Most recently, at WWDC’17, Apple announced iOS 11, which will officially be released in fall 2017. Leading Apple developers have made several promises to create an OS with enhanced design and advanced functionality (particularly, updated camera effects, new messaging functions, enhanced capabilities of Siri, features for utilization of Apple pencil on iPad, etc.). Based on this, one can make the logical conclusion that this release is one of the most awaited events in the field of high technologies in the latter half of 2017. So, what new features in iOS 11 will be presented to users? This article details those, and more.
Read also: 9 Reasons to Choose Swift for iOS App Development
What’s new in iOS 11: preview of general changes
Interface changes and updates
- Redesign of the control centre. What is the control centre like in iOS 11? Completely updated. Due to the rational use of free screen space, all the required icons and buttons can be viewed without scrolling (as opposed to 10th version) and there is featured customization of all components. Additionally, the function of 3D Touch Multitasking, which provides accelerated access to apps, has been removed in 11th version.
- Updated Apple Music design. Many active iOS 10 users were frustrated by the updated and, in our humble opinion, slightly confusing design of Apple Music. This has remained almost identical in iOS 11. Only the appearance of playlists has changed for the better. The real great news for Apple fans is the return of Ping – a social network for music conversations which, for some unknown reason, was removed from 10th version.
- Changes in the app switcher interface for iPad. At some point, iOS achieved perfection in regard to UX. Nevertheless, Apple developers decided that there is still room to grow and, eventually, they enhanced the process of interaction with app switcher interface in iOS 11. Now, you do not have to hold a tab and push “x.” All you need to do to apply the “close gesture” is swipe.
- Enhanced messaging functionality. ‘Messages’ is a service of immediate messaging, which is an alternative to basic SMS. The service received a set of extensions in iOS 11. What are they? Firstly, let us note the implementation of the apps box that users can utilize during chat to search for new stickers, gifs, etc. iOS 10 and iOS 11 also use different methods for storing messages. The system of message storage in iOS 10 is focused directly on the user device, while in iOS 11 messages are stored in the cloud, which is more sustainable than utilizing built-in memory card resources.
- Enhanced Siri. Siri already acquired a number of impressive extensions back in iOS 10. They included, for instance, all-around integration with third-party services (in particular, users could order an Uber taxi via voice commands). With iOS 11, Apple’s developer team took it a significant step further by extending functionality of apps dedicated to online-banking, recognition of QR-codes and task management. Enhancements related to Siri’s speech capabilities must also be noted. The intelligent helper’s voice has become more realistic, and its answers have acquired integral contextual meaning and preciseness due to the advanced technologies of machine learning.
- New camera modes and effects. The new iOS version will be a real treat for those who love to take photos, with the release of new filters for professional photography. You will be able to take quality photos and record video for your blog without the need to use professional cameras with expensive, fragile and difficult-to-control lenses. The gallery’s functionality has also been updated and, now, you will be able to use the Live Photos feature to create compilations of photos from the gallery with built-in machine learning technology. Live Photos can, for example, recognize pets and selfies and create themed collections, and can include the use of filtration based on events. Furthermore, this feature provides the ability to create photo-cycles that imitate the dynamics of captured objects. The new filter should also be noticed: the filter, being an implementation of intensive exposition technology, sets separate fragments in frame in motion (e.g. water), leaving the rest of the details static. Another unique feature of iOS 11 (as opposed to 10th version) is the support of two new image and video formats: HEIF and HEVC, respectively. These provide a perfect compromise between resolution and size of files, enabling you to store more media data on your device. These file formats feature options to export to devices based on third-party platforms.
- Enhanced mechanisms of work with Apple Pencil for iPad. Apple Pencil can be used to create notes in text files, PDF files and screenshots, as well as directly on the lock screen. This tool can also help fill in blanks, as though you were writing directly with a pen. This is a very elaborate solution for busy people.
- New manual capabilities for the iPad multitask panel. In iOS 11, iPad users will be able to launch several apps at once from the Dock panel, using the special Split View mode. Furthermore, standard manual control will let you switch between the launched apps as though you were moving real physical objects. Note the following innovation of interest in the multitask panel: over the course of time, the Dock will become more personalized, as it is extends to frequently used apps.
- ARKit support. Almost everyone has heard of Apple’s new creation – ARKit. Support of this platform, for the development of applications based on augmented reality conceptions, is implemented in iOS 11 by default (the same cannot be said about 10th version). There are no commercial projects created via ARKit yet; however, the platform presents promising capabilities. In particular, ARKit applies several innovational technologies and, combined, they can be used to create apps based on AR conceptions of essentially new quality. These technologies include: Visual Inertial Odometry (which, by enabling built-in sensors and camera, recognizes objects in frame as precisely as possible), lighting level recognition (for adaptation of graphical objects’ brightness to environmental conditions), accentuation of horizontal surfaces (for most correct placement of the objects in frame) and accelerated rendering (which realizes ultrafast redrawing of fragments, keeping up with the comfortable speed of 150 ms due to Apple A9 and A10 processors). What will ARKit most probably show in practice? We are confident that, in the near future, the AppStore collection will receive numerous apps with incredibly realistic graphics, constructed using this platform.
