Apple has finally turned it up to 11. Apple showcased iOS 11 to the word at their WWDC 2017 Keynote. While it won’t be available to customers till Fall 2017, we do have a lot of information about whats in the iOS 11 update. Plus, developer betas are now available and we’ll be digging through them. It’s clear that iPad is the biggest focal point of iOS 11 but that doesn’t mean there aren’t useful and meaningful updates for iPhone users. In fact, updates to features are plentiful. Here are the 10 best.
1. Redesigned Control Center
After years of putting this up on our wishlist, Apple has finally given us the redesigned Control Center. And based on the first look, it seems a bit weird but we’ll know more once we have the hands-on with iOS 11 beta.
Control Center is now free-form and doesn’t have pages anymore. But instead, has tiles you can interact with. 3D Touch on a tile to expand it full screen, like you do in folders in Home screen. 3D Touching the toggles card, for example, shows options for Cellular Data and Personal Hotspot toggles as well.
This gives you better access to controls and detailed information. The toggles tile is editable and you’ll be able to add toggles for Low Power Mode, Alarms, Notes and more by going to Settings -> Control Center.
2. iMessages, Siri and Photos Data in iCloud
Apple finally seems to be confident enough in iCloud to give it the responsibility to sync your all your iMessages, your personal Siri intelligence and scanned metadata in Photos app. This is a big step for Apple and it could be the end of a lot of frustrations that were caused because multiple Apple devices always seemed to be their own little islands of data. Apple is of course playing catch up here with competitors like Google but still, it’s a much welcome feature.
Now, Siri on your Mac and iPhone will work in the same way. And more importantly, your new Mac won’t spend 3 days spinning its fans because it has to reindex your entire Photos library again.
3. Redesigned Messages App Drawer
iMessage Apps were the biggest focal point in iOS 10 release but that hasn’t exactly gone well for Apple. There are multiple reasons why. For one, sometimes it makes sense to use the full-fledged app instead of a little iMessage app. The second was that it’s just too confusing to discover and use iMessage apps.
Apple is trying to fix the latter with the iOS 11 update. Now, you’ll be able to see a new pane of horizontally scrollable apps right below the text-input box, in the bottom of a conversation. And they’ll stay there always.
4. Do Not Disturb While Driving
Apple is releasing a version of Do Not Disturb that could literally end up saving lives. Once enabled, iOS 11’s Do Not Disturb While Driving feature automatically recognizes when you’re in a car and basically disables notifications and only shows a blank screen. You can 3D Touch the notification and select “I’m not driving” to disable this mode for the current drive.
Apple is doing some clever stuff to automatically engage this. Either by recognizing your car stereo’s Bluetooth or by figuring out that you’re in a moving car by blasting Wi-Fi frequencies. It’s pretty cool stuff.
As this technology is built on top of Do Not Disturb, you can let certain contacts through. The feature will also automatically reply to messages saying you’re currently driving.
5. Siri Intelligence And More SiriKit Apps
Siri is a lot smarter in iOS 11. It’s also better looking and better sounding. There’s a new visual UI update and a new voice update to make the the assistant sound more natural. There’s a new male voice as well. Siri is also coming with Translation support in beta (for Chinese, French, German, and Italian, and Spanish).
Siri can also proactively do things for you. It can look at what you’re doing in Safari and suggest other related things to do. For example, adding a calendar event for a concert ticket you just bought.
The biggest feature is an update to SiriKit. Apple will now allow more developers to access Siri. Task management and note taking are officially supported. So you’ll be able to add task to Todolist or take notes in Evernote all without ever opening the apps.
6. App Store Redesign
iOS 11 brings the first total redesign of the App Store since the App Store launched, 9 years ago. You can see what it looks like in the screenshots below. The design language is similar to that of Apple Music, with big and bold titles, large images, and a lot of horizontal swiping between sections.
Apple is also introducing a new Today app that could be a great way for user to find new apps and games every single day. Apple will be featuring apps with rich media like videos and stories. There’s also a new App of the Day and Game of the Day sections.
Apps and Games now have their own tabs. App Store will also feature in-app purchases directly in the tabs. The detailed app view is also redesigned.
7. Person to Person Apple Pay
Apple Pay now supports Venmo like, person to person payment. The feature comes integrated in Messages as an iMessage app so you’ll be able to quickly send money to the person you’re talking to. It uses your integrated Credit Card and you authenticate using Touch ID.
When you’re receiving money, it goes directly into your Apple Pay Cash card. This is like your virtual wallet. You can use this money to make purchases, send money to other users or transfer to your bank.
8. Live Photos Editing
Apple is making Live Photos a lot more interesting. You’ll be able to extract a frame from live photo, trim it, mute the audio, loop it or add a bounce effect. The loop effect lets you repeat a live photo, like a GIF. The Bounce effect adds a rivese effect instead.
9. Maps Gets Indoor Mapping
Apple Maps also saw an update today. With Apple adding indoor mapping for 100 Malls all over the world. When navigation, users will also get lane guidance when making turns.
10. Unified Notification Center
While this isn’t the Notification Center overhaul we were looking for, there’s now a unified Notification Center in both the Lock Screen and Home Screen. What this means is you’ll be able to pull missed notifications right in the Lock Screen by swiping down.
Bonus: ARKit and All The APIs
A constant theme in WWDC Keynote was the technologies that went along with the features. The big one is of course Apple’s official entry in the AR race. Apple is doing this by releasing another Kit – ARKit. This will let developers use iPhone’s cameras, processor and motion sensor to create AR experiences.
Apple is also opening up more parts of the app up to developers. With MusicKit for Apple Music, Apple is giving access to Apple Music catalog to third party developers. Vision API does the same for Camera app.
Check out the video to get a glimpse of the new iOS 11 features in action:
There are a lot more little new features in iOS 11 that we’ll be covering in detail over the next week. So make sure you check in periodically.
What do you think of the new features in iOS 11? Are you satisfied with the updates? Share with us in the comments below.