iOS 11

David Price rounds up ev­ery­thing we know about Ap­ple’s up­com­ing mo­bile op­er­at­ing sys­tem

iPad&iPhone user - - CONTENTS -

Over the fol­low­ing pages we sift through all the ru­mours and his­tor­i­cal ev­i­dence point­ing to the likely iOS 11 re­lease date, as well as its new fea­tures and sys­tem re­quire­ments.

So, what can we ex­pect to see from Ap­ple’s 11th ma­jor up­date of iOS? We’ve scoured the in­ter­net for the most in­ter­est­ing ru­mours re­gard­ing iOS 11, which you can find be­low. We’ll be up­dat­ing this ar­ti­cle when­ever new in­for­ma­tion emerges, so make sure you check back reg­u­larly for more news and ru­mours re­lat­ing to the iOS 11 up­date.

Re­lease date

iOS 11 will al­most cer­tainly be un­veiled in June 2017 at WWDC, an an­nual event where Ap­ple in­vites de­vel­op­ers from across the world to take part in iOS de­vel­op­ment work­shops while show­cas­ing its an­nual soft­ware up­date. (WWDC is in the­ory an event for the ben­e­fit of

soft­ware part­ner com­pa­nies, al­though in prac­tice it is aimed at least as much and prob­a­bly more at the world’s me­dia and users watch­ing at home.) Ap­ple will then re­lease a de­vel­oper beta ver­sion of the soft­ware for test­ing by its soft­ware part­ners.

We would imag­ine that, as with iOS 9 and iOS 10, a pub­lic beta will be made avail­able along­side the pri­vate de­vel­oper beta. This will al­low early adopters to trial the soft­ware be­fore it’s made avail­able to the gen­eral pub­lic.

Both be­tas will be up­dated over the fol­low­ing months and come closer to the fin­ished pub­lic ver­sion of iOS 11, which be re­leased in Septem­ber 2017 along­side new iPhones: the 7s and/or 8. (We’ve heard one pre­dic­tion that Ap­ple will call its next iPhone the ‘iPhone X’, but that re­mains a left-field ru­mour at this point.)

Up­dat­ing to the fi­nal pub­lic ver­sion of iOS 11 will be straight­for­ward and free; down­load­ing and in­stalling one of the beta ver­sions will be a lit­tle more dif­fi­cult, and set­ting up a de­vel­oper ac­count costs $99 per year.

A new iOS life cy­cle

Some while ago, our col­league Dan Moren over at Mac­world US spec­u­lated that iOS 9 would be the start of a new iOS life cy­cle at Ap­ple. Moren felt that be­cause the iPhone has ma­tured over the years, it’s no longer nec­es­sary to keep adding ma­jor new fea­tures on a yearly ba­sis for the pur­pose of gen­er­at­ing in­ter­est.

“The plat­form and the smart­phone mar­ket as a whole have both evolved con­sid­er­ably,” Moren wrote. “To me, the goal now seems one

of sus­tain­abil­ity: keep­ing the iPhone and its users up­dated and happy, pos­si­bly with a steady stream of smaller up­dates rather than a sin­gle ma­jor tent pole re­lease every sum­mer.”

Moren used iOS 9.3 as ev­i­dence – his­tor­i­cally, Ap­ple prefers to save its more in­ter­est­ing up­dates for numer­i­cal up­dates which, up un­til now, hap­pened once every 12 months. The re­lease of the iOS 9.3 beta so late in the iOS 9 life cy­cle was a weird move from Ap­ple, espe­cially as it in­cluded gen­uinely sig­nif­i­cant new fea­tures like Night Shift mode (pic­tured), Touch ID pro­tec­tion for Notes and a num­ber of new 3D Touch short­cuts, which would usu­ally be con­sid­ered ma­jor ad­di­tions to iOS.

