Apple may not have been able to host a live WWDC conference this year, but that hasn’t stopped them from putting together an impressive digital show and announcing some big changes to certain products and their operating systems. iOS 14, which runs their many millions of iPhones around the world, is getting some of its biggest new updates in years (as reported by The Verge).
The most notable change that will be coming to iOS 14 is that of Widgets that can be placed on the home screen. Apple is debuting these new widgets in different shapes and sizes, and the idea is that you’ll be able to have more data-rich info on your home screen, much like has been available on Android devices for many years. It’s one of those features that has taken time for Apple to roll out and while it blurs the lines a little between iOS and Android, it’s one that should make a big difference to users who will be able to get access to more information just by looking at their home screen.
Another feature coming to Apple apps is that of App Clips, which is Apple’s version of Android’s Instant Apps. Essentially, you will no longer need to download a full app to be able to gain access to what it offers, in addition to being able to make a purchase through it via Apple Pay. Apple is also for the first time going to allow users the changes to change its default mail, calendar and browser apps, which will be another welcome change for many 3rd part app developers out there.
iOS 14 is all adding an App Library, a new feature that will automatically organise apps based on their categories to allow for quickly accessing apps that normally live outside of the first or second page. Another android-like feature coming with the new update is that of Picture-in-picture. If you swipe away while watching a full-screened video, the window will float on your home screen, allowing you to resize and move the video. What Apple is making unique with its version of PiP though is in letting users minimize the PiP into a small button on the side of the screen, making it even easier to transition between the video and the rest of the screen.
We live in a world that communicates In emoji’s and meme’s and so there should be no surprise that iOS 14 will feature more Memoji options including more age-specific option, accessories with the likes of face masks and more emotions. For those who don’t like to use words to convey how the feel, they will likely find great use out of this new feature.
Apple Maps is also getting a big new update in iOS 14 with a new cycling-specific navigation, among other things. It can alert you to increases in elevation as well as a notification if you’ll need to carry your bike up stairs to get where you’re going. There will also be a view that will allow drivers of electric vehicles to find charging points along the routes. These maps changes won’t be coming to South Africa yet, but hopefully will be rolled out over time after their initial launches in New York City, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Shanghai, and Beijing.
Another feature that has been confirmed for iOS 14 that has been previously announced by the company is that of its digital car key, which is finally ready for release. This feature allows users to register their keys on Apple Wallets and allow them to unlock and lock their cars directly from their phones and even start the engine by placing it on a pad. This will only work for BMW 5 Series cars for now, but Apple is working to bring more car manufacturers on soon.
These changes will all be coming through to the iPad version of IOS too, along with a new sidebar as its way of making it much easier to navigate apps and continue the migration of making an iPad function more like a laptop. Apple also redesigned search on iPad, and it looks almost exactly like Spotlight on macOS. It can help you find contacts, search on the web, or serve as a Launchpad-like function to launch apps.
There will also be a new feature called Scribble that will allow users to write in any text field with the Apple Pencil, then it will be automatically converted to text, with support for multiple languages. The feature can automatically detect the context of the information you write, like a phone number or address, then direct you to the correct app when it’s tapped. Though its unlikely apple tested it on anything as bad as my handwriting, so if you write like a doctor, it will probably just as confused as you are when reading it.
It’s a new year and a new version of iOS, but Apple is certainly making some big changes that could drastically change the way its users use their devices. Yes, it may lake innovation with some of these changes may mimic its competitors, but with Apple’s legendary quality and reliability, hopefully, it will make it work that much better.
Do you think these iOS 14 changes are a welcome improvement for Apple or just a further sign that the company is struggling to differentiate itself from the competition?
Last Updated: June 23, 2020