Apple has announced that it is going to make drastic changes on the iPhone home screen as part of its update this year, since the product’s release in 2007.
The company revealed this during the widely publicized virtual conference for developers that took place last evening.
The new home screen will allow users to position widgets that sit between typical grid where apps are. The widgets will display information obtained from these apps; for example the calendar or the weather. It will keep updating throughout the day and can be set to different sizes.
The new software will also allow users to hide apps and access a new screen which can be used to organize or search for software. This feature will also be available on the iPad.
Apple also revealed that the iOS 14 software will for the first time allow users to set up their default email addresses not made by Apple. This followed a series of complaints from developers who cited anticompetitive behavior from the company.
The new software also contains various travel-based tools which will probably gain wider usage once the lockdowns and restrictions of movement imposed due to the Covid-19 pandemic are lifted. There is also a new translation app which can work offline and some updates to Apple maps including bicycle routes in some cities and travel guides.
Apple collaborated with BMW AG to develop a wireless car key that will be able to unlock new vehicles using the iPhone, and also integrated with electric cars from BMW and Ford Motor Company.
The iPhone comes with a series of features that will also be interesting if you are at home. The iPhone will support picture-in-picture mode to enable you browse other apps and watch videos at the same time. This feature is already available on the iPad.
The company’s voice activated digital assistant, Siri, will no longer take up the entire screen when prompted and users will have the option to record audio messages and dictate text messages without transmitting their voice to the apple servers. The messages app is also getting a revamp of its group threads and animated emojis.
The iPhone will also have an additional tool called clips, which will offer miniature software that works without a download. This can be accessed via Apple Maps app, wireless tags, websites or text message. They can be used for processing payment at a parking meter.
The iPad will also get some enhancements on designs that make use of larger screens. Apps such as Photos, music, notes, calendar and Files will get a Mac-like sidebar and toolbar. The iPad also has a redesigned search interface.
The iPhone widgets feature has been requested by many users over the years especially since Google has always had it on Android phones. Apple’s head of software engineering Craig Federigi said the company designed the widgets based on the information screens on the Apple watch. Some of the widgets made by Apple allow users to play podcasts, read news, view their daily fitness activity and read News.