We’re not expecting a new iPhone series until September but today Apple is set to announce the latest batch of features coming to iOS at its annual Worldwide Developer Conference.
We’re up to iOS 13 for the latest version of the iPhone and iPad operating system and alongside refreshes for macOS, watchOS and potentially some new hardware. As ever, evolution is the name of the game, with the iPad likely to see the bulk of the improvements as Apple slowly turns iOS into an operating system that can replace a computer for most people.
Here are a few of the new iOS 13 features we expect to see announced this evening.
Ah, dark mode, this update was seemingly inevitable. As we reported in March, dark mode, a light-on-dark colour scheme that people say goes easier on the eyes and saves battery, is currently in vogue. There are currently dark modes for Android phones, Microsoft Outlook, Reddit, YouTube, Gmail, Pocket, Reddit, Safari and Apple’s own MacOS 10.14. Apple is rolling out dark mode for iOS 13 for “easier night viewing”: you’ll likely be able to turn it on and off in the Settings app or set it to come at specific times of day.
Rumours suggest that the iPad will be getting the most love from Apple. One of these is that Apple is redesigning the iPad’s home screen, a rumour that flew around for iOS 12 but never materialised. Various possible upgrades have been suggested. One would be to address an ongoing criticism of the iPad: that because it mimics the iPhone’s home screen leaves massive spaces between each icon.
Addressing this density issue to get more information on the screen, or at least Apple could allow users to move the apps around with a bit more freedom rather than having to stick to grids. Other suggestions include the ability to see all apps on the device as an alphabetised list, and visual upgrades to the status bar.
Other potential features for the iPad include a new undo gesture – a three finger tap on the keyboard area – and improved multi-tasking: the apps will be able to support multiple windows. There’s also the suggestion that the iPad will be able to double up as a second screen for your Mac.
Interestingly, there’s a good chance we’ll see more iOS-based apps appearing on Mac OS, too. Hopefully this means they will become more powerful and flexible, which will benefit iPad users in the long run.
A slew of app improvements are on the way if the leaks are to be believed. The Reminders app will be revamped with new sections: finished today, all tasks, scheduled tasks, and flagged tasks. Maps will get features that allow photos to be added to frequent locations. The Books app will include a new progress tracker and iMessage will now allow a profile picture and display name.
Safari on the iPad will automatically ask for the desktop version of websites. The Files app for iPad is also looking likely to be entirely revamped, with better third-party software integration, and sleep mode will have a new Clock Bedtime feature. The Health app will also allow more comprehensive tracking of menstrual cycles.
Third party developer tools like ARKit, NFC, and SiriKit will also be getting updated. For those who regularly lose their phone, the Find my Phone and Find My Friends apps are being combined into one app, called Find My. It’ll still be able to find your phone even without Wifi or network, by using nearby devices’ networks.
iOS 13 may remove the volume HUD, the little indicator that appears when you change your volume. At the moment, you can’t swipe away from this image: rumours are that we may get a swiping feature, or that it may be removed entirely.
Last year, Siri got Shortcuts, a function that took you directly to a certain part of an app whenever you say a key phrase. Apple has reportedly expanded its Siri team, and we are likely to see some more improvements to the voice assistant. One may be the ability to personalise response when you get a call. These may integrate with the CarPlay feature: telling a caller where the driver is and how long until their destination. The interface for CarPlay itself is also likely to be updated.
These won’t be available when iOS 13 is released, but most important of all: they’re set to include flamingo, otter, waffle, sloth, white heart, people holding hands, ice cube, snorkel, orangutan, juice box, falafel. There is also likely to be an update to the emoji search function. Exciting times.
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