Apple introduces iOS1
When Facebook warns that a change to Apple’s upcoming mobile operating system will negatively affect how closely it will be able to follow you on mobile phones, you know you’ll like iOS14.
It’s the latest update to Apple’s mobile operating system, a fall tradition that brings new features to iPhones and iPads, and a new coat of paint for older models as well.
On Tuesday, Apple will hold its annual product presentation in a virtual demo from its corporate campus in Cupertino, where it is expected to advertise new versions of the iPad and Apple Watch and remind users of some of the new features coming to iOS14. (You can watch the presentations on apple.com)
This year, Apple is putting privacy front and center with the new iOS, which Apple traditionally released in the third week of September (last year was September 19). The release of the iPhone will be delayed until October, and Apple is expected to organize another event for the iPhone next month.
iOS14 creates “app libraries” of similar apps (Photo: Apple)
What to expect from the Apple event: Will we see more of the iPad and Watch updates?
The privacy feature against which Facebook has ruled informs users of when apps such as the social network use data to “track you” or are “linked to you”, grabbing your financial and contact information, browsing history and position. Users will be asked for permission to allow Facebook to do this, and it is because people are expected to say no that Facebook has been warned that it will take a financial hit when the feature is enabled.
Apple is postponing this feature until early 2021, to give developers like Facebook, Snapchat, and others time to troubleshoot. But there are many more features to come before that are worth the wait. I downloaded the iOS14 beta last week and spent some time on it. Let me tell you what I found.
For years, fans of Android smartphones have been able to customize their home screens with a “widget” feature that lets you decide if you want to see a big clock, the weather, news headlines and the like. You can now do this in iOS14, by swiping the main screen to the left and clicking the edit button to add to the experience. While it’s a real deal, it’s a nice thing to have, just like the Google Translate app has always been a lifesaver when traveling internationally. Now, Apple adds its Translate feature to the operating system, via the new preloaded Translate app or the personal assistant Siri. Ask a question like “How do you say” hello “in Japanese?” Gain the response and the ability to keep the conversation going.
Apple adds “widgets” to the iOS home screen in iOS14 (Photo: Apple)
If you’re like me, you have tons of apps all over your phone, so many that you’ve lost count. In the past, Apple has offered the ability to create folders of your choice. Apparently, Apple believes that consumers are not engaging. Because this year Apple introduces an automatic grouping of similar apps, with categories for entertainment, social, utilities, “reading”, health and more, and will make them for you, whether you like it or not. This is fine, in theory. But because it’s automatic, you may not agree with the choices Apple has made. And there is no tool to change the results. (However, you can still create folders the old manual way.)
You used to talk on the phone and the black background of the call took over the screen. Now, in a move that will be especially useful for people speaking over the speaker, the call part will take up a small percentage of the screen and you’ll see more space on your iPhone.
Apple’s Map app gets two new useful features this year. Bike directions, which have been a staple of Google Maps for years, are finally getting their due with Apple, even though in the beta, it didn’t work for my area. Secondly, Apple offers “Guides” to cities such as New York, San Francisco and London with suggestions on what to do while visiting, after the pandemic of course. At first there will be only a handful, but in the coming months they will be rolled out in more cities.
The personal assistant, which debuted in 2011, it’s smarter this year, according to Apple, which specifically states that Siri has “over 20 times more facts than just three years ago.” In my tests, he was, in fact, more talkative and smarter. Siri still has that annoying tendency to answer a question by saying “Here’s what I found on the web” instead of answering you, but this time it happened less often.
Start your car with iOS
This is probably the most intriguing new feature of all, the ability to use your iPhone to open your car and crank the engine. But even if it’s part of iOS14, don’t get hoped for. The feature works with only one manufacturer, BMW, on a range of models produced after July 2020. But it’s definitely worth the wait.
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