Monday, June 5, 2017

Apple unveils iOS 11

Apple has opened WWDC 2017 with iOS taking up most of the time, and there are many improvements made to this system that is celebrating its 10th anniversary this year.

iOS is presented by Apple as being the most advanced mobile system ever (making sure to point out that Android is still a mess when it comes to updates) and iOS 11 comes with a lot of changes: both under the hood as well as visible things.

For example, Apple has been aware of the criticism regarding the difficulty of using iMessage apps, and now introduces a revamped interface that allows easier access to them. Apple Pay will allow users to send money in iMessage. Siri gains more vocal abilities (something Amazon has already done in Alexa) and can give different intonations to the words, and also gets increased intelligence to better predict the patterns of the users and to present pertinent information.

After expanding to multiple pages, the Control Center is to be condensed back into a single page, giving access to everything we had before, and using 3D Touch to expand each section to allow access to extra options. The Do Not Disturb mode gains an interesting mode for car use, muting distractions while driving, but  not forgetting to add a way for people to get through in case of urgent messages. HomeKit gains support for multi-room speakers and audio thanks to AirPlay 2. And we have navigation enhancements, now with recommended lane indication, and more interior maps.

Being an integral part for iOS success, the App Store was entitled to a complete redesign with a more modern look which, in practice, eliminates the "remains" from long gone iOS influences. And being an event for developers, Apple said the app approval process will be drastically cut to just an hour or two. We also have a novelty imported from Android ... developers are able to launch their apps in a phased way, both to reduce the load on their services (if applicable) and to detect problems before the app reaches all users .

To make sure it's not left behind, Apple also makes a strong investment in machine learning to bring intelligence across multiple iOS areas (from the prediction that apps can be used, or to reject unwanted palm touches) that are available for developers to use, with things like face tracking, objecto recognition, text parsing, translation, etc. etc. We even get ARKit to ease the development of augmented reality apps, and Peter Jackson's AR studio showed up an amazing demo turning a table into a lifelike sci-fi movie adventure that we could move around of.

There's lots more, but many of the "new stuff" is dedicated to the iPad, with a new multitasking system, drag-and-drop support between apps, and many enhancements that make iPad an better suited alternative to a traditional computer, but we will have another article dedicated to the new iPads, MacBooks and iMacs. :)

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