Apple kicked off this year's WWDC with their usual keynote, which giving us our first look at iOS 11. The new version is coming along with some big changes that developers and users are sure to love.
iOS 11's developer beta is available today and the public release is coming this fall, presumably along with the next iPhone.
Here are some of the biggest changes to expect when you finally get your hands on it.
A new Siri
Siri used to sound great, but Google Assistant has been leading the pack in voice quality for a while. Siri is back on top with all new male and female voices that sound more natural than ever.
Siri is also upping the competition with Google Assistant by being more contextually aware. It's going to use on-device learning to link interests and device use between apps to predict "what you want next." For example, if you do a Google search for a particular topic that has news relevance it will show up in your news app as a suggested topic when next opened.
SEE: Apple's first employee: The remarkable odyssey of Bill Fernandez (TechRepublic)
Siri's interface is also changing. It can now provide multiple results for one search that you can scroll through, other relevant results you may be interested in, and can even translate phrases on the fly.
Apple continues to add new features to its Messaging app and to the iMessage platform. One feature everyone's sure to love is cross-platform iMessage syncing. Messages sent and received on your phone and macOS device will now be synced using iCloud, which means they'll be stored online and not take up a bunch of local storage.
iOS 11 is also bringing Apple Pay to messaging for peer-to-peer cash transfers. It might not replace Venmo or PayPal anytime soon though: It's only for those with Apple Pay accounts and the money gets added to your Apple Pay balance. You'll have to manually transfer it to your bank after receiving it.
A total App Store redesign
The App Store has completely changed. Gone is the cluttered home page you see on opening the app; in its place is the Today tab: a series of scrollable cards that have apps of the day, games of the day, stories, how-tos, and reviews. It's going to be great for deep divers, but if you want to simply surf around looking at a bunch of stuff on one screen you may be left wanting.
SEE: Gallery: A decade of iOS changes from 1.0 to 10.2 (TechRepublic)
In place of the old homepage are two new subcategories: Apps and Games. Those two pages will be the closest to the old version of the homepage you can find, but they'll still look vastly different from what you see now.
Individual app pages are redesigned too, but for the better: relevant reviews stand out, awards are clearly featured, and you're getting a bunch more info in an easier to read fashion.
A better Control Center
Swiping up from the bottom of your screen has always opened the Control Center, and it will continue to do so. You'll be getting a bunch more information, though. All the controls that used to be split between two Control Center pages are now merged into one. They're more compact, which might seem like a difficulty increase at first, but not when you get to using it.
All of the buttons, switches, and sliders on the Control Center are now 3D Touch sensitive. A hard press will bring up a more in-depth look at an individual element, giving you more options or a more finely-tunable control.
- 5 data security and privacy tips for iOS (TechRepublic)
- WWDC 2017: Apple leaks details of file manager app iOS 11 (ZDNET)
- 5+ features in iOS 10.3 that business users should be excited about (TechRepublic)
- Apple selling outdated 32-bit iOS apps that will soon stop working (ZDNET)
- New Siri speaker expected as Apple takes on Amazon's Alexa (CBS News)
Brandon Vigliarolo has nothing to disclose. He does not hold investments in the technology companies he covers.
Brandon writes about apps and software for TechRepublic. He's an award-winning feature writer who previously worked as an IT professional and served as an MP in the US Army.