The big day of Apple at the software level comes with each developer conference and WWDC 2020 has been able to be celebrated like other events in a virtual way and without an audience. And once again it has been the stage to present the new version of its operating system for mobile devices: iOS 14.
An update that starts from a striking redesign of the home screen, which Apple has maintained with little change for years. Siri also benefits from this change and we will see that many functions come that for years users have been able to ask for existing in other systems such as picture in picture or widgets.
The home screen: less iOS than ever
Craig Federighi has started with one of the highlights: the iOS home screen can be customized and evolves from a performance that it maintained from the beginning (despite aesthetic changes). In iOS 14 the apps can be grouped into different pages with the App Library, so that the user can have easier and more comfortable access, similar to how some layers of Android allow. The apps are organized into categories and can be easily hidden if you are interested.
In the new system, any app can be converted into a widget. In this way, the apps transformed into widget will occupy more space than an icon, for example 2×1, 1×2 or 2×2 (and on the iPad up to 3×3), thus showing more information without having to open it. Examples of these are the Weather app with the forecast or tweets in the Twitter app.
In this way, the widgets leave the Today tab where up to iOS 13 could have been shown and can stay on any page. The widget information will be equally dynamic and the idea is to have a screen that shows current information and adapted according to the time of day and use, as is the case with the Apple Watch.
Another change related to both the interface and the interaction is the arrival of the picture in picture or image within image. In this way, users can keep playing a video without interruption if at the same time they want to use another app on the device.
Another new system function related to the App Store is App Clips. With it, it is easy to find and obtain apps that the user may need depending on the location and context, such as the paid app for a parking lot or a cafeteria.
It works with NFC, so all you have to do is move your iPhone closer to a tag that will be identified by an indicative symbol. At that moment, the user receives a card very similar to the one that already appears when we go to download an app in the App Store to be able to download it in one tap.
Some of these improvements will also be seen in the new version of iPadOS, such as the resizing of the call notification. As with Siri, this notification is compact and does not fill the entire screen.
New functions for own apps
As for own apps, Messages usually receives quite a few news and this year it has also had its dose. Of course, there are new animations and Memojis with added gestures and accessories, among which is the mask.
Although in terms of the functions of the app itself, what stands out is that conversations can be anchored (as a pin, to access them quickly), being able to silence the notifications that interest you.
Another own app that usually receives improvements is Maps. Apple’s navigation app adds bicycle routes and data on electric car charging points, although for the time being the improved maps will reach Canada, Ireland and the United Kingdom.
Siri compacts and goes international
Siri also has the time to update on an aesthetic level, so that a full-screen interface does not open when users call it, but appears at the bottom of the screen to execute whatever command. They haven’t put much emphasis on whether or not the virtual assistant has gotten smarter overall, but they did on major updates.
One of them is the translation app, with which they promise that the assistant will help translate not only words, but complete expressions. At the moment it will be available in 11 languages, seeking to serve to hold conversations by pulling voice recognition and automatically detecting what language we speak to you. By doing this, Siri will also be able to record and send audio messages.
CarPlay: iPhone as a key
Talking about car software, the main novelty is CarKey, a system that allows the iPhone to be used as a key to unlock the car. The function requires the U1 chip in the smartphone, and can also invite other users to use the key and store it in Wallet.
The first car to support this feature will be a BMW that we will know more about next year, when it will be launched on the market. In addition, the user can now change the CarPlay wallpaper.
The tablet version of the operating system inherits many of the novelties that we have seen in iOS 14. App Library, widgets, the news of Messages, Maps and the redesign and translation of Siri also come to the iPad, looking for that more personalized home screen and practical.
In addition, apps like Photos undergo small redesigns, although something really striking is that the search tool takes the Spotlight genes in macOS, so that we can do it without having to leave the active app. As the current one, it will allow us to find contacts, websites, documents, etc.
The Apple Pencil has also received its ration of news, among which Scribble stands out. With this app you can write freehand in any text field and select the handwritten text, being able to copy and paste it.