iOS 14 announced with Home Screen widgets, App Clips and redesigned Siri View

by Johnson Daniel

Apple has introduced the iOS 14 introducing the biggest update ever to Home Screen pages with beautifully redesigned widgets and the App Library, a new way to tap into the App Store with App Clips, powerful updates to Messages, and more at its WWDC Special Event Keynote.

Apple is reimagining the iPhone experience with these newly added features that come with the iOS 14. From a blog post, we could discover that the new widgets present timely information at a glance and can be pinned in different sizes on any Home Screen page. Users can create a Smart Stack of widgets, which uses on-device intelligence to surface the right widget based on time, location, and activity.

Home Screen pages can display widgets that are customized for work, travel, sports, entertainment, and other areas of interest. At the end of the Home Screen pages is the App Library, a new space that automatically organizes all of a user’s apps into one simple, easy-to-navigate view, and intelligently surfaces apps that may be helpful at the moment. Users can choose how many Home Screen pages to display and easily hide pages for quick access to the App Library.Apple ios14 app library screen 06222020 inline.jpg.large

“iOS 14 transforms the most iconic elements of the iPhone experience, starting with the biggest update we’ve ever made to the Home Screen,” said Craig Federighi, Apple’s senior vice president of Software Engineering. “With beautifully redesigned widgets on the Home Screen, the App Library that automatically organizes all of your apps, and App Clips that are fast and easy to discover, iPhone becomes even more powerful and easier to use.”

Incoming FaceTime and phone calls and Siri interactions take on an all-new compact design that enables users to stay in the context of what they are doing. With Picture-in-Picture support, iPhone users can now watch a video or make a FaceTime call while using another app.

Messages have been highly improved in the iOS 14 version as you can now pin conversations to the top of their messages list, easily keep up with lively group threads through mentions and inline replies, and further customize conversations by setting a group photo using an image or emoji. New Memoji options in Messages are even more inclusive and diverse with additional hairstyles, headwear, face coverings, and more.

Another added feature is a new way to discover and use apps with App Clips. App Clips are associated with a particular product or business and load within seconds to complete a specific task, such as renting a scooter, purchasing a coffee, or filling a parking meter.

They can be easily discovered and accessed by scanning a new Apple-designed App Clip code, or through NFC tags and QR codes, or shared in Messages or from Safari, all with the security and privacy expected from apps. Other features that can be seen in the iOS 14 are;

  • Enhanced privacy features for more transparency and control.
  • Greener ways to explore and new guides in Maps.
  • Translate is designed to be the best and easiest app for translating conversations, offering a quick and natural translation of voice and text among 11 different languages. On-device mode allows users to experience the features of the app offline for private voice and text translation.
  • Siri expands its knowledge, helps find answers from across the internet, and can now send audio messages. Keyboard dictation runs on the device when dictating messages, notes, email, and more.
  • The Home app makes smart home control even easier with new automation suggestions and expanded controls in Control Center for quicker access to accessories and scenes. Adaptive Lighting for compatible HomeKit-enabled lights automatically adjusts the colour temperature throughout the day, and with on-device Face Recognition, compatible video doorbells and cameras can identify friends and family. The Home app and HomeKit are built to be private and secure, so all information about a user’s home accessories is end-to-end encrypted.
  • AirPods gain the ability to seamlessly switch between Apple devices with automatic device switching. Spatial audio with dynamic head tracking brings a theatre-like experience to AirPods Pro. By applying directional audio filters, and subtly adjusting the frequencies each ear receives, sounds can be placed virtually anywhere in a space to provide an immersive listening experience.
  • Digital car keys give users a secure way to use iPhone or Apple Watch to unlock and start their car. Digital car keys can be easily shared using Messages or disabled through iCloud if a device is lost, and are available starting this year through NFC. Apple also unveiled the next generation of digital car keys based on Ultra-Wideband technology for spatial awareness delivered through the U1 chip, which will allow users to unlock future car models without removing their iPhone from their pocket or bag and will become available next year.
  • Find My will add support for finding third-party products and accessories with the new Find My network accessory program. This will allow customers to use the Find My app to locate other important items in their lives, in addition to their Apple devices. User privacy remains central to the Find My network with end-to-end encryption built-in. A draft specification is available for accessory makers and product manufacturers starting today.
  • Safari offers a Privacy Report so users can easily see which cross-site trackers have been blocked, secure password monitoring to help users detect saved passwords that may have been involved in a data breach, and built-in translation for entire webpages.
  • Health has all-new experiences to manage sleep, better understand audio levels that may affect hearing health, and a new Health Checklist — a centralized place to manage health and safety features — includes Emergency SOS, Medical ID, ECG, Fall Detection, and more. Health also adds support for new data types for mobility, Health Records, symptoms, and ECG.
  • The Weather app and widget keep users up to date on severe weather events and a new next-hour precipitation chart shows minute-by-minute precipitation when rain is in the forecast.
  • Accessibility features include Headphone Accommodations, which amplifies soft sounds and tunes audio to help music, movies, phone calls, and podcasts sound crisper and clearer, and sign language detection in Group FaceTime, which makes the person signing more prominent in a video call. VoiceOver, the industry’s leading screen reader for the blind community, now automatically recognizes what is displayed visually onscreen so more apps and web experiences are accessible to more people.

The developer preview of iOS 14 is available to Apple Developer Program members at developer.apple.com starting today, and a public beta will be available to iOS users next month at beta.apple.com. New software features will be available this fall as a free software update for iPhone 6s and later. For more information, visit apple.com/ios/ios-14-preview. Features are subject to change. Some features may not be available in all regions or all languages.

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