Yesterday, Apple held this year’s WWDC keynote and we were introduced to some of their new toys. This includes their new OS platform iOS 11. The great thing about phone today as opposed to a decade ago is that every year we get a system update that gives us new and improved functionality to play with. It’s almost like getting a new phone without the cost.

iOS 11 got a fairly big overhaul on all products. Between new functions on your iPhone to developers being able to do a lot more in game development and picture editing. Here’s the down low on what’s new with iOS 11.

Siri

Siri has gotten an upgrade. It now sounds a bit more natural and can change the tone of its speech based on the context of what is being said. It can also translate now for you, which can come in handy when you’re on holidays and need directions somewhere or are ordering food. They also have a new concept they seem to be excited about called ‘Machine Learning’. This means that Siri can make more proactive suggestions and provide information based on what you are doing on your iPhone and iPad.

Apple Pay

Apple Pay is still being rolled out in Ireland and if your bank doesn’t support it, don’t forget to try out Boon. But, for those of you who have the real deal, it’s gotten a pretty cool upgrade. Nothing too fancy, but it is useful. Let’s say you’re out for dinner with friends and ye are splitting the bill three ways. It’s always awkward, someone doesn’t have the right cash or gets left short a few quid. With the messages app, you can now send and receive money on Apple Pay. You can then choose to keep it on your Apple Pay ‘card’, or transfer it straight to your bank account. Right now this isn’t a big deal for Ireland, but more banks are now starting to use Apple Pay and in the next year or two we will be using it a lot more. It does seem to offer the same convenience of Lydia, but of course, Apple would be a heavy hitter here.

iPhone

Rather disappointing on the iPhone front when it comes to iOS upgrades. But given the fact that it’s the ten year anniversary of the phone this year, we might see more changes towards the end of the summer.

The camera app has gotten a slight improvement. There are better editing options and settings that offer better pictures in low light conditions. Maps got a new upgrade too, offering maps of airports and shopping centres. Of course these will be limited at the start but they will be rolling out new maps every month for the next few months.

The Control Centre has also gotten an upgrade. It’s a bit less cluttered and relies a bit more on 3D touch to bring up more options.

iPad

iOS 11 on iPad has gotten far more upgrades than on the iPhone given the fact that the new iPad Pros that were announced along with it. It now has a dock, similar to on your Mac. It allows for better multitasking with split screening. And you can now drag and drop, which makes adding pictures and attachments to emails easier. Searching for notes has been made easier too. It now recognises notes you have written with the Apple Pencil in your own handwriting, even if it’s poor, which is pretty impressive. Apple is calling this ‘Deep Learning’ to recognise your handwriting.

iOS 11 comes to the world of AR and VR

As Apple are throwing their hat into the AR and VR ring, they have shown off some very impressive tools for developers. One of these is an app called AR Kit, which Apple are calling ‘The largest AR platform in the world’. They did a demo of how developers can make different scenarios and it was flawless. Of course, this was a demo they were probably working on for awhile. I’m sure in the real world it won’t be as smooth until you’ve caught a real grasp of it.

They are also dipping their toes into VR. Rather than making their own VR headset, they are more set on developing VR support. Because why not? If Samsung users have to use Apple software to get the best out of their headset, I reckon that’s definitely a win for Apple. They showed us a demo of Darth Vader on Mustafar and a couple of Tie Fighters overhead. Thanks to their new graphics card which they will be selling to developers, it looked sleek, lag free and awesome.

Mac

Their newest iOS system you’ll be getting on their Mac’s is High Sierra, which Apple SVP Craig Federighi described as ‘Fully baked’. Heh heh. It’s not a major update. They said they spent the year trying to perfect your Mac OS, so nothing to get too excited about. It includes a better filing system, better photo editing, and updates to Safari. The Safari updates ‘Intelligent tracking prevention’ which will cut back on ad trackers. And on the new Mac’s their stronger updated graphics card will support your VR development and support for the Unity and Unread gaming engines. For gaming developers out there, Apple seems to be the way to go moving forward.

Apple TV

On the tvOS side of things there isn’t anything major. The main talking point is that Amazon Prime is now coming to Apple TV, but Tim Cook has promised more updates on tvOS later this year.

Apple Watch

And last but not least, watchOS4 is here, but there is only so much you can do with a smart watch. They bragged about how it’s the world’s number one selling watch and is the highest in customer satisfaction. Siri now uses machine learning to customise the content shown in real time such as traffic, meetings, news and smart home controls. Toy Story is also coming to Apple Watch, with the option of having Woody and Buzz as a watch face.

It has some fitness-focused updates which encourage the user to exercise in order to achieve monthly challenges. You can also use NFC to tap your watch on gym equipment, presumably a treadmill, to keep track of how fast you’re going and how many calories are burned. I reckon it’ll be awhile before Irish gyms bring in the required equipment to even use this feature. My advice? if you’re looking for an Apple Watch, maybe stick to the Apple Watch 3 for now.

So what do we think of iOS11? Some big updates and some small updates. For the big Macheads out there we have seen some big developments. If you’re in the gaming industry I would be rather excited. For the everyday user on an iPad, we have some very nice updates. If you were looking forward to some major updates on your iPhone, you may be disappointed. But don’t be surprised if we don’t see some updates when the new iPhone range is unveiled in a few months.