So iOS 11 might not be the block­buster re­lease we’re cur­rently ex­pect­ing: it’s pos­si­ble that Ap­ple will drip feed new fea­tures and in­ter­faces tweaks in point up­dates through­out the year. We’re not to­tally con­vinced by this – iOS 10, after all, had a raft of ma­jor new fea­tures – but it’s a pos­si­bil­ity.

A ‘purge’ of older apps

One thing to be wary of, as spec­u­lated first by 9to5Mac, is that the next up­date of iOS might drop sup­port for older 32-bit apps. On iOS 10.3 beta 1, users tap­ping on 32-bit apps now are faced with a warn­ing that ‘This app will not work with fu­ture ver­sions of iOS’. It’s clear that Ap­ple in­tends for de­vel­op­ers to im­prove per­for­mance of these apps or risk hav­ing them cut from the App Store. Some­times the warn­ings go fur­ther, warn­ing users that the app may slow down your iDe­vice.

De­vel­op­ers must, since 2015, sub­mit apps with 64-bit sup­port. These legacy 32-bit apps could be cut from iOS 11 if de­vel­op­ers don’t im­prove their per­for­mance on newer de­vices.

For­tune thinks this move could see what it calls a “purge” of tens of thou­sands of old apps.

Which iPhones and iPads will be able to get iOS 11?

We reckon the iPad 4, iPad mini 2 and iPhone 5 will all miss out on iOS 11 com­pat­i­bil­ity, but we won’t know for sure un­til the un­veil­ing at WWDC 2017.

Un­til we have con­fir­ma­tion, we pre­dict that the fol­low­ing de­vices will be able to run iOS 11:

iPad Air 1, Air 2, 9.7in Pro, 12.9in Pro iPad mini 3, iPad mini 4 iPhone 5c, 5s, 6, 6 Plus, 6s, 6s Plus, SE, 7, 7 Plus iPod touch (sixth gen­er­a­tion)

New fea­tures

At this early stage we’ve only heard a cou­ple of ru­mours of new fea­tures to ex­pect in iOS 11.

Fin­ger-de­tect­ing dy­namic key­board Ap­ple has been granted a patent cov­er­ing dy­namic key­board po­si­tion­ing on touch­screens, whereby the in­di­vid­ual keys are placed in re­sponse to the de­tected po­si­tion of the user’s fin­ger­tips.

United States Patent 9,489,086 (shown be­low), en­ti­tled Fin­ger hover de­tec­tion for im­proved typ­ing, de­scribes a con­cept whereby typ­ing “is im­proved by dy­nam­i­cally and au­to­mat­i­cally po­si­tion­ing the de­sired home-row keys of an on-screen key­board be­low the user’s fin­gers while their fin­gers are hov­er­ing above the sur­face, thus re­duc­ing the need for the user to look at the on-screen key­board while typ­ing”.

We wouldn’t be sur­prised if the con­cept ap­pears in the sys­tem-wide key­board (al­beit pre­sum­ably as an op­tion) in a fu­ture up­date of iOS, al­though it ap­pears to be tar­geted at tablets only. This wouldn’t be the first iOS fea­ture to be re­stricted to

iPad use, of course: the most fa­mous ex­am­ple is prob­a­bly the split-screen view­ing modes added to the iPad with the launch of iOS 9.

While the granted patent was pub­lished in Novem­ber 2016, this is in ef­fect a rat­i­fi­ca­tion of Ap­ple’s ac­qui­si­tion of the patent when it bought Type­soft Tech­nolo­gies back in Septem­ber 2014; Type­soft’s Dryft vir­tual key­board uses a sim­i­lar prin­ci­ple in an ef­fort to en­able touch­screen touchtyp­ing, as shown in the fol­low­ing video:

Fi­nally, and aptly if we’ve got this right, there ap­pears to be a typo in the in­tro­duc­tion specif­i­cally where the patent is talk­ing about mak­ing ty­pos.

