iOS 11 was the biggest highlight of the announcements Apple made at WWDC 2017, and will bring several new features to iPhones and iPads when it releases this fall. Of course, there were announcements related to tvOS 11, watchOS 4, and macOS High Sierra 10.13, as well as new hardware in the form of the new iPad Pro tablets, the refreshed MacBook and iMac line, the all-new iMac Pro, and the HomePod smart speaker. But it was iOS 11 that stole the show, with announcements related to Siri, redesigned Control Centre, and several other features.
iOS 11 particularly brings many changes, including Siri upgrades. Siri gets the ability to translate speech, the voice gets more neutral for both genders, the interface becomes more visual, and a whole lot more. Additionally, iOS 11 also brings a ‘Do Not Disturb While Driving’ feature, and also introduces indoor mapping and other improvements to Apple Maps as well. Here's an in-depth look at some of the features iOS 11 will bring to iPhones and iPads.
Starting with Siri, iOS 11 brings a new voice for both genders in order to make it sound more neutral. Siri will also be doing something Apple likes to call ‘on-device learning’. This allows Siri to send you predictive notifications, and give you follow-up questions based on what you asked right now, with increased context sensitivity. Siri will learn all of this based on what you search and browse on your iPhone. The company claims that this learning is end-to-end encrypted, and remains solely to take advantage on your synced devices. The on-device learning that evolves Siri into a more personal assistant can be accessed on all Apple devices that are synced by you.
Siri on iOS 11 also gets a new visual interface that is more pleasing to the eye. One big addition is speech translation and you can now tell Siri something in English and ask it to translate it in one of the supported languages. Siri will then speak the sentence in the specified language instantly. This is a very handy feature especially when travelling to countries that don’t speak your native language. For now, translation will be available from English to Chinese, French, Italian, and Spanish, and more will added in due course of time. Apple opens up Siri even more for developers to give them more freedom and tools like doing task management and more with iOS 11. The final release will be rolled out in September when the new iPhone models are launched.
Apart from Siri improvements, iOS 11 also brings a nifty feature called ‘Do Not Disturb While Driving’. What this does is that it does not give you any notifications, and keeps your screen blank till the time you’re driving. It even sends automated text replies to senders alerting them that you are driving. You can unblock few users from this feature and get notifications from them if you prefer. Apple determines you’re driving using a Bluetooth connection or Wi-Fi Doppler, and automatically activates this feature. However, you can exit this mode if you want to at any time you prefer.
Apple Maps is also getting brand new features with iOS 11. This includes adding speed limits, lane guidance, and even indoor mapping. Indoor mapping will essentially show you the internal trajectory of a public space, and Apple is first introducing it to malls and airports in specific cities. Malls will be updated in around eight cities including Chicago, Hong Kong, New York, and Tokyo. Airports will be updated at around 30 cities including Chicago, Hong Kong, New York, Tokyo, Boston, London, Los Angeles, Philadelphia, San Francisco, San Jose, and Washington DC.
We discussed everything Apple announced at WWDC 2017 on Orbital, our weekly technology podcast. You can subscribe to it via Apple Podcasts or RSS or just listen to this episode by hitting the play button below.