Apple reimagines the iPhone experience with iOS 14

Apple reimagines the iPhone experience with iOS 14

iOS 14 introduces new ways to customize the Home Screen, discover and use apps with App Clips, and stay connected with Messages

iOS 14 introduces new ways to customize the Home Screen, discover and use apps with App Clips, and stay connected with Messages

iOS 14 introduces new ways to customize the Home Screen, discover and use apps with App Clips, and stay connected with Messages

Business

Jun 23, 2020

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Apple unveiled yesterday a preview of iOS 14, introducing the most significant update ever for the Home Screen with redesigned widgets and the App Library, a new way to access the App Store with App Clips, important news for Messages, and much more.

The new widgets display essential information at a glance and can be pinned in different sizes on any Home Screen page. Users can create a Smart Stack of widgets, which leverages the intelligence built into the device to show the right widget based on time, location, and activity.

Home Screen pages can display custom widgets for work, travel, sports, leisure, and other interests. At the end of the pages is the App Library, a new space that automatically organizes all apps in a single, easy and intuitive view, and displays those it deems most useful to the user at that time. Users can choose how many Home Screen pages to display, but also hide them to access the App Library more quickly.

Traditional calls and FaceTime, and interactions with Siri have a new compact design that allows the user to keep track of what they were doing before receiving, for example, a phone call. With Picture-in-Picture support, iPhone users can now watch a video or answer a FaceTime call while continuing to use another app.

“iOS 14 transforms the most iconic elements of the iPhone experience, starting with the most significant update we’ve ever introduced for the Home Screen,” said Craig Federighi, Apple’s Senior Vice President of Software Engineering. “With redesigned widgets on the Home Screen, the App Library that automatically organizes all apps, and easy and quick-to-find App Clips, the iPhone becomes even more powerful and easy to use.”

A new way to discover and use apps with App Clips

An App Clip is a small portion of an app experience designed to be discovered by users at the exact moment they need it. App Clips are associated with a particular product or business, and load in a few seconds to help users complete a specific activity, such as renting a scooter, buying a coffee, or paying for parking. They are easy to discover and can be accessed by scanning a new App Clip code developed by Apple, or through NFC tags and QR codes, or by sharing them in Messages or from Safari, with all the security and privacy users expect from apps.

Important updates for conversations in Messages

The Messages app is essential for communicating with family and friends, and now it’s easier than ever to stay in touch and quickly access important messages. Users can pin conversations at the top of the message list, easily keep up with group threads thanks to mentions and built-in replies, and customize conversations by setting a group photo with an image or emoji. The new Memoji options in Messages are more inclusive and diverse, with a new range of hairstyles, hats, face coverings, and much more.

Green travel and new Guides in Maps

Maps make it even easier to navigate and explore with new guidance for cyclists, routes for electric vehicles, and curated city Guides. Cycling directions take into account elevation, traffic, and the presence of stairs along the route. Electric vehicle routes include charging stations along the route based on the vehicle’s charge level and types of charging. City guides offer a curated list of interesting places to visit, created from a selection of reliable resources. Guides are great for discovering new restaurants or attractions and for testing the tips of the most famous brands, including AllTrails, Complex, The Infatuation, TimeOut, and The Washington Post.

Enhanced privacy features for greater transparency and control

All apps will now need to obtain user permission before starting tracking. Later this year, product pages on the App Store will include a summary of the privacy policies declared by developers, in a simple and intuitive format. Users will also be able to upgrade their account to Sign in with Apple, choose to share with developers only their approximate location, rather than the exact one, and have greater transparency about the use of microphone and camera by apps.

Other iOS 14 features

  • Translate is designed to be the best and easiest app to use for translating conversations, thanks to fast and natural voice and text translation in 11 different languages. The on-device mode allows users to try the app's functions offline for private translations.

  • Siri expands its knowledge, helps find answers from the internet, and can now send audio messages. The dictation feature on the keyboard works on-device to dictate messages, notes, emails, and much more.

  • The Home app simplifies the control of smart homes with new automation suggestions and extended controls in the Control Center for quicker access to accessories and scenes. Adaptive Lighting for HomeKit-compatible lighting systems adjusts the color temperature throughout the day; and with on-device facial recognition, compatible video doorbells and cameras recognize friends and family. The Home app and HomeKit are designed to ensure maximum privacy and security: all user home accessory information is protected by end-to-end encryption.

  • AirPods can now switch audio between different Apple devices with the automatic switching feature. Spatial audio with dynamic head tracking offers an engaging experience when wearing AirPods Pro. By applying directional audio filters and slightly adjusting the frequencies received by each ear, sounds can be placed in almost any point of a space for an immersive listening experience.

  • With digital car keys, users can use their iPhone or Apple Watch to unlock and start the car. Digital car keys can be easily shared in Messages or disabled via iCloud if the device is lost; they will be available starting this year with NFC. Apple has also unveiled the next generation of digital keys based on Ultra Wideband technology for spatial perception supported by the U1 chip: users will be able to open and unlock future car models without removing the iPhone from their pocket or bag and will be available next year.

  • The Find My feature will support devices and accessories from other manufacturers, with the new Find My accessories program. This will allow users to use the Find My app to track other important accessories, in addition to their Apple devices. User privacy remains central in Find My, with built-in end-to-end encryption. A preliminary specification is available to accessory manufacturers starting today.

  • Safari offers Privacy Report that makes it easy for users to see which cross-site tracking solutions have been blocked; secure password monitoring helps locate potentially compromised saved passwords, while the built-in translation feature is available for entire web pages.

  • The Health app has new experiences to manage sleep, a better understanding of audio levels that could have a negative impact on hearing, and a new Health Checklist, a centralized place to manage health and safety functions, including Emergency SOS, Medical ID, ECG, Fall Detection, and more. The Health app now supports new data types for mobility, health data, symptoms, and ECG.

  • The Weather app and widget keeps users updated on severe weather events, while a new next-hour precipitation chart shows minute-by-minute precipitation when rain is expected.

  • Accessibility features include Headphone Accommodations, which amplify or attenuate certain frequencies to ensure clearer and sharper audio in music, movies, calls, and podcasts, and sign language detection in group FaceTime calls, which highlights in video calls the person communicating through ASL. VoiceOver, the industry-leading screen reader for the non-sighted community, now automatically recognizes what is displayed on the screen, making apps and web experiences even more accessible to a wider range of people.

Availability

The developer preview of iOS 14 is available to Apple Developer Program members at developer.apple.com  starting today; the public beta will be available next month for iOS users at beta.apple.com. The new software features will be available in the fall as a free software update for iPhone 6s and later models. For more information, visit apple.com/ios/ios-14-preview. Features are subject to change. Some features may not be available in all languages or in all geographic areas.

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