Apple’s annual software update for its iPhone and iPad range is here. The iOS 11 version is available for developers right away with the public beta expected later in the year. When the final rollout happens, this OS version will be available as a free upgrade to everyone with compatible devices.
So what is new in iOS 11?
Unlike last year when the iMessage updates itself took up most of the iOS 10 update, this year there are no major changes are the feature level. That does not mean this is not a significant update. In fact, this might just be the most significant update in recent times. That is because of iOS 11 is going to integrate machine learning and augmented reality.
iOS 11: Here is a look at the best new features
Machine learning: With iOS 11, there operating systems will start using a lot of contextual information to make life simpler for users. During the demo, Apple showed how words from an article the user was researching ends up being pushed as a suggestion in messages soon after. Also, actions will become more intuitive as apps will be suggested with context based on what you are working on. It will manifest itself in many other ways too. For instance, the phone will be able to detect if you are driving and silence the notification and darken the screen. Machine learning will also help the system recognise handwriting in notes and make it searchable via spotlight.
Dock on the iPad: With the latest version iPad will make using the iPad much easier and productive. There will be a new dock which will help with multi-tasking with users now getting the ability to drag anything new app over what they are working on. As a next step, they will be able to drag and drop links, pictures or text from one app to the other, making work much more easier on the tablet.
Camera and photos: Apple has opened up the dual camera API to developers, so you can expect apps that make use of this feature which is now limited to the iPhone 7. Meanwhile, Live Photos now have loop and bounce effects while users will be able to trip them as needed. Also, Apple’s new High Efficiency Image File Format (HEIF) will make photos and videos shot with the iPhones lighter and thus easier to handle.
Siri is more natural: Siri has been getting more intelligent over time. Now it will have a more natural voice too, able to stress words for instance. Plus, Siri will be able to translate to multiple languages based on voice queries.
New Control Centre: Apple has not change the iOS look and feel much with iOS 11. However, the Control Centre — one of the most used features on the OS — has been changed and will now be just one page. On the iPad the control centre will also come with an app locker to assist with multi-tasking. There is also a new one-handed mode for use on the larger screen sizes.
(The author is in San Jose on the invite of Apple. )