THE BEST OF WWDC
Apple’s Biggest Summer Announcements
Each June during Apple's Worldwide Developers Conference (WWDC), the tech giant lifts the veil to showcase all-new software features for our iPhones, iPads, Apple Watches, and Macs. This year's event included not only a look at iOS 11, watchOS 4, and MacOS High Sierra, but also the unveiling of a whole new line of iMacs, Macbooks, and iPad Pros. The showstopper, however, was the HomePod, an Amazon Echo and Google Home competitor that's designed to work not only as a virtual assistant, but also as an incredible home sound system. It's safe to say that Apple is aware of the great expectations upon it this year and is showing us that it's prepared to deliver in a big way.
iOS 11 Highlights
From a massive Siri upgrade to augmented reality support, we've rounded up everything you've been itching to know about iOS 11 and the exciting changes it will bring to your iPhone and iPad. While iOS 11 won't officially be available until the fall, the adventurous among you can sign up to try the public beta by visiting beta.apple.com.
Augmented Reality Ready
The rumors are true—Apple is making its move into augmented reality. The tech giant announced ARKit at WWDC, a framework for developers to build augmented reality into their apps. The new tools will create a better experience in games
like Pokémon Go and beyond, with characters and graphics that interact believably with the environment.
Major Siri Upgrade
As predicted, Siri's been taking some speech lessons. Thanks to Apple's machine learning magic, Siri sounds better than ever. With more advanced inflections, both the male and female voice options sound more natural. Siri's also a much better listener. As you surf on Safari, chat in Messages, search for restaurants on Maps, or select new music from friends, Siri will learn from your activities and use that information to streamline your experience. Siri will also be able to remember the names of locations to offer autofill suggestions across multiple apps. Need a quick translation from English to Mandarin? Ask Siri and it will repeat your translation back in the selected language. Your international trips just got a whole lot easier!
Peer-to-Peer Apple Pay
Apple Pay is expanding its horizons to allow peer-to-peer payments. Siri will remember conversations from synced contacts through Mail and Messages and will recommend amounts in Apple Pay. You'll be able to pay your friends directly through the Messages app, either with amounts recommended by Siri or your own custom amounts. You'll confirm all peer-to-peer payments with Touch ID before finalizing your transactions.
Apple Music Gets Social, Plus Multi-Room Audio
Starting this fall, you'll no longer need the same brand of speaker in order to string them together for stereo sound. With iOS 11 comes multi-room audio, allowing you to play a song on any and all of the wireless speakers around your house simultaneously. The Apple Music app is also getting a long-awaited update, finally allowing you to view your friends' listening activity and playlists and control your visible content.
Your iPhone Gets Road Savvy
Driving is about to get safer with a new feature that you'll be able to access even without a CarPlay-enabled vehicle. The Do Not Disturb While Driving feature allows users to redirect calls and notifications while on the road. Your iPhone will automatically detect when you are in transit and suggest Car Mode so that you can drive distraction-free. You'll be able to allow exceptions for important phone calls and texts while filtering out unnecessary notifications. Car Mode will even send automated replies to texts letting your contacts know that you're driving and unable to respond.
Lane guidance and speed limits are now included in Apple Maps. You'll be able to see which lane you should be in before you get to a busy intersection and check your speed even when there are no signs posted in sight. Maps is also making your shopping and air travel easier by including interactive multi-story maps of most large malls and major airports.
Updated Messages App
With iOS 11, your messages will now sync across all your devices, allowing you to seamlessly search, save, delete, and share past conversations.
Since Apple released facial recognition with iOS 10, we've been wishing for the ability to sync Faces in the Mac Photos app with the People album in the iOS Photos app. We're excited to announce that Apple has granted our wish. Syncing will be enabled, allowing you to more easily curate your photos and find the memories you cherish.
Speaking of memories, the Memories feature of Photos has been enhanced as well. Thanks to machine learning, your iPhone will be better at tracking and categorizing special occasions like sporting events and weddings, as well as broader categories like pets, specific family members, and your favorite vacation spots. Memories will use its learning algorithm to select the best photos and videos from each category, allowing seamless enjoyment of all your best moments.
Live Photos is also getting a performance boost. You'll be able to trim your Live photos and select your favorite frame, as well as loop your images to create unique GIFs.
Control Center Redesign
Control Center is an extremely useful tool, but we've long wished that the user could choose the tools that appear in it. iOS 11 brings a customizable, more compact Control Center. More functions will have 3D Touch capabilities, and you'll also be able to adjust brightness and volume with slider bars for better fine tuning.