Apple is announcing several new iPhones today. But if you already have an iPhone or iPad, chances are you’ll also get something new. The company just announced at its press conference that the new major version of Apple’s mobile operating system will be released on September 19. You’ll be able to download it for free.
Apple first unveiled iOS 11 at its WWDC event back in June 2017. Beta versions of iOS 11 have been around for a few months, and developers have been working on updates and new features for the new operating system.
iOS 11 is particularly impressive on the iPad. It turns your iPad into a more capable tablet with a new navigation metaphor. While the home screen hasn’t changed, there’s now a system-wide dock with all your favorite apps. You can drag your finger from the bottom edge of the screen to bring it up.
If you keep dragging, you get a bird’s-eye view of your recent apps and workspaces. A workspace can be multiple apps running in split screen. If you want to open two apps side-by-side, you can now just drag and drop an app icon from the dock to the main screen.
Apple also implemented a new spring-loaded, drag-and-drop system. Now, you can drag documents and photos across multiple apps. You can also manage your files in the new Files app.
On the iPhone, most of the changes are under the hood. Many developers have been playing around with ARKit, Apple’s new augmented reality framework. It makes it much easier to create AR-enabled apps with iOS doing the heavy lifting.
The most visible change is the new Control Center with customizable shortcuts (at least some of them). And of course, by keeping your iPhone up-to-date, you get the latest security updates, performance improvements and new emojis.