Why iOS 11 is a genuine upgrade for your iPhone and iPad
This is a big month for your iPhone and iPad. Apple will roll out the newest operating system for iOS devices, dubbed iOS 11. We saw the first glimpses of the new software at the Worldwide Developer Conference (WWDC) in June, and the braver souls have been using the public beta test versions of iOS 11 on their iPhones and iPads already.
For the rest of us, we will know the exact date of the rollout during Apple’s keynote on 12 September. The company calls it “a giant step for iPhone” and “a monumental leap for iPad”, and not without good reason.
Siri gets artificially intelligent
Apple, back in June, suggested that as many as 375 million devices globally use Siri, the voice-based virtual assistant, every month. In iOS 11, Siri will take advantage of deep learning capabilities. The voice assistant will now sound more natural, with new voices and pronunciation of words. Then there is the small matter of contextual learning, and the improved predictive suggestions that it’ll now try to offer for your queries and more.
For instance, Siri will try to understand your iPhone or iPad usage pattern in terms of which apps you use and at what time of the day. The assistant will also suggest topics based on the content you are viewing on the phone or tablet. The interface of the Siri app, thus far, has remained quite basic, but that will also get an upgrade with iOS 11.
More AI prowess
It is not just Siri which will take advantage of artificial intelligence capabilities. There are elements spread across iOS 11 which will use machine learning to understand your usage preferences. The OS will learn words from what you are browsing and show them up as suggestions on the iOS keyboard when you are typing a mail or a message. The Photos app will also utilize machine learning capabilities to identify events and memories for automatic sorting of photos.
Camera takes a step forward
Apart from the updated post-processing algorithms, iOS 11 will also get an upgraded camera app. Live photos can be converted into GIF animated images, and you can also edit Live photos—these are a part of the deeper image editing capabilities that the iOS 11 Photos app will integrate.
More photos in the same space
Apple is changing the compression formats in iOS 11, which will use less space on the device and on the cloud compared to the current compression methods, while reproducing the same level of detailing. Apple says that you’ll be able to store twice as many photos in the same amount of storage space in iOS 11, compared to iOS 10—this feature should single-handedly give a new lease of life for the entry spec variants of the iPhone which will be compatible to get the new software.
The App Store will get a refreshed design, on the lines of the Music streaming service and the News app. There will be more focus on slicker curation of apps and games, as well as a new layout that is focusing more on vivid descriptions and eye-catching visuals, than before. Similarly, the iMessage app is also in line for an overhaul. Over time, the addition of features such as third-party apps led to a slightly cluttered interface. Now, things will be streamlined once again, giving iMessage the clean look which became its trademark in the years gone by.
iPad’s moment in the sun
If we consider iOS 11 as two OSes in one, it wouldn’t be entirely incorrect. If you use an iPad Pro tablet, what you will experience is a completely different avatar of iOS 11 from what you might get on your iPhone or an iPad that isn’t a part of the “Pro” family. Some exclusive features for the iPad Pro range of tablets take advantage of the larger screens, with an even greater push to make these devices better placed for productivity requirements and as alternatives for laptops.
For starters, the app dock will now have the space for many more app icons—your most often used apps can be locked down here for quicker access. Over time, iOS 11 will also learn which apps you use frequently, and add those icons to the right side of the dock. Users will also be able to drag apps into a split view on the display—this is incredibly simple, and will be particularly useful on the larger iPad Pro 12.9 where you can easily share the screen space between two apps.
In terms of productivity requirements, the addition of the simple drag and drop feature for content across apps is extremely useful—you can copy content from one app (let’s say, the Safari web browser) and drag it across to another app (Mail, for instance). Missed thus far, Apple has finally introduced a Files app on the iPad, which is essentially your file and document manager—just like you have the File Explorer in a Windows PC and Finder on a MacOS device.