Ah, September — the air cools, the leaves change, and tech nerds around the world wait breathlessly for the annual Apple keynote address, during which the company announces its latest round of technology innovations. Following Apple's official introduction of its latest operating software, the next question is, obviously, when is iOS 11 available? You won't have long to wait. According to Apple, it will be available to everyone beginning Sept. 19.
Since 2012, Apple has hosted an "Apple Special Event" in early September, often featuring a hint-heavy theme. Last year's Sept. 7 event, "See you on the 7th," brought forth the iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus, along with wireless AirPods. "Hey Siri, give us a hint," the 2015 theme, ushered in the long-awaited Apple TV update, featuring Siri Remote. This year's theme, "Let's meet at our place," is supposedly a reference to the event's location, in the Steve Jobs Theater at the new Apple Campus in Cupertino, Calif.
Along with the iPhone 8, iPhone 8 Plus and iPhone X, the Apple Watch and a new 4K Apple TV, Apple's announcement included the release date of iOS 11, which was pre-released as part the Apple Beta Software Program this past June. If you're not excited yet, you will be.
When the original iPhone was first released in June 2007, the now-deceased Apple CEO and co-founder Steve Jobs announced the year-long goal of capturing one percent of the global cellphone market. Since that fateful press conference just a decade ago, our day-to-day relationship with smartphones has snowballed. Now, Apple holds between 20 to 40 percent of the global market cellphone, depending on the country, and in 2013 Apple earned 60-70 percent of the worldwide smartphone profits, according to LifeWire. And Apple's latest operating system, iOS 11, is purported to be the world's most advanced mobile operating system to date.
Compatible with both the iPhone 8 and iPhone 8 Plus, which are available for pre-order beginning Sept. 15 and on store shelves Sept. 22, the iOS 11 will be available for free download beginning Sept. 19.
Though it hosts a variety of upgrades across devices, iOS 11's front-end design changes are most noticeable on iPads. A customizable, system-wide dock is available at the bottom of your iPad's screen. Access it by simply swiping up from the bottom, explains Tech Crunch. Along with a new file management app, the ability to open two apps side-by-side and drag and drop items betweens apps, iOS 11 will transform your iPad's abilities to function as a highly efficient workhorse device.
Within the iPhone, iOS 11 brings advancements to your camera's Portrait Mode and will include a number of Augmented Reality (AR) elements added to existing features, like Live Photo. Both the iPhone 8 and the iPhone 8 Plus have a built-in Augmented Reality framework, called ARKit, that will transform iPhone apps and features into an increasingly immersive experience.
iOS 11 is also providing a platform for developers to create AR-specific apps, which have the potential to alter the definition of what's "real" by building virtual reality components onto live scenes.
Siri is getting a makeover, too.
Siri will now provide the option for both male and female voices, all of whom have been re-engineered to sound more life-like. No word yet on whether Siri will maintain her trademark snarky, seemingly off-the-cuff responses to certain questions, but I have a feeling that's one characteristic that will remain, regardless of how human she becomes.
Traveling abroad? Siri will also be able to translate English phrases into Chinese, French, German, Italian and Spanish.
When introducing the latest rounds of iPhone, Tim Cook, the host of today's special event, reminded his audience that the goal of iPhone innovations has always been to create software that is intuitive, that becomes second nature to use. Will iOS 11 finally be the software update that further smudges the line between real-life and virtual reality?