Apple unveils iOS 14

Gelo Gonzales
Apple unveils iOS 14
iOS 14 turns iPhones into digital car keys, offers new Translate app, and expands 'Find My' feature for third-party devices

MANILA, Philippines – Apple on Tuesday, June 23, Philippine time, showed off the newest version of its iPhone operating system, iOS 14.

Apple touts the new OS as carrying the “biggest updated ever to Home Screen pages,” as it redesigns its widgets, along with updates to its App Library, Messages, and App Store. 

The new widgets will be displaying “timely information” that can be viewed at a glance such as Apple Watch information, the music that’s playing, or photos of friends. (READ: New chips to bring Mac computers into iPhone ecosystem)

The App Library organizes a user’s apps in one “easy-to-navigate” view, and will suggest apps to the users depending on the moment, and depending on user habits, shown below:

Image from Apple

Incoming FaceTime, phone calls, and Siri interactions will also feature a more compact design that allows users to continue to do what they are doing while taking a call or asking Siri for help.

Picture-in-picture support will now allow users to watch videos or use FaceTime while using another app, as shown here:

Image from Apple

The new App Clips, shown below, are meant to be an easier way to interface with products or businesses such as “renting a scooter, purchasing a coffee, or filling a parking meter” to name a few. They can be used by scanning a new App Clip code, through NFC tags and QR codes, or links shared in Messages or Safari. The App Clips are being designed to make for quicker interactions as opposed to opening the full app.  

Image from Apple

On Messages, iOS 14 now allows users to pin conversations to the top of their messages list, and will now support mentions and replies to specific messages. Conversations can now have a group photo using an image of emoji. New Memoji options – emojis that users can create using their own expressions – include new hairstyles, head gear, and even face masks. 

Maps will, for the first time, include cycling directions that will consider elevation, street traffic, and stairs locations. For electric vehicles, charging stops will now be displayed along with information on charger types. 

Likely not exclusive to iOS 14, App Store product pages will also be including “summaries of developers’ self-reported privacy practices” later this year, shown here:

Image from Apple

Users also gain the option to share approximate location as opposed to specific location when granting apps location access, and more transparency regarding an app’s use of the mic and camera. 

Other new features:

1) New Translate app that translates voice and text among 11 different languages. 

2) Siri can now send audio messages.

3) AirPods can now seamlessly switch between Apple devices. AirPods Pro gain spatial audio for added immersion. 

4) iPhones or Apple Watches can now be used as digital car keys that let users unlock and start their cars. The keys can be shared using Messages, disabled through iCloud if a device is lost, and works through NFC. A future version will allow users to “unlock future car models without removing their iPhone from their pocket or bag” using “Ultra Wideband” technology, and will become available next year.

 5) The “Find My” feature will add support for third-party products and accessories. 

  6) New accessibility features such as “Headphone Accommodations,” which amplifies soft sounds and tunes audio for clearer listening; sign language detection in Group FaceTime, which makes the person doing the sign language more prominent in the video call; and improvements for VoiceOver, a screen reader app for the blind community. 

The iOS 14 developer preview is now available to Apple Developer Program members at developer.apple.com, while the public beta starts next month via beta. Some features are also region-dependent. – Rappler.com

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Gelo Gonzales

Gelo Gonzales is Rappler’s technology editor. He covers consumer electronics, social media, emerging tech, and video games.