Every year Apple releases a new version of its iPhone operating system iOS – this morning in Cupertino California the company announced a raft of new features and changes coming later this year through iOS 14.
Announced at the company’s annual Worldwide Developers Conference, held online for the first time due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the latest version of iOS features several radical changes to the look of the screen we all spend hours looking at and using.
The biggest change, and one that is many years behind market competitor Android, is the introduction of Widgets.
A Widget is not just a link into an app, it’s a real-time view of data from within the app, visible without opening the app itself.
This allows you to see important and useful information at a glance, rather than having to open an app to see it. For example weather: A simple icon and number to represent the current weather where you are.
Or News – a box on your home screen displaying the latest news headlines, without ever opening an app. This could be stock prices, music, emails, almost anything, and it represents a huge change in the iPhone operating system – long overdue.
Additionally, Apple will allow for “Picture in Picture” on the iPhone. This means you can be watching a video, perhaps on YouTube, or Facebook, and choose to show it in a separate window, which sits over the top of all the other apps you are using. Switch between apps at a pinch, compose an email, whatever you are doing, while still watching video.
And, if you’re a neat-freak those many home screens can be cleaned up with ease – by hiding them. This is not deleting apps, it’s simply hiding the pages of apps you see.
To find your apps, you simply open the new App Library, which is both a list of all your apps, and also a new way to view your apps. Not folders you create, but folders created by iOS to make finding your favourite and most used apps easier.
These are fundamental changes to the iPhone operating system which will take a few people by surprise when they install later this year.
New versions of iOS normally become available at the same time as the newest flagship iPhone. This year’s iPhone 12 should be announced in September, and available shortly after, however it’s not yet known what the impact of the COVID-19 Pandemic will be on Apple’s manufacturing and supply chain for that device.