different sensors and modules needed for the feature. The iOS 11 is expected to have the software provisions to support augmented reality.
Apple has been consistently improving its Maps app, but it still lags behind its key rival Google Maps. According to a report from Bloomberg, Apple has been flying drones to collect data on changes in roads and construction zones to improve its Maps app. The publication adds that Maps in iOS 11 would offer indoor navigation, and improvements to car navigation. For indoor mapping, Apple has acquired a startup called Indoor.io.
It is widely rumored that the iOS 11 would introduce a video sharing application. It will be yet another step in Apple’s attempt to integrate social networking apps within the iOS. Bloomberg reported last year that Apple was working on software that would allow video editing and sharing within iOS. The team behind Final Cut Pro and iMovie are said to be involved in bringing this feature to iOS 11.
WWDC is just a few months away. We will get to know which new features the iOS 11 will have only when the event kicks off on June 5th. The operating system will then go through months-long beta testing before being rolled out to the public with the iPhone 7S, 7S Plus, and iPhone 8 in September.