- Apple announced iOS 13, the next major update to the iPhone operating system, at its WWDC keynote on Monday.
- iOS 13 is packed with features, and they collectively say a lot about the future direction of the iPhone.
- Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.
Apple introduced iOS 13 to the world on Monday.
But now that the iPad officially has its own operating system, iOS truly belongs to the iPhone now.
So, what does iOS 13 say about the future of the iPhone?
First, let’s break down everything that’s new and important coming in iOS 13. Then we’ll explain what it all means.
First, Dark Mode is coming.
Dark Mode isn’t very noticeable from the home screen, but it’s going to make a huge difference in all of your Apple apps.
Music, Reminders, Mail, Photos, and more can all be affected by Apple’s system-wide Dark Mode, which will make it easier to read your phone at night.
Notably, Apple also added Dark Mode tools for developers so it’s easy to implement the new mode in almost any app that comes along.
Apple is giving you more control over your Portrait-mode photos.
In iOS 13, you’ll be able to adjust the portrait lighting effects at a more granular level, and you can also add effects to Portrait-mode photos, like making it fully black and white with a press of a button.
Apple updated the Photos app.
The new Photos app shows moments, instead of a grid of every photo you took.
Apple also tweaked the photo-editing tools to look simpler, and will now let you use tools and effects on videos in the same way you would on photos.
Apple’s HomeKit software can now securely store footage from your home-security cameras — for free.
As long as you have an iCloud account, Apple will store the last 10 days of footage from your home-security cameras in iCloud, for free, and it won’t count against your plan. Apple’s system is end-to-end encrypted.
All of these features are good reasons for people to use Apple’s Home software, if they aren’t already.
Apple Maps is getting a big update — it’s getting much closer to Google Maps in terms of features and accuracy.
It wasn’t too long ago that people were mocking Apple for its oftentimes inaccurate Maps application, which replaced Google Maps as the default mapping app in iOS back in 2012.
Seven years later, it’s a completely different story.
Apple Maps is about to get way more detailed in each city across the US in 2019, and eventually the world. A new Look Around mode is similar to Google’s Street View, where you can move down streets and look around in a 360-degree view. Also like Google Maps, you’ll be able to add your favourites and create collections of places that you can share with friends.
Siri is getting a new voice, and the Shortcuts app will now be built-in.
Siri Shortcuts was one of the big new features in iOS 12, but not many people used it. I write about technology for a living, but I had no real desire or motivation to even try Siri Shortcuts.
In iOS 13, Siri Shortcuts will be baked into the operating system, and Siri – as well as Shortcuts – will be smarter and more conversational, so it can pull up suggestions based on your past actions.
Siri is also helping improve Apple’s two personal-audio devices: HomePod and AirPods.
In iOS 13, AirPods are getting the ability to have Siri read your incoming messages to you. And two pairs of AirPods can now connect to the same iPhone, so you can watch movies or play games with a partner.
If you’re into making cartoon avatars of yourself, Apple’s Memojis are catching up to Bitmoji.
Apple is making its fully customisable Memojis even more stylish and varied, with options to add new headwear, piercings, and makeup. Any Memoji you make also become their own sticker packs, which live in your keyboard at the ready for when you need to send a personalised reaction of yourself.
Snapchat-owned Bitmoji already has many of these features and customisations, but Apple’s toons are catching up: One cool new feature for Memoji is that iPhone users can control how their friends see them, so you can have your photo be a Memoji when they contact you.
The iPhone is finally getting built-in “swipe to type.”
Lots of people like iPhone keyboards that allow you to swipe to type, and that’s exactly what Apple’s new QuickPath Typing can do. Apple has on-device machine learning that recognises the path you’re drawing and converts it all for you. Hopefully this makes one-handed typing easier.
The Reminders app, Apple’s best application, is being completely overhauled.
Making Reminders is easier and more robust now. Just write your reminder like you normally would, but you can now add dates, times, locations, photos, check lists, and flags.
Siri is also proactive, and it can suggest reminders for you based on what you’re doing. So if someone messages you to make plans, Siri can automatically create a reminder for you.
Apple redesigned CarPlay, the iPhone-in-the-car experience.
The CarPlay dashboard has now been simplified, and Apple updated the music and calendar apps to be easier to see and use.
Continuing the tradition set by last year’s iOS 12, iPhone owners are about to get a big performance upgrade in iOS 13.
Apple says Face ID unlocking will be 30% faster, app downloads will be 50% smaller, and app updates will be 60% smaller in iOS 13. Apps will also launch up to two times faster than before, thanks to an improved animation.
The Mail app is getting rich formatting options, so you can write professional-looking emails from your phone.
This feature was a long time coming. Finally, the Mail app will let you alter the font style, size, colour, and alignment of your text, with the ability to indent and add bulleted and numbered lists.
Apple’s new Voice Control functionality will let you control your entire iPhone using only your voice.
This is an Accessibility setting Apple has been working on for a long time, but basically voice control is now system-wide, and extremely comprehensive. You can navigate and type using voice commands and gestures, since everything on the screen will have numbers and names to allow for easier control.
So, what does it mean?
Apple has been emphasising “services” in 2019 – it held an event in March devoted entirely to new services for news, gaming, and TV – and that’s what iOS 13 is all about: keeping you locked into the Apple ecosystem.
The company improved many of its popular first-party apps like Maps, Reminders, Notes, and Mail, which are truly significant updates. But in iOS 13, Apple is really focusing on ways that the iPhone can improve other devices.
The new HomeKit software gives you more reason to buy a home-security camera, since footage can be stored in iCloud for free. The new CarPlay software will greatly improve your car experience. The iPhone now hands off to HomePod, and lets two pairs of AirPods work together so people can play games or watch movies on the same iPhone. The new Reminders app pays attention to your activities to proactively help you stay on top of your to-dos. The new Maps app, and the ability to easily share collections of places with friends, looks like a great reason to try the software again. Everything is designed to keep you in iPhone World, or bring you back if you’ve left.
So, the iPhone hardware may change in the coming years – it might have three rear cameras this year, for instance – but Apple’s software will continue to connect the iPhone to every other iDevice, and even other products outside of Apple’s ecosystem. The more things the iPhone can connect to, the better chance it has to compete against phones that are getting better and better every year.
You can read the full list of iOS 13 features on Apple’s website.
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