WWDC is one of Apple’s flagship events in the calendar and we usually hear all about what to expect from the next iteration of iOS. This year we have been spoilt with new versions of iOS, macOS and the watchOS. Today we are going to look at what Apple announced and how it affects app users, developers and Apple hardware fans.
For iPhone and iPad users, iOS 11 allows iMessages to seamlessly sync between devices, freeing up space by uploading older messages and photo’s to the cloud. For fans of Apple pay you can now pay your contacts through iMessages using a new system called “Apple Pay Cash” card. This will allow you to instantly receive money from your friends and family without the need to share bank information.
Siri has been improved as well, it can now translate queries into different languages, including French, Spanish and Chinese, and will support third-party apps through the Sirikit developers kit, which was released by Apple last year. Siri has also been improved by allowing it to read the text on the screen and allows you to spell complicated words more easily.
In an interesting move, the lock screen and notifications window are merging together. Which will now be accessible from the lock screen. Personally, we’re going to wait to see how it works until we pass judgement, It could be a privacy nightmare if not done correctly.
In what is sure to be a welcome move for drivers and law makers a new feature which detects if the user is driving the phone and switch your phone to Do Not Disturb mode. This means you will no longer be tempted to grab your phone when you are driving when you hear the sound of a message or a notificaition.
The App Store
Perhaps the biggest surprise coming out of this conference was a complete overhaul of the App Store. Apple revealed it to look like its streaming service, Apple Music. The new storefront will feature eye-catching promo art, a new tab for games and increased visibility for in-app purchases. For developers, a new feature has been implemented to include phased-releases which allow them to push major updates.
iOS 11 on iPad
Apple also dedicated a section of the new iOS 11 to iPad, specific features including a new dock for apps, a multi-app view which allows for easy multitasking, and a brand new files app. Our resident intern Tom Ankers described the changes for iPad as, “a move towards MacOS for the iPad, which is a good thing for productivity and business use”. For those of us with an Apple Pencil, iOS will actively understand your handwriting in the Notes app so it can search the text for possible fixes, and omissions.
Lastly, to go head to head with the likes of Facebook and Google in the AR field Apple touted their own AR kit which they are calling “The largest AR Platform in the world”. Apple has stated that the platform will feature Natural Language capabilities, Face tracking and Photo recognition. The AR kit will be out by the end of the year!
It seems as though Apple have really stepped up their game with this year’s conference. In addition to this they also revealed the following;
- A new homepod speaker to rival that of Amazon Echo and Google Home. With a major emphasis on music playback, something they targeted as a weakness with their rival’s products.
- A new super powered iMac, in black! Targeting the high end developer market.
- A new iPad Pro with a major performance boost to handle iOS 11.
- And a new watchOS with new watch faces.
It will be an interesting few months for developers and users of Apple products, and those early adopters of iOS 11 are sure to have fun with the new system.
You can download iOS 11 Beta now if you’re a registered Apple developer. If you’re not or its not your cup of tea then the likely release date for iOS 11 is September.