The 2017 Apple Worldwide Developers Conference officially began on June 5, 2017 in San Jose, California. While the company spent half of the keynote’s time on its mobile operating system, iOS 11 (News), there were many new features that were not presented at lengths. Experience The Skies explores ten of them further that will positively impact travellers.
Apple iOS 11
At the end of the iOS portion of the keynote, a screen was shown with many hidden features were not previewed extensively. We will spend more time on the ten highlighted in red boxes which we believe will impact travellers.
- Map entrances to landmarks in China – While the Maps application already locate major landmarks currently, this new feature will add entrance locations. The additions would be very useful for both leisure and business travellers as many landmarks have multiple entry points that are placed far apart from each other. Getting lost could lead to long walks or use of transportation.
- One-handed zoom in Maps – This feature will free up a hand when zooming in and out of the Maps application and increase ease of operation.
- Spoken / braille captions for Videos – This will improve accessibility functions within the Videos application for travellers with visual impairments. The use cases are endless if Apple can create a realistic braille feel using the haptic feedback extension first introduced in iOS 10.
- Flight status in Spotlight and Safari – Taking a page from Google, this feature will provide travellers with updates flight status across both Spotlight (part of the iOS search tool) and Safari (the internet browser). On Google’s Chrome browser, travellers can just type in the flight number (including codeshares) and the search engine will return with real time status which includes flight times, airport information and any delays and cancellations. Apple will likely have the same information listed in iOS 11 as a starting point. Additional information that could be beneficial for the traveller include itinerary status (when synced with Calendar), aircraft information, weather / ground stop alerts at airports, 3D Touch access to terminals for supported airports in the Maps application.
- QR code support – This has the potential to expand an airline application’s ability to interact with more point of sale systems. One use case is for airlines to automate the compensation process by providing travellers experiencing delays with coupons for food/beverage, hotel and transportation within their mobile application or via email.
- SOS on iPhone – This enables travellers with easy access to reach authorities and friends/family in an emergency situation.
- Advanced Wi-Fi analytics – This could help travellers find the best Wi-Fi hotspots for speed and safety.
- Expanded braille editing – This enables developers in creating better applications, books and tools for travellers with visual impairments. Use case can be expanded when used with the Augmented Reality (AR) API.
- Carrier data usage – While travellers can find out how much data is used by application in Settings, this feature will provide direct tracking which will help users when travelling aboard and may have limited data allocation.
- Definitions, conversions and math in Safari – This is another feature already available in Google Search which has been very useful for travellers to convert units, currencies, calculate tips and get definitions.
In addition to the ten features above, Apple is taking big steps on language support with additional input methods and dictionary expansion in multiple languages. Both can help travellers visiting places where translation may be required.
Beta Program and Device Eligibility
The following is a list of devices that support iOS 11 Beta.
- iPhone 7
- iPhone 7 Plus
- iPhone 6s
- iPhone 6s Plus
- iPhone 6
- iPhone 6 Plus
- iPhone SE
- iPhone 5s
- iPad (9.7-inch)
- iPad Pro (9.7-inch)
- iPad Pro (12.9-inch)
- 2017 iPad Pro (12.9-inch)
- 2017 iPad Pro (10.5-inch)
- iPad mini 4
- iPad mini 3
- iPad mini 2
- iPad Air 2
- iPad Air
- iPod touch 6th generation