Apple announced the latest version of its mobile operating system iOS yesterday and it is a major update so to say. iOS 14 makes big changes to the home screen and for the first time on any Apple device, you will now be able to choose a default email and browser. Even Mozilla’s Firefox browser cheered the news of users being able to choose their default browsers, something Apple has never done. In a statement on Twitter, Firefox says; “Choice & control over your experience online is so important. We’re glad Apple is taking a step toward putting control back in people’s hands. Also doesn’t hurt that this’ll mean you can make Firefox your default browser on your iPhone/iPad. We all win.”
So here are some updates you should expect to see when the new OS finally arrives the iPhone. First users can now pin widgets with updating information on the home screen and this includes maps and calendars. The widgets can be dragged and dropped to the home screen which means that iOS 14 will now allow both apps and widgets to co-exist. While there has always been a widgets gallery, there wasn’t a way to drag them to the home screen but perhaps the big news on widgets in iOS 14 is that Apple says it is introducing one that uses artificial intelligence to predict what information you want to see based on your activities.
The other feature coming to iOS 14 is what Apple calls the App Library that automatically organises your apps. This makes it easier to manage apps in that users can delete now delete entire app rows instead of having to manually delete them one after the other. The App Library makes it easier to see similar apps in one place like seeing all apps under on genre in one place which makes it quicker to access or manage.
The Messages app no gets a mention feature like other instant messaging apps. There are now face mask emojis and then a new interface to show group text threads that can be pinned to the top.
Picture-in-picture mode is coming to iOS 14 and this allows you to keep watching videos while carrying out other tasks in the background. Picture-in-picture has become quite the thing lately with more web browsers embracing the feature. Apple says “Incoming FaceTime and phone calls and Siri interactions take on an all-new compact design that enables users to stay in the context of what they are doing. With Picture-in-Picture support, iPhone users can now watch a video or take a FaceTime call while using another app.” Picture-in-picture is coming to the iPhone in the latest mobile OS but has been around on the iPad for some time.
On the privacy side, if an app is using your phone camera or mic, Apple will now notify you so you can decide what to do. Siri gets a makeover too, “Siri expands its knowledge, helps find answers from across the internet, and can now send audio messages. Keyboard dictation runs on device when dictating messages, notes, email, and more.” There are now over 20 times more facts that Siri can provide to you from about a year ago.
Maps is not left out of the upgrade. Apple Maps will now include “Guides” from its partners Zagat and what this brings is to make Maps get some Google Maps features like restaurant content. “Guides provide a curated list of interesting places to visit in a city, created by a selection of trusted resources. Guides are a great way to discover hot new restaurants, find popular attractions, and explore new recommendations from respected brands, including AllTrails, Complex, The Infatuation, Time Out Group, and The Washington Post, among others.”
Incoming calls on iOS 14 can also be displayed as a banner notification instead of taking over the whole screen, something that can be seen in Google’s Android.
Apple also announced App Clips which can be launched via a visual code or NFC. Think of App Clips as a micro service style approach to deploying an app in that a Clip is part of an app that can be quickly downloaded for a particular need at that time. Apple also allows Clips to come with Apple Pay support which means you can pay for items or services at a certain time. What Apple is trying to achieve here is that those who just want a software in real time for a specific function should be able to do it without having to take up storage space in installing the entire application on your phone.
Developers can incorporate Clips into their apps in the App Store and for what its worth, they are native code based.
An App Clip is a small part of an app experience designed to be discovered the moment it is needed. App Clips are associated with a particular product or business, and load within seconds to complete a specific task, such as renting a scooter, purchasing a coffee, or filling a parking meter. They can be easily discovered and accessed by scanning a new Apple-designed App Clip code, or through NFC tags and QR codes, or shared in Messages or from Safari, all with the security and privacy expected from apps.
The new iOS 14 is now available to developers while a public beta will be released sometime in July.
See more from Apple below;
Translate is designed to be the best and easiest app for translating conversations, offering quick and natural translation of voice and text among 11 different languages. On-device mode allows users to experience the features of the app offline for private voice and text translation.
Siri expands its knowledge, helps find answers from across the internet, and can now send audio messages. Keyboard dictation runs on device when dictating messages, notes, email, and more.
The Home app makes smart home control even easier with new automation suggestions and expanded controls in Control Center for quicker access to accessories and scenes. Adaptive Lighting for compatible HomeKit-enabled lights automatically adjusts the color temperature throughout the day, and with on-device Face Recognition, compatible video doorbells and cameras can identify friends and family.6 The Home app and HomeKit are built to be private and secure, so all information about a user’s home accessories is end-to-end encrypted.
AirPods gain the ability to seamlessly switch between Apple devices with automatic device switching.7 Spatial audio with dynamic head tracking brings a theater-like experience to AirPods Pro. By applying directional audio filters, and subtly adjusting the frequencies each ear receives, sounds can be placed virtually anywhere in a space to provide an immersive listening experience.
Digital car keys give users a secure way to use iPhone or Apple Watch to unlock and start their car. Digital car keys can be easily shared using Messages, or disabled through iCloud if a device is lost, and are available starting this year through NFC. Apple also unveiled the next generation of digital car keys based on Ultra Wideband technology for spatial awareness delivered through the U1 chip, which will allow users to unlock future car models without removing their iPhone from their pocket or bag, and will become available next year.
Find My will add support for finding third-party products and accessories with the new Find My network accessory program. This will allow customers to use the Find My app to locate other important items in their lives, in addition to their Apple devices. User privacy remains central to the Find My network with end-to-end encryption built in. A draft specification is available for accessory makers and product manufacturers starting today.
Safari offers a Privacy Report so users can easily see which cross-site trackers have been blocked, secure password monitoring to help users detect saved passwords that may have been involved in a data breach, and built-in translation for entire webpages.
Health has all-new experiences to manage sleep, better understand audio levels that may affect hearing health, and a new Health Checklist — a centralized place to manage health and safety features — includes Emergency SOS, Medical ID, ECG, Fall Detection, and more. Health also adds support for new data types for mobility, Health Records, symptoms, and ECG.
TheWeather app and widget keep users up to date on severe weather events and a new next-hour precipitation chart shows minute-by-minute precipitation when rain is in the forecast.
Accessibility features include Headphone Accommodations, which amplifies soft sounds and tunes audio to help music, movies, phone calls, and podcasts sound crisper and clearer, and sign language detection in Group FaceTime, which makes the person signing more prominent in a video call. VoiceOver, the industry’s leading screen reader for the blind community, now automatically recognizes what is displayed visually onscreen so more apps and web experiences are accessible to more people.