Along with watchOS7 it’s all new with 100s of features to learn
2020 has been one hellava year so far. The fires, political chaos, pandemic lockdowns, economic depressions are all still evolving. Finally, some better news. Over the last several months the stability of the beta versions of the new operating systems became far better. In order to stay ahead of the curve we tested some of the most interesting new features including these 5.
iOS 14 and iPad OS 14 will be available on September 16th to download on your iPhone and iPad. This is a major update and includes a lot of changes to your world.Now you will be able to add widgets to your home screen, find apps easier with the App Library and there are many new features in iMessage.
There are also, digging a little deeper, hidden gems like the Apple Translate App. in the video above we demonstrated an interesting difference between the Apple software and the well known Google Translate. This feature, called “Conversation Mode” foreshadows what we believe is going to be the hallmark of all Apple Software upgrades going forward: machine learning and built in AI for the OS and apps.
In conversation mode the voice recognition engine is able to recognize what language it is “hearing” and then translate into the other language, based on the selected pair, in this case English and German. It can also recognize slang and alternate vocabularies and even some dialects and accents, such as UK vs American English.
At first blush this may seem like it is too deep into the detailed function of the app to be significant, after all for the most part we just need to know what a phrase means in an alternate language. But, in typical spectacular fashion, this feature is an example of something you don’t realize you need until you have it – then you can’t imagine you ever lived without it. Ultimately a conversation could be translated “live” without having to stop each time to let the app know who is speaking which language – making the flow of the conversation remain intact while the app “just works”.
Also in typical Apple fashion, it will probably take an iPhone 12 Pro, a 5G connection and a few months of machine learning to make that scenario a reality, but it would be an interesting experience nonetheless, when it is finally a reality.
Apple News goes Audio: Built in articles out loud
Apple News + might get a boost with the new Apple One bundle, also revealed in the Apple September 2020 keynote event. Those who opt for “Premier” will get Apple News+ access bundled in. Even without the News+ upgrade all users get access to audio stories released periodically “Apple News Today”, somewhat like a teaser sample pack to let you try out with your AirPods and see if the additional audio, including sync with text version and Apple Car Play might entice you to become a News+ subscriber ($5 per month without the bundle).
Privacy features delayed due to Facebook being terrified but coming soon
Although delayed, these features are some of the most important in the new OS versions. Just ask Mark Zuckerberg. The gist of the situation is that Apple is finally asserting it’s rightful place in the internet ecosystem: users should be allowed to opt in to surveillance by advertisers and predatory juggernauts like Facebook and Amazon, rather than be surveilled automatically and then have to jump through hoops (and potentially add blockers and plug-ins to escape).
Apple’s billion users would need to allow their data and browsing habits to be monetized by those massive ad built eco-system killers. A lot has also been discussed about how this new regime change by Apple could negatively affect publishers, like Lynxotic, but this is a case of seeing the big, long term benefits, such as an internet where the users and netizens, and not Zuckerberg, are finally in charge. This goal is lofty and honorable and long overdue. Therefore, any adjustments needed to be made by publishers business models is well worth it.
That’s not all, in iOS 14 and iPad OS14 searches will default for “best for user” rather than automatically being diverted to google or any other “search engine”. If you are searching for a news article or information about an apple product, for example, the search will offer you results, within the global search on your device rather than in a browser, and this will direct you to your Apple News App or to Safari, landing directly on a web site, as appropriate.
Searches might finally find what you want, coming soon
As many have noticed Google has been diverting searches to Google hosted pages rather than offering results that take you directly to the web site that published the information. This practice is the reverse of what Apple is trying to do. Google want to “hold” you in Google “territory”, just as Facebook tries to block you from leaving its ecosystem that you are logged in to. Apple, on the other hand, is set up to send people directly to the source of the information, such as news web sites, etc., albeit via Safari or the Apple News App.
This will all continue to be a contentious issue going forward as it is akin to a war between Apple, Google, Amazon and Facebook (!), so we will be following this closely and will continue to report, ahead of the fact in many cases, in an ongoing fashion.
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