Yesterday at Apple’s annual Worldwide Developers Conference, the world’s most valuable technology company offered its audience a sneak peak at iOS 11, described as “a major update to the world’s most advanced mobile operating system.”
Apple promises “hundreds” of new features, especially on the iPad front; the company says iOS 11 “is the biggest software release ever for iPad.” So what should you expect, and when should you expect it?
What to Expect
We don’t know every single one of the new features slated for iOS 11, but Apple’s WWDC keynote revealed several major ones. Here’s a quick rundown of what you can look forward to.
- Peer-to-peer money transfers. Yes, P2P is finally coming to Apple Pay. It will be integrated into iMessage.
- Augmented reality. Apple has developed what it calls ARKit, a new platform for developers to help them bring AR experiences to iPhone and iPad using the built-in camera, processors, and motion sensors in iOS devices.
- A more intelligent assistant. Using advancements in machine learning and artificial intelligence, Siri gets an upgrade with new voices that are more natural and expressive—and can translate English words and phrases into several languages. Siri will also extend beyond voice, using on-device learning to deliver more personal experiences and offers suggestions based on personal usage of Safari, News, Mail, Messages and more.
And, as mentioned, the iPad got some special attention.
- True multitasking. There is a new customizable Dock that provides access to frequently used apps and documents from any screen, and a redesigned app switcher makes it easier to move between pairs of active apps, used in Split View and now Slide Over.
- Desktop-like file management. A new Files app keeps everything in one place, whether files are stored locally, in iCloud Drive or across other providers like Box, Dropbox and more, and with Drag and Drop available across the system, moving images and text is easier than ever.
There is a lot more, of course, like an overhauled App Store that better enables app discovery, and a redesigned Control Center.
When to Expect It
The developer preview of iOS 11 is available to iOS Developer Program members as of today. A public beta program will be available to iOS users later this month. And the software update itself—which, as usual, is free—will become universally available “this fall.”
It’s worth noting that iOS 11 will run on 64-bit devices only, meaning the iPhone 5S and newer and the fifth-generation iPad and newer.