Apple has unveiled a major update to its iPhone operating system that will shake up how the phone looks.
The new iOS14, revealed at Apple’s annual conference for computer programmers and mobile app makers on Tuesday (Australian time), will also bring several coronavirus-influenced updates to iPhones and other Apple tech.
The event, which was delayed for three weeks due to the pandemic, happened via a webcast from the company’s Cupertino, California, headquarters.
IOS14, which will launch in September, brings widgets to iPhones and a whole new way to sort through several pages of apps. It will support phones as old as some 2015 and 2016 models.
It launches in public beta in July before it’s available in the fall, but here’s a look at some of the biggest changes you’ll see.
In recognition of the coronavirus pandemic, the new operating system will include an option to put a face mask on a personalised emoji.
Upgraded software for the Apple Watch will also detect when wearers wash their hands.
- See the full breakdown of features and updates in iOS14 here
Apple CEO Tim Cook’s presentation on Monday revolved around an array of features that, for instance, could help iPhone users manage their apps better, find new ones, and use their phones to unlock and start their cars remotely.
Apple also promised an upgraded version of its digital assistant Siri intended to make it smarter and less cumbersome, helping it fend off rival voice-activated concierges made by Google and Amazon.
Apple also said Mac computers will begin using its own chips as it phases out the Intel processors it has used for 15 years.
Some Macs will have the Apple chips before the end of the year, but the full transition away from Intel chips won’t be completed until 2022.
There had been speculation that Apple would unveil apps that rely on augmented reality, or AR, a technology that melds digitally projected images with the real world.
But, although Mr Cook has hyped AR as the next big wave in technology, it hasn’t caught on in the mainstream yet and Apple dropped no bombshells about it at the launch.
Instead, the company disclosed a few relatively minor features in its AR platform for iPhones and iPads in a written summary.
The company gave no indication whether pandemic-driven disruptions in work in the factories that make iPhone parts will delay the release of the next model. The company typically unveils its next iPhones in early September and then starts selling them toward the end of the month.
Apple is expected to roll out as many as four iPhone 12 models in 2020, including its first version that will be able to work on the next generation of ultrafast wireless networks known as 5G.