Apple has unveiled iOS 11 and several other major updates at their Worldwide Developer’s Conference in San Jose, California.
As is tradition, Apple is using WWDC to reveal this fall’s new slate of software, including iOS 11 for iPhone/iPad and the next version of watchOS for Apple Watch.
Apple spent a lot of time talking about iOS, its flagship operating system. Here are the big updates:
- One of the biggest new features is a redesigned Control Center. It takes up the full screen and now includes lots of different capabilities in one place. Control Center also employs 3D Touch, giving you additional controls right within Control Center.
- Do Not Disturb While Driving: Your Apple device will now suggest turning on this new feature after your first drive with iOS 11. Your phone automatically detects when you’re driving via Bluetooth and Wifi. With this turned on, iPhone can automatically let someone who texts you know that you’re currently driving. The new mode will stop notifications from appearing on your screen, and when you try to unlock your phone it’ll remind you that you’re driving. An “I’m a passenger” button will let you override the lockout. If someone needs to urgently get a text to you, the sender can reply “Urgent,” at which point iPhone will show you your text message.
- iMessages are now stored in iCloud, meaning you’ll always have access to all of your messages, even when logging in on a new device. Deleting your messages on one device will delete them everywhere else. Think of it as how all of your Facebook Messages are the same everywhere. Having messages always stored in the cloud should also significantly reduce the amount of space the photos, GIFs, and videos take up on your phone.
- You can now use Apple Pay to pay friends. Money will be stored in your Apple Pay Cash Card, a virtual bank of sorts. You can then use this Cash Card in (most of) the places you use Apple Pay. Peer-to-peer payments are a response to the popularity of Venmo.
- Siri now has a more natural sounding voice and comes with new awareness features, which’ll hopefully make it work better. Everything Siri learns from you is now stored in the cloud, meaning it’s the same Siri every time you talk to him/her. Another big new Siri feature is the ability to offer you new suggestions based on what you’re using in your app. For example, Siri will suggest making a new item in your calendar when making a hotel reservation in an app.
Apple wants to enhance the at-home music experience. HomePod is simply a speaker for playing music and interacting with Siri. Apple says the device is aware of the walls around the room, so it can adapt the speakers and channels in the mix to optimize the direction of the sound. For example, vocals will be sent forward into the center of your room. HomePod costs $349 and begins shipping in December.
Apple watchOS 4
Adding on to last year’s major refinements, there are now several new watch faces. Most notably there’s a new Siri watch face which will automatically show information that’s most relevant to you. It’s the first time the watch face will change depending on time of day and where you are. It’s described as an “intelligent, proactive” assistant.
Joining Mickey and Minnie, there are now Woody, Jessie, and Buzz Apple Watch faces. The Toy Story characters have playful new animations.
There are several improvements to the Workout app, including integration with gym equipment and new functionality to let you do different workouts back to back. You can also now control your music in the Workout app. Coaching notifications give you updates about how to close your rings (For example, it may tell you you only need to take a 10 minute walk to close your rings).
WatchOS 4 will be available in the fall.
No big updates here, but Tim Cook said to expect news about the operating system in the fall. The only news item was that Amazon Prime Instant Video is getting its own app on AppleTV.