Every year Apple releases an update to the operating system that powers every iPhone and iPad. This operating system is called iOS and this years release which is due out in September is called iOS 11. Each year Apple work around the clock to tweak, improve and come up with new features that will delight us
That’s great, but why should I care?
Well for a start, you should always update to the latest software on any electronic device that you own. This is because over time, hackers will discover exploits and ways to manipulate your device without your knowledge. This is obviously a very bad thing, but don’t worry, Apple and all other device makers work incredibly hard to stay one step ahead of the hackers and often release software updates with patches that keep the hackers out of your phone, tablet or other electronic device.
Ok, I’m in! Any new features this year?
Well I’m glad you asked! iOS 11 is jam packed with amazing new features and small improvements across the board. Want to send money to a friend? It’s now as easy as opening an iMessage and choosing the amount you’d like to send via Apple Pay!
Do you struggle to type when you’ve got one hand free? Apple has you covered in iOS 11. The new one handed keyboard condenses your iPhones keyboard into a smaller footprint on either the left or right side of your phone (depending on which hand your phone is in) and you’ll be able to effortlessly thumb type those urgent messages while on the move!
Live Photos are getting great improvements too! Now you can edit Live Photos and even apply effects to them. A great example of this is the loop effect which will endlessly replay your Live Photos so the fun never stops! Apple even has a new option for Live Photos in iOS 11 called long exposure. This uses computer vision and machine learning algorithms to take all the frames from your Live Photos and use them to mimic a long exposure shot that has long been a signature party piece for high end DLSRs!
Siri is getting smarter and even comes with a new, more natural sounding voice too! Siri is a long serving, loyal assistant for iOS users but she often falls short of our expectations. We expect Scarlett Johansson style assistance from the 2014 movie Her when in reality, Siri still feels very much like a dumb assistant. Often not understanding what you want despite hearing you perfectly. Apple knows that this is a big pain point for users and has been working hard to improve Siri for iOS 11. Thanks for Artificial Intelligence improvements, Siri can now recommend articles that you’d love in Apple News, music that you’ll love in Apple Music and even suggest calendar entries based on email or iMessage conversations with friends or colleagues! Siri is putting her multilingual skills to use in iOS 11 too with a new translate ability that will be useful when you’re on holiday. Want to ask where the nearest restaurant is in Spanish? Just ask Siri.
Control Panel has been treated to an Apple makeover this year too. If you don’t know what Control Panel is, it’s the official name for when you slide up from the bottom of your phone to turn on the flashlight, change volume, adjust the brightness and provides quick access to a whole host of other features. In iOS 10, control panel was spread across 3 panels that you could swipe between horizontally. This year, for iOS 11 the Control Panel is one, large page and highly customisable. Need an Apple TV remote, you can now turn it on in the Control Panel settings, don’t use HomeKit, now you can turn that off in the settings.
iOS 11 also represents the first time that Apple are giving you access to your files and folders in a way that will be familiar to Mac & Windows users. The great thing about the new Files app is that you don’t ever need to touch it. It’s just a feature that pro users have been requesting for a very long time so it’s nice to see Apple finally add it to both iPhone and iPad.
Perhaps the first thing you’ll do once you’ve upgraded to iOS 11 is visit the App Store to download new apps or games. Now you’ll be greeted with an all new App Store design that focuses on curation and ensuring that Apple are able to showcase and surface new, exciting apps and games that may have been lost in old style App Store.
Sounds amazing! When can I get my hands on iOS 11?
iOS 11 will roll out along side this year’s new iPhones, so expect the update to land on your device sometime in September. If you can’t wait until then, you can always try the public beta version as long as you’re prepared to live with some occasional crashes and battery drain issues. With these beta niggles in mind, I’d recommend waiting until it’s fully finished and Apple officially roll it out in September!