It’s the latest update to Apple’s mobile operating system, an autumn tradition that brings new features to the iPhone and iPad and a new coat of paint to older models as well.
On Tuesday, Apple will hold its annual product unveiled in a virtual demo from its company campus in Cupertino, where it is expected to announce new versions of the iPad and Apple Watch and remind users of some of the new features coming to iOS14. (You can see the presentations at apple.com)
This year, Apple is putting confidentiality at the forefront of the new iOS that Apple has traditionally released in the third week of September (last year was September 19th). The release of the iPhone will be delayed until October, and Apple is expected to hold another event for the iPhone next month.
Smarter Siri? Hi Siri, are you really ’20x’ more on top of that this year? Apple Personal Assistant gets new look in iOS 14
What to expect from the Apple event: Will we see more than iPad and Watch updates?
The privacy feature that Facebook has spoken out against informs users when apps like the social network use data to “track you” or “are linked to you” by accessing your financial and contact information, browser history and location. Users will be asked for their permission to allow Facebook to do this, and it is because people are expected to say no to this that Facebook was warned that it will get a financial hit once the feature is enabled.
Apple is postponing this feature until early 2021 to give developers like Facebook, Snapchat and others time to train kinks. But there are several other features that come faster that are worth looking forward to. I downloaded the beta version of iOS14 last week and spent some time on it. Let me tell you about what I found.
For years, fans of Android smartphones have been able to customize their home screens with a “widget” feature that lets you decide if you want to see a big clock, weather, news headlines and the like. Now you can do it in iOS14 by swiping the home screen to the left and clicking the Edit button to add to the experience. While it’s a steal, it’s a nice thing to have, just as Google’s Translate app has always been a lifesaver when traveling internationally. Now Apple is adding its Translate feature to the operating system via the new, preloaded Translate app or Siri personal assistant. Ask a question like “How do I say ‘hello’ in Japanese?” You get the answer and the ability to keep the conversation going.
If you’re like me, you’ve got loads of apps all over your phone, so many you’ve lost track. In the past, Apple has offered the ability to create folders of your choice. Apparently, Apple feels that consumers are not making an effort. Because this year, Apple is introducing an automated collection of similar apps with categories for entertainment, social, tools, “reading,” health, and more, and they’re making them for you, whether you like it or not. This is good in theory. But since it’s automatic, you may not agree with Apple’s choices. And there is no tool to change the picks. (However, you can still make folders the old-fashioned, manual way.)
Before, you were talking on the phone, and the black background of the call took over your screen. Now, in a move that will be especially useful for people talking on the speaker, the caller section will take up a small percentage of the screen and you will see more of your iPhone property.
Apple’s Map app gets two new useful features this year. Bicycle Directions, which has been a staple of Google Maps for years, is finally blaming Apple – even though in beta it did not work for my local area. Second, Apple offers “guides” to cities like New York, San Francisco and London with tips on what to do when visiting – post-pandemic, of course. There will only be a handful of these in the beginning, but will roll out to more cities in the coming months.
The personal assistant, who debuted in 2011, is smarter this year per. Apple, which specifically says that Siri has “over 20 times more facts than just three years ago.” In my tests, it was actually chattier and smarter. Siri still has the annoying tendency of answering a query by saying “Here is what I found on the Internet” instead of answering you, but it happened less often this time.
Start your car with iOS
This is without a doubt the most exciting new feature of them all, the ability to use your iPhone to unlock your car and get your engine running. But even if it’s part of iOS14, don’t get your hopes up. The feature only works with one manufacturer, BMW, on a number of models produced after July 2020. But it is definitely worth looking forward to.
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