iOS 11 is official. Apple’s latest version of its iPhone and iPad software has been unveiled by CEO Tim Cook during WWDC, the Cupertino company’s annual developer event.
So, what new features does it come with? And when can iPhone and iPad owners lay their hands on it? Read on and we’ll tell you five things you need to know about iOS 11.
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1) Augmented Reality smarts
Apple CEO Tim Cook has often talked about his admiration for augmented reality (AR), which allows virtual information to be layered on top of real-world views. Now, Apple is doubling down on the tech with ARkit, a new set of tools for developers that could change the way the entire app ecosystem works.
ARkit allows developers to make clever, AR views in their apps using the cameras and motion sensors in iPhone and iPad’s. Already a hit in last year’s Pokemon Go, it’s likely ARkit will boost gaming on the iPhone, as well as offer clever ways of seeing information in maps.
2) A boost to Siri
Siri now has its own speaker, the HomePod, aimed at taking on Amazon’s Echo. But the voice assistant has also been boosted for iPhone. iOS 11 will include a more realistic voice, as well as improved translation smarts, something Google Assistant has been able to handle well for some time.
There’s been a wider change to Siri’s machine learning skills too, with the ability to intuit personal preferences in one Apple app, such as Safari, and make recommendations in another, such as Messages,
3) Apple Pay gets clever
Apple Pay is likely to become far more popular once iOS 11 launches, thanks to the ability to pay friends through the service via the Messages app or Siri. Peer-to-peer payments are nothing new, Facebook already offers them in the U.S. But the ability to do so from the iPhone’s messaging app will be a huge boon.
Messages and Siri will use the card details already stored in a user’s Apple Wallet app, paying funds into Apple Pay Cash, a new service built specifically for iOS 11. Funds can then either be used to pay for things online or transferred into a bank account.
4) iPad overhaul
Apple’s push to turn the iPad into a proper desktop replacement continues with iOS 11. It now has a customisable dock for easy access to apps and documents from any screen (just like you get on a Mac), as well as a new Files app where users can access local files or those stashed in third party storage services such as Dropbox.
iOS 11 even allows for drag and drop functionality with the iPad, something which power users have been crying out for. Along with the company’s new 10.5–inch iPad Pro, it seems the days of the PC are definitely numbered.
5) All change in the App Store
The App Store has been given its first proper overhaul in almost a decade. Gone are the cluttered pages of apps and recommendations, to be replaced by a new, cleaner look with dedicated tabs for games and apps. And there’ll be an improved search and a better way to access in–app purchases.
Apple has also launched a new Today tab, which will feature interviews, reviews and how–to guides for app fanatics.