“While there have been nu­mer­ous pro­pos­als for dis­am­biguat­ing er­ror-prone user in­put,” reads the last sen­tence of the in­tro­duc­tion, “many such pro­pos­als rely heav­ily on lin­guis­tic con­text and are un­able to re­solve in­ter­change­able al­ter­na­tives (e.g., where a user strikes am­bigu­ously be­tween keys T and ‘o’ fol­lowed by ‘n’ leav­ing un­cer­tainty whether “in” or “on” was in­tended).” (Surely that’s meant to be ‘i’ and ‘o’, rather than T and ‘o’? Al­though we are happy to be cor­rected.)

‘Nat­u­ral-sound­ing’ Siri

Siri was a fig­ure of fun in the early days (it used to have a fair bit of trou­ble with Bri­tish ac­cents), but it gets bet­ter and more use­ful with every pass­ing year. And the word is that Ap­ple wants to make it sound more hu­man, too.

That’s what the com­pany is up to in a se­cret op­er­a­tion “in an un­marked of­fice at 90 Hills Road, Cam­bridge”, ac­cord­ing to Busi­ness In­sider and the “mul­ti­ple sources” it says cor­rob­o­rate the ac­count.

“Those work­ing in­side are aim­ing to make Siri talk more nat­u­rally, ac­cord­ing to a source that knows a num­ber of Ap­ple’s Cam­bridge em­ploy­ees,” re­ports the site.

Part of the rea­son­ing here is that a large pro­por­tion of the site’s cur­rent staff were pre­vi­ously em­ployed by the voice recog­ni­tion startup Vo­calIQ, which Ap­ple ac­quired in 2015.

At the mo­ment Siri is com­par­a­tively lim­ited in terms of ar­ti­fi­cial in­tel­li­gence, an area of de­vel­op­ment that Google, Ama­zon, Mi­crosoft and oth­ers have fo­cused on in re­cent months; it’s be­lieved that Vo­calIQ’s tech – which doesn’t ap­pear to have been added to Siri yet – rep­re­sents Ap­ple’s great hope for this bur­geon­ing field.

Dark Mode

It was widely ex­pected that iOS 10 would fea­ture a new view­ing mode called Dark Mode, with black

back­grounds de­signed to eas­ier on the eyes when view­ing at night. In fact, Ap­ple an­nounced ex­actly that, but for tvOS in­stead, and we’re still wait­ing for iOS’s Dark Mode. We’re pretty sure it’ll turn up in iOS 11, if it hasn’t been added in an iOS 10 point up­date be­fore then.

In fact, it’s been dis­cov­ered that Dark Mode al­ready ex­ists in iOS 10, and was there as early as iOS 10 beta 1 re­leased back in June - it just hasn’t been un­locked yet. We’re un­sure why Ap­ple both­ered to add the fea­ture if it didn’t plan to en­able it in the near fu­ture, but it may be that beta test­ing ex­posed is­sues with the fea­ture that dis­suaded the com­pany from turn­ing it on just yet.

Slide to un­lock

Does that sound fa­mil­iar? It should, be­cause it was the way we un­locked iPhones and iPads in iOS 9 and every pre­vi­ous ver­sion of iOS and iPhone OS.

In its most re­cent in­car­na­tion, it looked a bit like the one on page 38.

In iOS 10 Ap­ple got rid of slide to un­lock, chang­ing the in­ter­face so you just press the Home but­ton (si­mul­ta­ne­ously trig­ger­ing the Touch ID fin­ger­print scan­ner on rea­son­ably up to date iDe­vices, so it made more sense, on the whole). But some peo­ple aren’t happy about this de­vel­op­ment, and a pe­ti­tion has been formed to ask for slide to un­lock to be brought back.

Will Ap­ple give in to pop­u­lar pres­sure (well, rel­a­tively pop­u­lar pres­sure – there are just 1,549 sig­na­to­ries at time of writ­ing, al­though we’ve heard this sen­ti­ment quite widely) and bring back slide to un­lock? We don’t think so. Ap­ple fans have had is­sues with in­ter­faces be­fore, most con­tro­ver­sially with iOS 7, but most of us got used to the new look in time.