- Maps extensions. iOS 11 offers a set of new capabilities for the embedded Maps app. Particularly, users can scale required places on a map with one hand, which increases the app’s accessibility. In addition, iOS 11 includes maps of shopping centres and malls, so that iPhone and iPad owners can orientate themselves within large buildings.
- Features for drivers. Many users are frustrated when receiving messages or notifications while driving. Of course, this can also be cause for a serious accident, which is why Apple’s team of developers have implemented “Do not Disturb” mode. This provides a safe option while driving, ensuring there aren’t any distractions . The mode features a number of special adjustments that can be enabled by users to automate the process of interaction with dialogue partners (e.g. set call forwarding or turn on voicemail). Moreover, extensions such as Lane Guide (similar in functionality to Google Maps) and indicators of speed limits additionally contribute to a comfortable driving environment and correct behaviors on the road.
- New functions of MusicKit API and the App Store. The update of MusicKit API provides third-party apps with access to the profiles of Apple Music users. Additionally, the App Store’s search functions have also been improved, and it is now easier for users to search by keyword those apps which have not yet acquired popularity and rating on the market.
- ApplePay money transfers. iOS 11 users will be able to transfer money to friends and relatives via Apple Pay (Apple Pay can also put money on a bank card attached to your account). You will be able to use ApplePay’s updated functionality during messaging and through Siri. All the transactions will be displayed in your Apple Pay Cash account, where you can also pay for your web-purchases and offline purchases.
- New Files app for iPad. The files application was developed to replace the iCloud Drive. The software simplifies the management, editing and simultaneous use of files. The functionality required for data management is represented by buttons and type fields. This interface provides intuitive controls even for users that have never before used iOS-based devices. You can also easily access files situated on the web (e.g. cloud) or physical storage locations via this app.
- Drag & drop function for iPad. Now, iPad owners will have access to a drag & drop function, as well. All you will need to do is fixate the text, image and other objects on the screen with your fingers and drag & drop them into another document or app.
iOS 11 vs. iOS 10: performance rating
The positive experience and perception of the new design and navigation in iOS 11 is not enough to indicate its success. Let’s talk performance. The performance of the latest iOS versions has not been that pleasant. iOS-based devices actively use processor power in order to provide a decent level of response in highly-efficient applications (for instance, those that enable high-speed animation or complex business-logic), which can negatively influence battery life. In particular, the rating of iOS 11 beta-versions indicates that the battery of your mobile device will die even faster than in the case of iOS 10. Check out this video, and then this one.
Nevertheless, we all hope that this disadvantage will be eliminated by the time of official release, and that iPhones and iPads will be able to increase battery life without the additional charge over a continuous period of time.
...A few more illustrated feature changes between iOS 11 and iOS 10 design
- Changes in the calculator’s design:
- Updated App Store format:
- Updated appearance of the battery icon and signal division, as well as enhanced font readability:
- Modified appearance of control center screen:
- Updated Wallet app design:
- New calendar theme:
Read also: 8 UI/UX Trends for Mobile Design for 2017
iOS 11 vs. iOS 10 comparison: Conclusion
Disadvantages of iOS 10
Latest news about iOS 11 suggests that the latter beta-version of the OS is currently being tested successfully. In order to make better sense of our iOS 11 preview, let us figure out what disadvantages the previous version of iOS had, from the user point of view. So, what can we say about iOS 10? In the course of its existence, considering both its pros and cons, it acquired loyal fans as well as tough critics. The following list will help outline the significant flaws that have been fixed in the new version of the operating system.
- Absence of support for iPhone 4s and earlier versions. As unfortunate as it is, iOS 10 is incompatible with iPhone 4s and earlier versions of the device (which is kind of a common disadvantage for both operating systems). Thus, owners of relatively old gadgets will not experience the benefits of iOS 10. This disadvantage points out the commercial component of Apple’s conception. This, in turn, causes the negative attitude of many users.
- Complicated process of jailbreak. For those not in the know, jailbreak is a special operation conducted with iOS in order to provide access to file systems. The process extends sets of themes and tweaks that are available to users. It also grants access to applications that are unavailable in Apple’s official App Store. Nevertheless, jailbreak is not supported officially by Apple. This makes it a difficult procedure which significantly limits a set of capabilities for iPhone and iPad users who are used to utilizing the OS to its full extent.
- Short battery life. Last but not least, the final disadvantage of iOS 10 is the relatively fast consumption of battery energy. Particularly during active use of high-performance apps, the battery of your iPhone or iPad can die by the end of the day. Of course, such a flaw is not that critical in the era of power banks. Nevertheless, many users would like to own more energy efficient solutions, as opposed to that suggested by iOS 10.
What can we conclude? A group of iOS fans were not satisfied with 10’s updated UX and switched to Android-based devices. Will iOS 11 make them give Apple a second chance?
In any case, iPhone and iPad owners anxiously await the release of the new operating system and anticipate essential differences between iOS 11 and iOS 10. The updated iOS 11 design and extensions, such as new camera filters, are one of the main advantages for users who were left unsatisfied by previous versions of the platform. Should you try and switch to iOS 11? If you were disappointed by the previous version’s interface – definitely, yes. If you were expecting a version without any problems common to iOS 10, then no. You will not need to switch, provided:
- You plan to conduct jailbreak on your updated device, or such process was already conducted on it;
- You have an older version of iPhone (4s and older); or
- You do not wish to carry a power bank.
Think carefully as to whether or not you need this new OS.