With the announcement that iOS 11 will be available in autumn, users of Apple products need wait no longer to see how their iPhones and iPads will look.
The overall look is how much it makes an iPad look like a laptop computer - which should tie in nicely with the new 10.5-inch iPad Pro.
iOS 11 includes a dock, just like on MacOS, that is always there (unless you swipe to hide it) as you multitasking between apps. And you can drag and drop items - photos, hyperlinks, whatever - between apps, just like on a ‘proper’ laptop.
So as we await the new system’s appearance sometime later this year, here’s 11 of the best features in iOS 11.
Rather more like a phone, and boasting icons not unlike Android widgets, is the Control Centre - basically this puts all your icons on one page, with sliders for volume etc - making it much easier to control Apple Music and other apps.
Siri - iOS’s assistant - will sound less robotic, with different pronunciation inflections for the same word, and will also be smarter as it learns from your behaviour, across iOS and iWatch or other devices.
The connectivity continues in Apple Music, which will let you see what your friends are listening to and could, say, allow Shazam to add music to your library automatically.
Apple Pay will now let you, er, pay pals… it’s peer-to-peer meaning you can send money to friends easily, for example when splitting a restaurant bill - and you can even request cash from inside the Messages app.
Maps also has grand designs - allowing you to move and zoom inside shopping centres or airports and even go upstairs. For drivers, speed limits are now included, and a ‘Do Not Disturb While Driving’ safety feature has been added.
Airplay 2 lets you pick which speakers music plays on in your home from within Apple Music and you also get full control on what’s playing via Siri.
An upgrade to the App Store proved popular with developers at the conference where iOs11 was announced - there’s now a New Today section which should drive purchases of apps, plus there are now Games and Apps sections.
The Camera app has been enhanced, with a simple long exposure setting added, and videos and photos will be stored in new formats (HVEC and HEIF) which will save on space, but (Apple say) still be compatible for sharing with other devices.
Speaking of saving space, iMessages will offer seamless iCloud syncing between your iPhone, iPad and Mac. So, if you delete a conversation bubble on an iPad, it will also disappear on your other devices, and free up iMessage storage space.
There’s also the Apple Files app which pulls all your files together, even working with Dropbox and Google Drive as well as iCloud, so everything’s in one place.
Last but not least - AR. Augmented Reality could be described as an advanced version of Pokemon Go. Better seen than described, Apple demoed, through an iPad, a battle with flying craft and explosions, all set on a table in the conference room - created by the studio of Lord of The Rings director Peter Jackson.
More details, including how to sign up for the beta programme, at https://www.apple.com/ios/ios-11-preview/