Multi-user FaceTime calls

Ac­cord­ing to a re­port via The Ver­i­fier, Ap­ple is said to be in­tro­duc­ing a fea­ture long re­quested by iOS users in iOS 11: the abil­ity to have con­fer­ence calls via FaceTime video in a sim­i­lar way to ser­vices like Skype. The re­port doesn’t stop there ei­ther, adding that Ap­ple is con­sid­er­ing mak­ing the FaceTime app more of a so­cial ex­pe­ri­ence by adding fil­ters sim­i­lar to apps like Snapchat and MSQRD that have had huge suc­cess off the back of the fil­ters.

It’s worth not­ing that Ap­ple snapped up Faceshift in late 2015, a com­pany whose tech­nol­ogy can cap­ture a user’s fa­cial ex­pres­sions and trans­form the face into a 3D avatar in real-time. Could this tech­nol­ogy be in­te­gral in Ap­ple’s planned over­haul

in iOS 11? We can only wait and see. It’s also worth not­ing that The Ver­i­fier, de­spite the name, has a non-ex­is­tent track record with Ap­ple ru­mours and thus, should be taken with a pinch of salt.

Con­tact avail­abil­ity sta­tus

A patent that has re­cently been granted shows that Ap­ple is con­sid­er­ing a new fea­ture that would en­able iPhone users to view at a glance whether their con­tacts are avail­able for a con­ver­sa­tion, and where they are.

The ab­stract of the patent reads: “A com­mand is re­ceived at an op­er­at­ing sys­tem of a first mo­bile phone for dis­play­ing con­tact in­for­ma­tion of a re­mote user hav­ing a mo­bile phone num­ber of a sec­ond mo­bile phone. In re­sponse to the

com­mand, a re­quest is trans­mit­ted to a re­mote server from the first mo­bile phone over a cel­lu­lar net­work re­quest­ing an op­er­at­ing sta­tus of the sec­ond mo­bile phone.

“The op­er­at­ing sta­tus of the sec­ond mo­bile phone is re­ceived from the re­mote server over the cel­lu­lar net­work. The op­er­at­ing sta­tus of the sec­ond mo­bile phone is dis­played on a dis­play of the first mo­bile phone as a part of con­tact in­for­ma­tion of the re­mote user as­so­ci­ated with the sec­ond mo­bile phone, where the op­er­at­ing sta­tus in­cludes cur­rent lo­cal­ity of the sec­ond mo­bile phone.”

Which sounds com­pli­cated, but can be fur­ther sum­marised as a sys­tem that de­tects where your friends are, and whether they’re avail­able and the op­er­at­ing sta­tus of their iPhone (such as silent or Air­plane mode), and presents that in­for­ma­tion in the Con­tacts app. If you’re think­ing that has the whiff of sur­veil­lance about it – well, it does, but only to the same ex­tent as Find My Friends, and it would pre­sum­ably be op­tional for both par­ties.

New fea­tures wish list

Here at iPad & iPhone User we put our heads to­gether and thought about some of the fea­tures we’d like to see in­cluded in iOS 11, from small changes to new ideas. Here are our favourites.

Con­trol Cen­tre

The Con­trol Cen­tre is one of the most un­der­rated fea­tures of iOS, en­abling easy ac­cess to var­i­ous tog­gles and con­trols with­out hav­ing to open the Set­tings app. The only is­sue we have is that we

can’t per­son­alise any of the tog­gles, as we’d like to be able to swap out lit­tle-used tog­gles for short­cuts to apps/set­tings we fre­quently use. For ex­am­ple, we very rarely use the Con­trol Cen­tre to ac­cess the Cal­cu­la­tor app – we’d much pre­fer easy ac­cess to Twit­ter, for ex­am­ple, or to be able to turn on low-power mode.

