APPLE HAS, as expected, taken the wraps off of its upcoming iOS 11 operating system during its WWDC keynote.
First on the agenda was Siri, which has been given a much-needed do-over likely ahead of the launch of the firm's Amazon Echo competitor.
Not only has Apple given the digital assistant new 'natural and expressive' male and female voices, but Siri has also been upgraded to use 'on-device learning' to become more contextual. This means that if somebody messages to ask where you are, for example, Siri is now clever enough to serve up your location.
Native translation is also coming to Siri in iOS 11, which will support English to Chinese, French, German, Italian and Spanish at launch.
Apple Pay has been upgraded to support peer-to-peer (P2P) payments through a new iMessage app, with transactions authenticated using Touch ID. Oddly, the money will be transferred to something called an 'Apple Pay Cash Card,' and the firm didn't say if that can then be transferred to your own bank account.
Apple has been keen to talk up improvements to its Photos app, including a new feature that's similar to Boomerang's loop feature and added HEVC and HEIF compression. The Messages app has also been given a lick of paint, with Apple adding cross-device syncing and a redesigned app drawer.
Other incoming changes in iOS 11 include a revamped Control Center that packs all of the features into a single pane, reworked Lock Screen Notifications, support for speakers in HomeKit and a 'Do Not Disturb While Driving' app, that will hide notifications if you're behind the wheel.
While Apple failed to cough on the fact that support for 32-bit apps has been canned, it did show off a redesigned version of the App Store. The new-look app, which features an Apple Music-esque design, brings a new 'Today' tab, a new Games tab and better signage for in-app purchases.
Taking aim squarely at the 5,000+ developers in attendence, Apple also showed off ARKit - tool that will let devs build augmented reality (AR)-based apps. Federighi says that, given the number of iPhones and iPads in the wild, it will be "overnight, become the largest AR platform in the world".
iOS 11 is available to developers from today, and Apple's public beta programme will launch later this month. It will be available to all (with an iPhone 5S or newer) later in the year following the launch of the iPhone 8. µ
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