Apple iOS 14 ‘Reimagines’ iPhone Experience, But Developers Unhappy

Apple has on Wednesday begun rolling out iOS 14 to iPhone users around the world, a day after it launched new iPads, the Apple Watch Series 6, as well as the Apple One bundle and Fitness+.

The arrival of iOS 14 on iPhone 6s and later will be made available free of charge, and according to Apple, the new OS “reimagines the iPhone experience, delivering a major update to the Home Screen with beautifully redesigned widgets and the App Library, new ways to use apps with App Clips, and powerful updates to Messages.”

But app developers are unhappy at the short notice they were given about the arrival of the new mobile operating system. Last year for example, Apple announced the release date of the new iOS more than a week in advance.

Unhappy developers

Developers are concerned that their apps may not work properly with the new OS, as they have not have enough time to check for bugs and submit their products to the App Store.

Nintendo for example warned gamers that its Animal Crossing: Pocket Camp app will not launch after the update.

Others have also taken to Twitter to warn users.

Apple announced the arrival of iOS 14 on Wednesday, and it comes with a number of new features regarding the home screen, widgets, messaging etc.

“Together with iPhone, iOS is central to how we navigate our lives and stay connected, and we are making it even more powerful and easier to use in iOS 14, with the biggest update ever to the Home Screen,” said Craig Federighi, Apple’s senior VP of Software Engineering.

“We are thrilled to see the incredible ways developers are taking advantage of widgets and App Clips to create new experiences that we think customers are going to love,” he added.

Home Screen

So how exactly has the Home Screen page being redesigned?

Well, new widgets present information at a glance and can be added in different sizes on any Home Screen page.

Users can choose a Smart Stack of widgets, which uses on-device intelligence to surface the right widget based on time, location, and activity. For example, users might see the News widget in the morning, Calendar events during the day, and their Fitness summary in the evening.

Home Screen pages can be customised to show apps and widgets for work, entertainment, sports, and other areas of interest.

At the end of the Home Screen pages is the App Library, which according to Apple is a “new space that automatically organises all of a user’s apps into one simple, easy-to-navigate view, and intelligently surfaces apps that are helpful in the moment. Users can also hide Home Screen pages for quicker access to the App Library.”

Sire, Incoming calls

Another change is a ‘compact design for incoming calls and Siri.’

“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,” said Apple. “With Picture-in-Picture support, iPhone users can now watch a video or take a FaceTime call while using another app.”

This redesign allows users to multitask while receiving calls, asking Siri a question, or watching videos.

Messaging update

Another significant change with iOS 14 concerns Messages, and users can now pin conversations to the top of their messages list to allow them to “easily keep up with group threads through mentions and inline replies, and further customise 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,” said Apple.

Other changes

Apple iOS 14 also delivers a number of other changes, including greener options in Maps, to make it easier than ever to navigate and explore with new cycling directions, electric vehicle routing, and curated Guides.

Cycling directions take into account elevation, how busy a street is, and whether there are stairs along the route. Electric vehicle routing adds charging stops along a planned route based on current vehicle charge and charger types.

Apple says that it has also added more transparency and control with expanded privacy features.

For example, users can now choose to share their approximate location with app developers rather than their precise location when granting an app location access, and get even more transparency into an app’s use of the microphone and camera.

Developers can now offer users the option to upgrade their existing accounts to Sign in with Apple.

Apple also claims it has enhanced the listening experience for AirPods.

“Spatial audio with dynamic head tracking brings a theatre-like experience to AirPods Pro,” it said. “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.”

Other iOS 14 features include Translate, which is designed to be the easiest app for translating conversations, and enhancements to Siri so it can answer complex questions with information sourced from across the internet.

There is even the option for digital versions of car keys (where the iPhone unlocks the car), but this only be done with BMW cars at present.

Tom Jowitt

Tom Jowitt is a leading British tech freelancer and long standing contributor to Silicon UK. He is also a bit of a Lord of the Rings nut...

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