The ongoing Apple Worldwide Developers Conference (WWDC) 2017 in San Jose, California, has seen the unveiling of new products such as HomePod, iMac Pro, 10.5-inch iPad Pro, MacOS High Sierra, WatchOS 4 and iOS 11.
The iOS 11 has been called the ‘biggest software release ever’ by Apple and comes with fresh updates to Siri, new AR experiences, better multitasking on iPad and much more.
“iOS 11 is the biggest software release ever with powerful multitasking features, the Files app and more ways to use Apple Pencil; bringing new experiences and hundreds of features to iPhone and iPad this fall,” Apple stated.
Multi Tasking for iPad
With the iOS 11 update, iPad users will be able to make use of the customisable Dock which will show the most frequently used apps or documents.
The app switcher has been redesigned too, making it easier to move between active app windows using the split view or slide over.
Apple Pencil Update and Files App
Apple Pencil has received a major update as now it supports inline drawing for iPad. In addition to that, users will also be able to take notes directly from the Lock Screen via the Instant Notes feature which can be accessed simply by tapping on the display.
Files app keeps all of your files in one place. Whether you’ve them stored on iCloud, Box, Dropbox or any other cloud-based storage, they’ll all be accessible under Files app and can be transferred from one storage to the other seamlessly, thanks to the drag and drop feature.
Augmented Reality Implementation
Using the built-in camera and motion sensors, Apple is helping developers to integrate high-quality AR experience for iPhone and iPad.
The ARKit offered by Apple to developers helps them use the latest computer vision tech to create immersive AR content which can be used in gaming, shopping, industrial design and more.
“With iOS 11, we’re delivering the biggest AR platform in the world, and it’s available today for developers to begin building AR experiences using ARKit for hundreds of millions of iPhone and iPad users,” said Craig Federighi, Senior VP of Software Engineering, Apple.
Siri Becomes a Versatile Conversationalist
One of the most popular personal assistants, Siri powers over 375 million active Apple devices across 36 countries.
Apple has made the personal assistant more versatile using the latest machine learning and artificial intelligence tech.
“New male and female voices are more natural and expressive, adjusting intonation, pitch, emphasis and tempo while speaking,” the company stated.
The enhanced Siri can now also translate English words and phrases into Chinese, French, German, Italian and Spanish.
Siri Talks on Texts and Has Suggestions
A feature which should’ve preceded the voice-enabled personal assistants, Siri has finally been endowed with the ability to converse via texts.
It’s not always convenient to have a voice chat with our smartphones, so the text chat with Siri is a welcome update.
Other than this, Siri will also be offering relevant suggestions to users based on their usage of apps like Safari, News, Mail, Messages and others.
“Siri learns topics or places a user is interested in while browsing Safari, they will be suggested when typing in Mail, Messages and other apps,” the company stated.
Apple Pay Comes to Messages (and Siri)
Now Apple Pay users will be able to send and receive money to another number quickly and securely as they get the ability to send money directly from Messages.
Alternatively, users can also choose to ask Siri to make the payments using the saved Credit or Debit cards in the Wallet.
This feature, however, will only be available in the US on iPhone SE, iPhone 6 and later, iPad Pro, iPad 5th generation, iPad Air 2, iPad mini 3 and Apple Watch.
Do Not Disturb While Driving Mode
iOS 11 introduces the Do Not Disturb While Driving feature to help users stay more focused while driving.
iPhone will automatically detect when a user is driving and will silence all notifications in order to keep the screen dark while the user drives.
Users can set up an auto-reply, letting their contacts listed under ‘Favorites’ know that they’re driving and can not respond at the moment.
One-Handed Keyboard Mode
iPhone will get the one-handed keyboard mode, which will make it easier to type while on the go. The one-handed mode is enabled on Maps for zooming in and out.
Apple Maps Offers Airport Indoor Maps
Apple Maps has added several indoor maps for major airports and shopping centres worldwide. The app also gets real-time lane guidance.
Follow Your Friends on Apple Music
Apple Music now offers additional ways to discover music — the one that your friends are listening to. Subscribers can now create profiles, which can be followed by friends and others.
When you follow a profile, you’ll be able to listen to the playlists shared by them and also take a peek at their frequently played tracks.
Apple News – Assisted by Siri and Editors
Apple News users will now get personalised suggestions from Siri alongside stories curated by the Apple News editors under the Spotlight tab and videos under Today View.
Apple has also introduced changes to the App Store, App Store for iMessage, Control Center, Home, AirPlay 2 for consumers.
Developers have been given CoreML, HomeKit, SiriKit and MusicKit in order to develop apps and programmes to support Apple’s augmented reality vision and upgradation of support for smart home, its personal assistant and music app.
The iOS 11’s developer preview is already out a public beta will also be released later this month.
The stable iOS 11 release is scheduled for fall 2017 and will grace iPhone 5s and later devices, all iPad Air and iPad Pro models, iPad 5th generation, iPad mini 2 and later devices, and iPod touch 6th generation.