The next version of iOS will be launched this autumn, but we’ve been testing the beta version to find out what the key features and benefits are.
Here are some of the more significant changes that will impact upon both consumers and brands. Here’s a quick checklist, before we explore the key areas in more detail:
• Revamped Control Centre
• Siri improvements
• Updated design elements
• Peer-to-peer Apple Pay
• Drag and Drop
• QR Reader
• iPad app Dock
• Revamped AppStore
• AR Kit
The App Store
The App Store has been totally overhauled.
There are now two distinct sections for apps and games: the main section of the App Store has a new “Today” view, showcasing an ‘App of the Day’ and a ‘Game of the Day’
There is a selection of other content, ranging from featured games and apps, interviews with developers, and editors’ tips on how to use various apps, making it easier to discover new apps and games.
Individual app pages have of a focus on reviews and Editor’s Choice picks, and content can now be showcased with multiple videos. There are also new options that allow things like new in-app purchases and levels to be highlighted, allowing developers to alert users when apps are updated.
iOS 11 has implemented subtle design changes to interface elements throughout the operating system. Some of Apple’s own apps have a new look, with bolder text, and the Lock screen and Control Centre have been entirely redesigned, with have a wider range of customisable settings. There is also the removal of all 32-bit apps currently in the App Store, some 200,000 apps.
3D Touch integration
3D Touch integration has expanded and allows users to do more without having to open the Settings app. The use of 3D touch and deeper engagements is becoming a clear focus within Apple products, and will no doubt continue to grow as developers expand on the 3D touch capabilities.
Voice is now more intelligent
We know that voice-driven interfaces will make a big impact over the next 12 months, so it’s no surprise that Siri has had an update too. It is now more natural and is now more intelligent than ever before.
Siri now learns your preferences and synchronises that information across multiple devices, allowing the personal assistant to provide a true cross-device contextually relevant experience that can be pro-active. It will be interesting to see how Siri and the personal assistant will start to influence decision-making and engagement in the future.
The new iPad: a contender to replace the laptop?
The Apple iPad has a host of new features to make it an extremely effective multitasking tool. A new app Dock at the bottom of the display makes it easy to launch and switch between apps, and there is a new App Switcher that looks quite similar to Mission Control on the Mac. The Apple Pencil is increasingly usable throughout Apple’s apps.
Drag and drop brings more functionality
Drag and drop allows users to drag content from one app to another, both on the iPad and the iPhone. There is a new Finder-style Files app for managing files, which lists all files stored locally, in iCloud Drive and in third-party cloud services like Dropbox and Google Drive.
Could this be the leverage that AR has needed to hit the mass market?
One of the most exciting updates is the introduction of ARKit, a platform which will allow developers and businesses to integrate AR experiences into apps creating deeper, more meaningful in-app experiences. The ability to develop on such a platform offers great opportunity for businesses looking to build on interactive apps.
QR is back
The Camera app, Portrait Mode and Live Photos have been improved with new capabilities, plus there is a QR reader built into the native camera app – meaning a user can simply scan a QR code and be taken to a specific app, landing page or video. No more downloading a QR readers from the App Store.
iMessage extends its features further
Person-to-person Apple Pay now lets you send money to friends through iMessage. The messages themselves are now stored in iCloud and will take up less storage. Photos and Videos also take up less space through the adoption of new formats.
We are looking forward to testing some more features in iOS 11 and will keep you all updated with our findings and thoughts. One thing is for sure, this is a major update from Apple - and changes will need to be made to best enhance the users experience.