While on the topic of the Con­trol Cen­tre, we’d like to be able to quickly ac­cess the set­tings of each of the tog­gles with a hard press on the newer 3D Touch-equipped iPhones. For ex­am­ple, we’d like to be able to force press the Wi-Fi tog­gle to quickly ac­cess the Wi-Fi menu to con­nect to a new net­work.

And the multi-page Con­trol Cen­tre design isn’t work­ing all that well at the mo­ment: when you try to lower the vol­ume but miss the icon by half

a mi­crome­tre you end up swip­ing to the sec­ond page by ac­ci­dent.

Cos­metic/aes­thetic cus­tomi­sa­tion changes

In Every­thingAp­plePro’s in­fu­ri­at­ingly in­tel­li­gent and well-made video (­fo7w), it pro­poses a wide range of changes for iOS 11, among them some rad­i­cal new op­tions for cus­tomis­ing the way iOS looks and the way its in­ter­face is or­gan­ised.

It calls for dy­namic an­i­mated app icons show­ing, for ex­am­ple, your cur­rent lo­ca­tion in the Maps icon and the cur­rent weather for Weather; the abil­ity to place icons in any of the free grid slots on the screen rather than hav­ing iOS au­to­mat­i­cally re­sort it to the free slot near­est the top left of the screen; cus­tom sys­tem fonts; and a change to the way Reach­a­bil­ity works on larger-screen iPhones, so that it shrinks the in­ter­face down to the size of a smaller phone rather than drag­ging the whole thing down and hid­ing many of the icons off the bot­tom.

Smart Wi-Fi

The P9 is one of a num­ber of Huawei phones to of­fer a fea­ture called Wi-Fi+ (or Wi-Fi+ 2.0). This en­com­passes a num­ber of elements, such as the pri­ori­ti­sa­tion of stronger con­nec­tions, but the one we like best is its abil­ity to au­to­mat­i­cally turn Wi-Fi on or off de­pend­ing on your lo­ca­tion. It re­mem­bers the lo­ca­tion of known net­works and ac­ti­vates in or­der to join them, but when you leave the area it turns Wi-Fi off to save bat­tery. Given the iPhones’ re­cent dif­fi­culty com­pet­ing on bat­tery life with the top-end An­droid de­vices, some­thing along these lines would be a fine ad­di­tion to iOS 11.

Per-app pass­code or Touch ID lock

It’s cur­rently pos­si­ble to lock in­di­vid­ual doc­u­ments in Notes, but not apps – ei­ther the en­tire phone is locked, or all the apps are un­locked. From a data pro­tec­tion and parental con­trol point of view it would be use­ful to be able to lock in­di­vid­ual apps. It is pos­si­ble to hand an iPhone over to a child and keep them in one app us­ing Guided Ac­cess, of course, but this is a bit of a faff and in­flex­i­ble.

Abil­ity to change video res­o­lu­tion in-app

One of the selling points of the iPhone 6s and 6s Plus is that they’re able to record in full 4K res­o­lu­tion at 30fps, as well as the stan­dard 1080p at 60- or 30fps. The only is­sue we have is that there is no easy way to change be­tween the res­o­lu­tions from within the Cam­era app, and we have to exit the app, head to Set­tings > Cam­era to be able to change it.

Cer­tain sit­u­a­tions, such as film­ing in low light, re­quire a lower frame rate (less frames = more light cap­tured) and chang­ing it man­u­ally takes 10- to 15 sec­onds, which isn’t ideal. We would love a way to quickly change the res­o­lu­tion and frame rate, pos­si­bly by tap­ping an icon in the Cam­era app.

View Favourites in Con­tacts app

We’d like to see the abil­ity to view and edit the list of favourites, cur­rently only found in the Phone app. It makes sense to be able to ac­cess your favourite con­tacts from within the Con­tacts app, and we’re not quite sure why Ap­ple hasn’t yet added this func­tion­al­ity. Some­times we want easy ac­cess to our con­tacts for other rea­sons, not just for call­ing.

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