Earlier this week Apple unveiled the newest upgrade to its mobile operating system, which will be available in the fall. Apple says this is the biggest update to the iPhone and iPad home screen to date. Before I go any further, a lot of the announced features coming to the iPhone and iPad have been available on Android devices for a while now. So Android users, just let us Apple folks be excited. Here’s a quick rundown of a few of the features that will be coming to your I devices later this year.
One of the biggest things missing from the iPhone's home screen (when compared to Android’s) is widgets. iPhone and iPads only have icons for their apps, whereas Android devices have small versions of their apps that show you more information without having to launch the app. Weather, for example, will show you the current conditions and maybe the day’s high and low temps. On the iPhone, you have to launch the app to get that information. Until now. Apple will finally include widgets on the home screen. There is no indication yet of all of the apps that will feature widgets, but the examples given in the reveal include several of the default apps on the iPhone, Weather, Notes, News, Stocks, Music, and Podcasts. So you’ll be able to get to the latest Zero Dark Nerdy episode even faster!
On top of adding widgets, Apple is adding something they call Smart Stacks. This will be a curated ‘stack’ of widgets based on the apps you use most. Allowing the right widget to be displayed at the right time, based on the time of day. So you wake up and check the news every morning? The news widget will be there first thing in the morning. You listen to your favorite podcast on the way to work? The Podcast widget will replace the news when it's time to head to the office.
Don’t you hate when you’re reading an article or watching a video and someone calls and it stops everything you’re doing and takes up the entire screen? Well now, the call will appear at the top of the screen, like any other notification, with a reject or accept button. So you can ignore that call from your boss without having to stop watching The Office for the 27th time.
Picture in Picture
Another really exciting feature is the addition of “picture in picture”. A phrase most of us haven’t heard since the early 2000s when TVs let you watch two shows at the same time. For Apple, picture in picture will allow users to continue streaming or video chatting while they browse the internet or use other apps.
Apple’s text messaging app, brilliantly called Messages, is getting a few upgrades as well.
Pinned Conversations allows users to keep their most important convos at the top of their messages, even if they are not the newest messages. This will make finding your friends much quicker and easier
Mentions will allow direct messages to be sent in group threads. This will help ensure you don’t miss anything directed to you specifically. Your name will be highlighted in the message, and you can even set your notifications to only alert you when you are mentioned specifically.
Another exciting feature being added to the group messages is inline replies. This feature allows you to respond directly to a specific message in a group thread, allowing small side conversations to happen without derailing the entire group, and without requiring you to start an individual chat.
Have you ever been traveling in a new city and go to park your car and see that you have to download an app to pay the meter? Or try to rent a scooter to zip around town, only to find you don’t have the correct brand’s app downloaded? App Clips allow you to scan a QR code and have an “App Clip” appear that lets you sign in with your Apple ID and use Apple Pay to pay for that scooter or parking spot. App Cips will allow these types of transactions to happen much quicker since you won’t need to download a new app, create an account, or enter payment information.
Apple is introducing a brand new app in iOS 14, Translate. Translate will… well... translate what you say into your selected language. The translated text will appear on the screen and feature an “attention mode” that will fill the screen with the translation to make communication across any language gap as simple and quick as possible. Translate will feature 11 languages initially, but look for more to be added in the future.
The Maps app will now feature cycling routing, which will include bike lanes and paths to help riders plan their bike routes. They are also adding electric car routing so your directions will automatically include places you can stop and recharge your vehicle on your drive. Apple is also adding guides to their Maps that will include recommendations from trusted brands like Zagat and AllTrails. These recommendations can be subscribed to, so you always get the latest suggestions.
The iOS 14 update will also feature changes to AirPods functionality, Siri’s capabilities, and overall performance. A key focus of the update is privacy. You can approximate your location so that apps cannot see exactly where you are at all times, there’s a small indicator on the screen that displays anytime an app is recording video or audio from your device, and you’ll be able to see if an app has recently used your device to record anything.
One other big reveal from Apple’s event was the announcement that they will no longer be using Intel chips in their computers, but will be designing the chips themselves. Apple already designs the chips in their iPhones and iPads, so they will begin doing the same for their MacBooks later this year. This probably means that you will be able to download the same apps on your laptop that you do on your phone or tablet. Even cooler, this means you can expect a very seamless transition from one device to the other. Imagine working on a project or watching a video on your Ipad, sitting down and pulling out your laptop, and picking up right where you left off. This will likely be a big push toward making the MacBook feel more a part of the Apple ecosystem.
Now I want to hear what you think. Excited for the new update, or not interested? What features are you most excited to see?
Story by Tim Howell our man on the street with all the latest news, notes, and information! Be sure to check out some of our latest episodes: