The next version of Apple’s operating system, iOS 11, is being rolled out in a few months, but beta testers and developers have already got their hands on it – as have we. And there’s a lot to be excited about.
When iOS 11 becomes available to everyone, it’s been billed to transform the way we use our iPhones and iPads. You might think that’s a given, but previous iOS updates have sometimes affected developers and designers more than normal users. We think this update is going to be different, and so do a lot of industry insiders.
As you’d expect, the arrival of a new Apple operating system is a big deal for us here at Hirola Group. We need to be ahead of the curve, understanding the nuances of the OS, being able to talk about it like the experts we are, and getting to grips with how it’s likely to impact our clients. And all this needs to happen long before its public roll-out.
With that in mind, we’ve done some of the groundwork for you. Here are the top things we’re looking forward to in iOS 11, along with how they might affect how you use your Apple device, as well as how your work, app or business could be impacted by some of the changes too.
Everything gets a fresh lick of paint
As is always the case with the newest version of iOS, a number of design elements are going to be subtly updated. A fresh lick of paint always tends to go down well, but it’ll be interesting to see if users really notice.
Designers, on the other hand, will need to sit up and pay attention because there’s a newly-updated version of Apple’s Human Interface Guidelines they’ll need to adhere to.
Drag and Drop comes to the iPad
Apple is bringing Drag and Drop to the iPad, which means you can transport items across a halved screen. This may sound like just another small feature but we think it’s a significant (not to mention strategic) move from Apple. We’re willing to be proven wrong, but our guess is that Apple is gearing up to put way more focus back onto tablets, making them more useful when you’re multi-tasking and moving between different screens.
But regardless, Drag and Drop looks like a handy (no pun intended) new addition. A few years ago Apple stormed ahead when it came to user interface design on its mobile and tablets, so it’s good to see the company starting to innovate again, putting its wares firmly above the Android tablets which don’t have this functionality yet.
The iPad dock arrives for even more multi-tasking
Not only is Apple turning iPods into multi-tasking devices with Drag and Drop, it’s also introducing the dock that you see at the bottom of the screen on the company’s range of laptops. The dock may seem small, but boy is it significant if you use your iPad a lot as you’re able to access anything with a simple swipe rather than moving in and out of windows. And even if you don’t, you might start to in a few months when iOS 11 is released.
Apple Pencil becomes way more useful
The Apple Pencil has been out for a while, but its uses were fairly limited. Now it’s being turned into a productivity tool that’ll make taking screenshots and annotating them easier than ever. The only catch is the small fee of $80 for the accessory (classic Apple). However, it’s worth pointing out that a lot of the iPad changes will be mirroring features that already exist on Android tablets – useful, but old news for Android users considering a switch to iOS.
Siri gets smarter
Once upon a time, Siri was the smartest smart assistant out there. But now she’s way behind Google’s Assistant, so an update was always on the cards. Apple is integrating more of an AI element to Siri, so it understands your behaviours, interests, and likes in the hope people might rely on it more and more. This will require a larger multi-brand cultural adoption with Amazon, Google, Apple and other large brands advancing the technology so it provides genuine value before this becomes commonplace. That being said, Apple’s improvements with this update are impressive. Siri isn’t just going to be smarter, she’ll sound more human too and be able to understand more linguistic nuances.
Apple Pay supports peer-to-peer money transfers
In my opinion, this is the most significant update in iOS 11. Transferring money to friends has always been a pain unless you’re part of the same bank or use a new(ish) fintech service, like Revolute or Monzo cards. This is a great feature, and it’ll be interesting to see what Apple plans on doing with it in the future if people actually start using it as much as it thinks they will. Will the company itself move into more fintech services…? It’s a big move and, if the early indications prove true, an exciting prospect to watch unfold.
Do Not Disturb comes with a driving mode
This new extension of airplane mode is likely to become really useful – not to mention potentially a literal life-saver. It turns on automatically and asks if you’re the one driving, just in case you’re a passenger. It also has an automatic text reply that you can choose to send to anyone who messages you while you’re driving.
Handwriting recognition arrives for note-takers
This is a cool new tech addition that allows you to write notes in your handwriting that can then be read by search, which iOS 11 is able to understand, turn into text and allow you to find again later. Of course, we’ll have to see how many people actually put it to good use or if it serves as a one-time gimmick.
New iPad keyboard shortcuts saves seconds
This may seem like a small change to be rolled out with iOS 11, but it’s important. You’ll no longer have to switch back and forth on your iPad between keyboards, instead, you can combine letter keys with numbers, punctuation, and symbols. Sure, that’ll only amount to a second or two of saved time, but it’s all part of Apple’s move to make using your iPad as intuitive as possible.
Here’s a video demostrating the new features.
Overall, it’s a big update for users and developers alike. We’re excited about the new opportunities it brings to the eco-system, as well as the indications it gives us about Apple’s long-term plans. These updates often mark the start of important new tech trends. So, most likely, this is just the beginning.