Highlights from Apple’s WWDC 2017

Tim Cook took to the stage at the annual Apple Developer Conference yesterday to introduce iOS 11, the latest major version of their mobile operating system which powers iPhones and iPads. There are lots of system-wide refinements and new features. See the highlights below:

Do Not Disturb While Driving Mode

The iPhone can detect when you may be driving and automatically silence your incoming alerts and notifications. This should make for a safer driving experience and to not be interrupted while at the wheel. You can turn this mode off in case you are a passenger in the car for example. Driver safety has always been central to CoPilot so we’re pleased to see Apple add driver-safety feature directly in iOS.

Augmented Reality Platform

There are new functions available to developers to build AR apps using the device’s inbuilt motion sensors and cameras. The demos they showed looked really impressive.

A Redesigned App Store

For the first-time since its launch, the App Store is getting an overhaul, similar to the look and feel of Apple’s own Music and News apps. There will be a new ‘Today’ section highlighting an app of the day, along with collections of suggested apps and a new section dedicated to just Games which offers highlighted in-app purchases. Plus app store listings can now include additional videos.

iPad Productivity Features

A whole range of iPad-only features were demo’ed including drag & drop, a new app switcher for improved multitasking, customizable dockbar at the bottom which can now have more apps. There’s an improved QuickType keyboard with suggestions based on Apple News articles you’ve read and quicker access to numbers and punctuation. Instant Markup allows you to markup a PDF or screenshot with notes and there’s a new document scanner which can automatically crop the edges. In all it makes the iPad a more productive device for working between multiple apps.

Redesigned Control Center

The layout has been rearranged and now fits on one screen and implements 3D touch for additional options, sliders to adjust volume and brightness. Many of the options are now customizable for the first time too.

Smarter Siri

There are new male and female voices which sound more natural and a new learning system will adapt to the way you use your device to offer more personalized responses based on the time, your location, your interests and Safari favorites etc. A new translation feature for Chinese, French, German, Italian or Spanish be available (in beta) too.

Improved Messages App

A drawer at the bottom offers options for stickers and message apps. You can now use the app to send money to contacts directly via Apple Pay.

iOS 11 is expected to be released this fall.

Apple also announced new iPad Pro models with improved brighter screens which now supports HDR video and faster refresh rates along with faster processors, improved cameras, and Touch ID 2. The 9.7” model has been replaced with a 10.5” screen model which has a similar sized footprint and smaller bezels.

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