On June 22nd of this year, Apple held its annual WWDC keynote conference for app developers. Only this year, in true 2020 fashion, the keynote was virtual and showcases Tim Cook in an empty auditorium without the usual live and real-time software demos. The Apple CEO announced that the WWDC20 was going to be virtual back in May, amid the peak of Coronavirus, so had ample time to commission pre-recorded 4K segments to showcase iOS 14 and all of the exciting updates to follow.
The first developer beta of iOS 14 was released almost immediately after the WWDC conference back in June, whilst the public beta arrived on July the 9th, so most eager Apple fans and developers have already tried and tested Apple’s latest software. However, as of the 16th of September, iOS 14 is now available to download on all compatible Apple devices.
If you haven’t updated your iPhone yet, here’s a list of a few of the exciting new features that you can expect to find when you download Apple’s latest software, with a range of enhancements ranging from home screen and user interface updates to the advancement of Siri’s capabilities.
The new App Library is an efficient way to store and view your apps as the App Library now suggests apps you’re likely to be searching for based on previous usage, time, location or activity. Although iOS users will already be familiar with the ability to auto-categorise apps when you drag two apps into a single folder, the new App Library automatically organises all your apps for you according to smart categories such as Social, Productivity, Health & Fitness and Entertainment, creating one ‘easy-to-navigate’ view. These categories are able to intelligently reorder based on app use.
Arguably, the best thing about the new App Library is that the folder icons are all different sizes, based on the apps you frequent or have used most recently, so they’re easier to launch when you want to come back to them. All new apps you download automatically appear in your App Library and if there are certain apps you don’t want to appear on your library screen you can choose to hide these pages, to avoid cluttering your library.
Widgets were introduced back in iOS 8, so most Apple users are familiar with this functionality. However, widgets are now finally available on the home screen! You’re able to drag and drop widgets of your choice to home screen, with the added ability of choosing where on the home screen you would like them to appear. Widgets are now available in different sizes, and you can customise your widgets to small, medium or large so you can add that additional level of personalisation to your screen.
During the WWCD, we also witnessed the arrival of the newest widget ‘Smart Stack’. Similar to Siri App Suggestions, Smart Stack is a set of widgets that users can swipe through utilising on-device intelligence to predict functions that we’ll need at a given location, time or activity. The Siri Suggestions widget will use on-device intelligence to predict actions a user may take based on previous usage and behaviour.
Apple has assured us that there is now ‘widgets for everything’ with redesigned widgets for Weather, Clock, Calendar, Maps, Stocks, News, Reminders, Tips, Notes, Photos, Music, TV, Podcasts, Fitness, Files, Battery, Shortcuts, Screen Time and Siri Suggestions.
You can now create up to 10 widget stacks to utilise space on your home screen and avoid unnecessary clutter by dragging one widget on top of another and swiping through them.
As we’ve seen with the iPad, if you start playing a video you can move it around and re-size the video so it only plays on a small part of the screen over another live app if you wish, allowing you to achieve more at any one time. You can also move the video in any corner of the screen by dragging it across and minimise it by moving it off the screen, offering you full access to another live app whilst continuing to listen to the video’s audio.
Siri’s interface has been redesigned; the new design is far more compact and visually appealing as it no longer takes up the entire screen but simply pops up at the bottom of the screen instead. Siri’s results now pop up at the top of the screen, mirroring a notification.
Siri’s capabilities are now broader, and Siri can now offer users 20 times more facts in comparison to its capabilities three years ago, especially when it comes to more complex questions.
Siri can now send audio messages and can run dictation on your device rather than relying on a web connection. Siri can translate more languages than ever which has led to the creation of the Translate app now available on iOS 14, offering over 11 languages as well as offline mode.The Translate app offers a conversation mode which can be accessed when you turn your iPhone on its side, offering single microphone button to auto-detect all languages being spoken and then assigning them correctly across the app screen.
- iPhone 6s & 6s Plus
- iPhone SE (2016)
- iPhone 7 & 7 Plus
- iPhone 8 & 8 Plus
- iPhone X
- iPhone XR
- iPhone XS & XS Max
- iPhone 11
- iPhone 11 Pro & 11 Pro Max
- iPhone SE (2020)
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