Having revealed details on the availability of the iOS 11 release, Apple has enabled the download of its new operating system for compatible devices starting September 19. Apple had spoken of the new features expected on iOS 11 at the WWDC 2017Apple had spoken of the new features expected on iOS 11 at the WWDC 2017, following which preview versions were sent out to developers for testing and release of educational videos to familiarize users with the new OS.
Here is a lowdown on the new elements that iOS 11 brings and how it could change your Apple experience:
On top of the list of new features is the support iOS 11 will offer for augmented reality applications through Apple's AR Kit. The kit allows developers to overlay 3D or 2D shapes on top of real world objects. Some of the advanced capabilities of the kit include support for realistically adapting to ambient lighting conditions, and draw shadows appropriately.
Gaming freaks will also get a new experience with the introduction of this new feature. Besides gaming, augmented reality applications can also be used for measuring distances and checking out actual sizes and dimensions of products sold on e-commerce platforms.
Contrary to Google's AR platform Tango, which is available only on select Android devices, the rollout of iOS 11 will bring AR technologies to millions of Apple users globally. The new A11 Bionic chip in the iPhone 8, 8 Plus and X is optimised for AR work, Apple said.
Apple users will finally have a file manager of sorts with the iOS 11. The new Files app shows all files -- locally stored files as well as files those on cloud – on one platform. The listing of files includes files stored on iCloud as well as third-party cloud hosting services such as Box, Dropbox, OneDrive, Google Drive and others. Files stored locally on one device will be available on other Apple devices where the user has signed in with the same Apple ID.
Apple has carried out improvements in Live Photos through two new features that allow these live photos to be looped and bounce. While Loop replays the same Live Photo over and over again, Bounce slingshots back and forth. Users also have the option to choose Live Photos to turn into Loops, besides incorporating suggestions by the device.
The Long Exposure feature will now convert a Live Photo into a light painting, which will be like the results one gets out of extended exposure on a DSLR. Apple has also introduced filters to its camera to make your photos look professional. A number of these filters are specifically meant to enhance portrait photographs. This feature uses the dual camera setup on the rear of the iPhone 8 Plus and iPhone X, and the front camera setup on the iPhone X, to map your face in 3D and create contextual lighting effects. These effects are said to replicate various studio lighting setups.
The catch, however, is that the feature will be available only on the new iPhones for now. The iPhone 7 Plus may not get the feature because it doesn't contain the A11 Bionic chip. Also, Portrait Lighting is still in beta and will not be available with the first release of iOS 11.
Scan and Sign
Apple has also introduced the Scan and Sign feature that allows easy scanning of documents. The document scanner feature is in the Notes app and device automatically removes glare and corrects the tilt of the camera at the time of snapping the picture. The device can also automatically crop the image to exactly fit the dimensions of the scanned document. Once a document is scanned, the Apple Pencil can be used to fill in any forms or sign the document before sharing it.
New Emoji and Wallpapers
As with every new iOS release, Apple will also bring new wallpapers, some of which will be limited to the iPhone 8 and iPhone X. Older devices should also get some new ones. In fact, leaks suggest that the iPhone X will get some OLED-specific wallpapers to go with its new OLED display.
The emoji have also been improved, and are now more expressive as they are animated and in 3D. Better yet, the TrueDepth sensor on the iPhone X can be used to animate the emojis, create custom animated messages, etc.
New App Store
The App Store has also received a significant makeover, although it will make some older Apps irrelevant following an upgrade to iOS 11. The Today tab features hand-picked applications that are trending or in the news for some reason. The Games tab has a selection of the latest games curated by expert gamers. The Apps tab showcases new applications that the Apple editors were attracted towards.
There is also a Daily Stories section where Apple Editors share personal anecdotes with regard to applications, go behind the scenes with the developers, or provide exclusive world premieres of titles and applications. The Tips and Tricks section helps you do more with the applications, by providing detailed guides and how tos to use the more advanced features in the applications. The Lists section has curated lists of applications, chosen by the Apple App Store Editors.
Apart from the new tabs and sections, there is also a new App of the Day and Game of the Day listing, which is updated every day.
iOS Maps will now have the ability to check out detailed maps and floor plans of the interiors of airports and shopping centers. You can find out places to eat or shop within these large buildings, before even reaching the location. Detailed indoor maps are available of hundreds of shopping centers and airports around the world.
Apple has also introduced the automatic ‘do not disturb’ mode that is activated as soon as you start driving. The device will show no notifications while you are at the wheel and users trying to contact you will be informed that you are behind the wheel.
Apple’s assistant Siri can now translate phrases from English into German, French, Italian, Chinese and Spanish. This is besides predicting what you are about to type and making suggestions as you type. Siri can suggest names of movies, of places, or estimate the arrival time when you tell your friend that you are on your way. On confirming travel plans or appointments, Siri automatically prompts you to add the engagement to your calendar. The suggested searches on Safari now vary according to the articles that you were just reading. Siri also acts as a personal DJ now, playing back songs that you already like, or are likely to like. You can now ask specific questions related to a track to Siri, such as the name of the band or that of the lead vocalist.
Enhancements tailored for iPad
There are several features iOS 11 has that are meant specifically for iPad users. There is a new dock that can be accessible while using any app. The dock can be customised and smart suggestions based on recent activity appears towards the right side of the dock. Recently used applications on a Mac or an iPhone appear in this section of the new dock.
Multitasking and keep two applications running concurrently on the screen have become easier. Users can simply drag an app from the dock to a side of the screen to place the app on that portion. There are two views possible for multitasking, the 'Slide Over View' and the 'Split View'. In the Slide Over View, an app is placed on top of another application running in fullscreen mode. In the Split View, a majority of the area is taken up by one app, while the other appears as a sidebar. Users can also drag and drop files directly from one application to another.
There is a new instant markup feature for the Apple Pencil on the iPad Pro. Users simply have to start writing, drawing or scribbling on any screen to take a snapshot of the screen, along with the markups done with the Pencil. Users can also start writing on the lock screen with the Pencil to instantly initiate a note. The creations are saved in the Notes app. Users can also sketch in the notes app, with the text moving automatically out of the way. Handwritten notes can now be searched through, using the regular search function. In line drawings are supported for emails as well.
Devices that will support iOS 11
Apart from the new launches such as iPhone 8, the iPhone 8 Plus and the iPhone X, eight previous iPhone models will support an upgrade to iOS 11. The supported devices are the iPhone 7, iPhone 7 Plus, iPhone 6s, iPhone 6s Plus, iPhone 6, iPhone 6 Plus, iPhone SE and the iPhone 5s.
The supported iPad models are 12.9-inch 2nd generation iPad Pro, 12.9-inch 1st generation iPad Pro, 10.5-inch iPad Pro, 9.7-inch iPad Pro, iPad Air 2, iPad Air, 5th generation iPad, iPad mini 4, iPad mini 3, iPad mini 2 as well as the sixth generation iPod touch.