Apple iOS 18 reveals: There are many highlights besides AI, and the home screen may undergo major changes | WWDC24 preview

Although it is basically confirmed that the upcoming WWDC will use "AI" as the keyword, and it is expected that half of the time will be introduced on how artificial intelligence empowers Apple's various software platforms.

But in addition to AI, iOS 18 may have many other highlights, and some changes may even abandon the tradition of iOS for more than ten years.

Especially when it is still unknown whether the AI ​​function is available in China, perhaps these updates other than AI will affect our user experience.

Ai Faner has arrived in Cupertino, California, and will bring the latest news from WWDC24 at Apple Park tomorrow morning.

Led by a major home screen overhaul, iOS 18 will bring many updates

iOS 18 is expected to be the core of this WWDC. It is reported that Apple internally calls iOS 18 "the most important upgrade in history."

Although this is most likely to describe the many changes brought about by AI's upcoming entry into iOS, compared to iOS 17, which has a small upgrade and weak perception, the changes in iOS 18 outside of AI may be more intuitive and perceptible.

For example, iOS 18 may change the tough layout requirements of the home screen in 17 years, giving users the freedom to place applications on any grid and no longer automatically arrange them.

Although the belated release of this restriction is a bit ridiculous, at least iOS users also have a lot of freedom. With widgets, it is expected that there will be many neat home screen arrangements on major social platforms.

iOS 14 opens up the function of users customizing application icons, and iOS 18 may go a step further. The icons can "change themes collectively." For example, set all social application icons to green, and then change all news-related application icons Set to red, the overall effect may be similar to Android 12.

▲ Android 12

There are also reports that after turning on the dark mode of iOS 18, Apple's own applications will also become dark themes. Previously, when dark mode was turned on in iOS and iPadOS, the home screen wallpaper would also darken. This feature was removed in iOS 16.

Maybe you are worried that the freely arranged home screen will make the iPhone lose its "fruitiness". It doesn't matter. Mark Gurman also said that Apple plans to introduce once-classic wallpapers, as well as some wallpapers containing Apple's classic slogan and classic icon elements, into iOS 18. This is not the first time that Apple has brought classic wallpapers back to iOS. For example, iOS 17 has brought back the classic "Clown Fish" wallpaper.

A higher degree of customization is also coming to Control Center, which will hopefully allow users to place shortcuts more freely. In addition, music playback widgets and smart home controls have also been redesigned. It is reported that the new music widgets will add a progress bar and album cover.

▲X A concept map made by blogger @upinthe0zone based on the news

It is worth mentioning that last year, the "Control Center" was also rumored to be one of the key updates of iOS 17. There were even "screenshots" leaked, which were ultimately confirmed to be false.

MacRumors also revealed a feature that many users may have been waiting for: App Lock. It is reported that iOS 18 will allow users to lock the iPhone’s own apps, use Face ID for verification, and is likely to support touch ID and password unlocking. Apple has launched similar locking features in Notes and Photos albums.

However, it is unclear whether this app lock feature can be applied to third-party apps.

Apple officials also "spoiled" some accessibility features that are likely to be launched on iOS 18 last month. The following are some of the key updates:
– Control iPad and iPhone by moving your eyes
– iPhone can emit different vibrations according to the rhythm and rhythm of music
– Add custom words to Siri with voice shortcuts to launch shortcuts and complete complex tasks
– Intelligent voice recognition will be able to recognize atypical voices, allowing users with affected language functions to use voice operations
– The device will be able to recognize vehicle movement and issue vehicle movement prompts to reduce motion sickness for car users.

In addition to system-level updates, some built-in applications have also undergone changes.

set up

Apple's "Settings" application has almost not changed significantly in 17 years. As new options continue to increase, the current Settings application homepage is a bit bloated, and it takes a long time to find a tab.

Gurman reported that the settings interface of iOS 18 will be "cleaner" and the options will be reorganized in a better way to make it easier for users to find specific tabs.

The set search will also be further optimized. The current search sometimes cannot find some sub-pages, such as the newly added "Charging Optimization" for iPhone 15 models. Sometimes when searching for some keywords, Lenovo's priority is also very weird. For example, when searching for "Siri", the top one is not the "Siri and Search" option on the homepage, but the Siri function that is rarely used in auxiliary functions.

SMS/iMessage

Last year, Apple announced that it would support "RCS" (Rich Media Message Service), also known as "5G Enhanced SMS", later in 2024, so iOS 18 is likely to bring this feature.

This feature is likely due to pressure from China, because last year the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology planned to stipulate that 5G mobile phones applying for network access licenses need to support 5G messages.

Most of the functions of RCS have actually been implemented in iMessage. However, the greatest significance of RCS is that it can transmit network information across platforms, allowing iOS users to send high-resolution photos and videos to Android users.

In recent years, almost every generation of iOS updates has brought new iMessage features, and iOS 18 is expected to be no exception. In addition to AI suggested replies, iMessage will also be able to support adding animation effects to single words. Previously, iMessage has been able to add animation effects such as full screen, laser light, confetti, etc. to the entire conversation bubble. The double-click "Quick Reply" is also likely to launch new options.

