Just like it does every year, Apple is expected to launch its next major iOS update at its World Wide Developers Conference event, which will be held in San Jose in June. iOS 11 is expected to be a major step up from previous iterations of the operating system since it will mark the 10th anniversary of the iPhone and therefore, is expected to bring software updates at par with the new hardware such as iPhone 8. According to previous rumors, the device will have an edge-to-edge display, a front camera with depth measurement functionality and support wireless charging.
2017 also marks 10 years of iOS, apart from 10 years of iPhones (The platform launched in 2007 was called iPhone OS 1.0 back then.) This milestone could be another reason that Apple could put out a new update, bringing major changes to the existing version of the operating system.
Here are five expected features of iOS 11:
Artificial Intelligence enabled Siri: Artificial intelligence (AI) enabled voice assistants seem to be the new fad in the smartphone industry. While Google’s Assistant and Amazon’s Alexa have made their way not just to smartphones, but even to smart devices, HTC has come out with its own Sense Companion and Samsung is developing Bixby.
All these voice assistants are beating Apple’s Siri at its own game. While Siri was the first intelligent voice assistant from a major smartphone maker, it seems like it has lost its first-mover advantage to newer voice assistants since they offer much more functionality. Siri simply answers questions based on associated Google searches, conducts conversation based on pre-recorded responses and performs simple tasks such as setting reminders. But voice assistants such as the Google Assistant do much more, including letting the user book tickets and pay using his/her voice. They also evolve continuously with usage.
To keep in step with others in the industry, Apple is expected to come out with an improved version of Siri after its acquisition of Australian start-up Turi in August 2016. Turi lets developers create apps with machine learning and AI capabilities.
Enhanced 3D Touch: Apple introduced its 3D Touch feature in the iPhone 7. The feature makes use of the device’s pressure-sensitive display to respond to user inputs. In iPhone 8, the technology is expected to be employed throughout the body of the device, replacing physical buttons with pressure-sensitive ones embedded inside rather than protruding on the outside of the device. iOS 11 is expected to have improved software to accommodate this functionality and even extend the functionality to apps.
Depth-sensing camera and Kinect-like functionality: The iPhone 8 is expected to be an augmented reality intensive device. The device is expected to come with a 3D-sensing front camera that will have a depth sensing functionality for games and facial recognition, similar to Microsoft’s Xbox 360’s Kinect functionality. iOS 11 is also expected to have enhanced gaming software that utilizes the camera, CPU and GPU in order to support this feature.
No 32-Bit support: iOS 11 could end support for 32-bit iPhones as it is expected to stop the support for 32-bit applications. Simply put, with iOS 11, Apple might stop software support for iPhone 5 and lower variants.
Improved Maps: Apple is planning to use drones and indoor navigation software to improve its Maps functionality and catch up with Google Maps, Bloomberg Technology reported in December. The new feature could include inside views of buildings and improvements to car navigation and is expected to be included in iOS 11.
Video Sharing App: iOS 11 could introduce a Snapchat-like video sharing app, according to a Bloomberg report from August last year. The feature would be part of Apple’s endeavor to integrate social networking applications within iOS, in response to the success of similar features on social networking apps such as Facebook, Snapchat and Instagram.