During WWDC’s virtual keynote, Apple shared the first details of iOS 14, the next major version of iOS, to be released later this year. The most visual change is that the home screen gets widgets.
“This year we spent some time rethinking the iPhone’s iconic experience,” said Craig Federighi, SVP of Software Engineering. “We have revised some of the core elements of iOS.”
As you know, iOS already includes widgets in the Today view. Swipe left on the home screen to access widgets. Widgets have been completely redesigned. Some of them take up the entire width of the device, others can be limited to a small square. You can now have two columns of widgets.
However, widgets are no longer limited to the Today view. You can drag them from the Today view and drop them on your home screen. There is also a new widget gallery that allows you to add widgets when you move icons on the home screen.
Apple knows that many users have an endless list of icons, which makes it difficult to use the home screen. Apple adds some smart organizational features.
“Today’s home screen is great, but if we get more apps, we get it – many, many pages,” said Federighi.
At the bottom of the home screen pages is a new page called App Library. All apps that are not shown on your home screen are sorted by automatic categories, e.g. B. Apple Arcade.
The other feature that will affect multitasking and the home screen is that you can use it frame by frame on iPhone just like on iPad. You can keep a video in a corner of the screen and do something else on your phone.
Better group conversations in messages
Messages receives an urgently needed update to compete with WhatsApp, Telegram and other popular messaging apps. You can now pin conversations at the top for easier access.
Conversations themselves are updated because you can reply to individual messages. You can then tap the answer to view the conversation as a separate thread. People can mention you and you can only filter your notifications by mentions.
Every conversation is now more customizable. You can set a photo or emoji for a conversation. Apple also displays the icons of your contacts in a specific conversation. The most active people get a larger symbol.
Memoji gets some new options like new hair options, new age options, and facewear. There are also new Memoji stickers like a hug sticker, a fist bumper sticker and a blushing sticker.
Apple is also adding new features to Maps. While the U.S. has received updated data, Apple will launch better maps in other countries based on its own data set. Next, Britain, Ireland and Canada will get much more detailed maps. And this is only the first step as the new data set opens up more possibilities.
“In iOS 14, the Maps team will work with some of the most trusted brands to provide guidance,” said Meg Frost, Apple Maps Director Product Design. You will soon be able to search information from AllTrails, Zagat and other sources.
In some cities, Apple will introduce cycling as a means of transportation. The height is taken into account. Cycling is initially offered in New York, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Shanghai and Beijing. For directions, you can now say avoid steps and steep hills.
There will also be more functions for drivers, such as: B. EV routing and more information about restricted city centers. And if your car supports CarPlay, there will be other types of apps in the future, e.g. B. Parking apps, apps for charging electric vehicles and apps for ordering food.
Car manufacturers can also use their iPhone as a car key. It uses the U1 chip of the latest iPhone models. Interestingly, you can share your key with a friend by sending them over iMessage.
Revised Siri and new translator app
While Siri can be hit or missed, Apple is still iterating over the voice assistant. Siri no longer takes over the entire screen when you trigger it. There will be a small bubble at the bottom of the screen that will not interfere with the rest of the screen. The results are displayed at the top of the screen and appear like a notification.
You can now ask Siri to send audio messages using iMessage. And if you hate audio messages like me, the keyboard dictation has been improved. Your voice is now processed on the device, which should help with speed.
You can already translate words with Siri, but Apple is going one step further by publishing a translation app. As with Google Translate, you can have a conversation in two different languages. You can translate from voice-to-text-to-voice. When you rotate your iPhone in landscape orientation, each person has one side of the screen.
You know that feeling. If your friends ask you to download another app, you don’t want to open the App Store. For this reason, Apple app clips starts. They are mini apps that you can start without installing an app. It’s a small part of an app that you can easily share.
There are many ways to share app clips. You can launch these apps from the web, news, maps, NFC tags, or QR codes. Get ready to see stickers in cafes, on scooters, or in museums. Scan a code or tap your phone and you get an app-like experience. If you want to delve deeper, you can download the full app from the App Library.
More focus on privacy
Apple is adding a number of new privacy-oriented features. For example, a new dot appears in the top right corner, indicating that an app has used or recently used your microphone or camera. On the description pages of the App Store you will find new data protection cards that tell you how your data is used before you download an app. Apps also need to ask before tracking you across other apps and websites.
As always, iOS 14 will be tested in summer and should be available to everyone in September.