Mark Gurman also mentioned that the much-requested "scheduled sending" function will also be added to the messaging application, but it is unclear whether this will support ordinary text messages or only iMessage.

New "password management" application

iOS 18 may also bring a new built-in application related to "passwords", which will provide iPhone, iPad and Mac users with a more intuitive way to manage their stored account and password information.

This application is actually the "Password" option in the current settings made into a separate application, and its functions are basically the same as the current iCloud Keychain. It is reported that this application will not only be launched on the above three platforms, but may also be launched on Vision Pro and even Windows to compete with similar third-party password manager applications such as the popular iOS "1Password".

Some other updates worth checking out

It is reported that "Calendar" and "Reminders" will be more closely integrated. For example, the content in reminders will appear in the view of the Calendar application. There are rumors that the two applications will be merged into a new application, Mark Gurman denied this.

Apple Music is expected to introduce a "smart transition" function that will intelligently fade in and out based on the end and beginning of each song to achieve a "seamless connection" for each song. What’s more interesting is that this feature already exists in the Android version of the Apple Music app, and iOS 18 may introduce this feature to Apple’s own platform.

▲ Apple Music for Android has automatic cross transition function, source: 9to5Mac

Apple Maps is expected to usher in a new "Custom Route Creation" feature, allowing users to design their own specific travel routes instead of relying on the suggested routes given by Maps. Since the map data itself is not involved, this function is likely to be available on the Bank of China’s special version of the map that uses Amap’s map data. As for the new functions of displaying advanced data such as trails, contours, and altitudes, it may still be unavailable in China.

Health apps will be even more powerful. According to Mark Gurman, it will support hypertension data management, paving the way for future Apple Watch hypertension detection functions. Health data can also be more customized, such as tracking pregnant users regularly. Later this year, AirPods will also launch a new "hearing aid" function. It is unclear how this function differs from the existing "enhanced" function. In addition, it can also be used with AirPods for hearing tests.

Compared with other manufacturers, the calculator application that comes with iOS seems too simple, and iOS 18 will change this. It is reported that the iOS 18 calculator will include a new "Recent Calculations" sidebar, and the unit conversion interface will also be improved to be more closely connected with the "Memos" application. At the same time, the memo is expected to support the display of mathematical symbols, and users will be able to record mathematical formulas and equations in the memo.

The "Boundless Notes" application will support the "scene" function, allowing users to set different canvases and classify them according to different scenes.

Updates for other systems are waiting to be officially announced at WWDC.

Compared with iOS, there are fewer revelations about platforms such as iPadOS 18 and macOS 15. However, the iOS 18 updates mentioned above are likely to be synchronized to iPad and Mac.

iPadOS 18 has a change dubbed the “epic update”: the tablet will have its own “calculator” application for the first time. 14 years after the launch of the iPad, a "calculator" application that is not technically difficult has been released, which is really embarrassing. This calculator app is expected to be the same as the calculator app in iOS 18, which is more "powerful" than Apple's current calculator.

▲ Until iPadOS 17, Apple did not develop a native iPad calculator application. Source: Apple Scoop

This is also in line with the update pattern of iPadOS in recent years: bringing built-in applications that are on iOS but not on iPadOS to the tablet. For example, iPadOS 16 brings weather applications. In addition to calculators, iPadOS is also expected to welcome “Health” and “Notes” applications.

macOS 15 is expected to receive similar updates to iOS 18. In addition to AI, it is expected that new features of iOS 18 will be simultaneously updated in the built-in apps such as settings, text messages, memos, etc. Mark Gurman specifically mentioned that the Safari browser in macOS 15 will continue to change, but did not mention the details, only mentioning that it will not be an "ad blocker" function.

macOS 14 brings a new style of lock screen interface for iOS and iPadOS 16, and it can be expected that macOS 15 may also introduce the same lock screen custom editing function for these two platforms.

watchOS 11 will bring a new Siri voice assistant, which will focus on completing some "mobility" tasks and bring new operations and interactions to Apple Watch. Mark Gurman also predicts that watchOS 11 will add support for blood pressure data management, but this feature will not be available until the new Apple Watch equipped with a blood pressure sensor. Some of Apple Watch's core applications, such as the "Fitness" App, will undergo major changes.

What is more unexpected is that the head-mounted display system visionOS 2 may not be a major updated version, but will focus more on further completing the shortcomings of the first-generation system. It is expected that Apple’s own applications on visionOS 2 will be upgraded to natively developed versions.

What’s more worth looking forward to is that Apple is likely to announce at WWDC that it will bring Vision Pro to more countries and regions, and mainland China is expected to become one of the first international markets. Previously, the National Bank version of Vision Pro had passed the domestic 3C quality certification.

In recent years, iOS updates have been inspired by Android and "jailbreak" plug-ins. This year's iOS 18 has many new non-AI features, but they are very visual and almost all have been implemented by other companies. function.

But this is a good thing in itself. There is no plagiarism in many basic functions between systems. This only shows that these functions are just needed by users and can improve the user experience.

Coupled with the rich AI functions reported in the news, iOS 18 may bring more than a little improvement to the user experience. Of course, I also hope that this update, which is hailed as the "most significant", will not lose stability.

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