As a CIO or CTO of an enterprise, you are always worried about new updates from iOS or Android and how they may affect the mobile apps that you maintain. Here comes iOS 11 in September 2017 with positive news: it has added several library and other feature enhancements to make your iOS application maintenance easier. I have compiled a list of the feature and support items iOS 11 adds that you should know about to upgrade your existing apps or to incorporate the new capabilities into any new app builds you have underway. Here is a summary of the improvements:
1. Drag and drop
Drag-and-drop functionality is something we’ve always been looking for on iOS platforms and which has finally been delivered in iOS 11. Like on the desktop, Drag and Drop in iOS 11 enables a user to easily move text, images and other content from one app to another. All you need do is tap and hold to pick up the content and drag it into the app you want. Multi-Touch, an all-new way to select multiple items, lets you quickly pick up several items by tapping. With spring-loading, users can use drag and drop to open an app, so you can move content from one app to another simply by hovering over the destination app’s icon.
2. Machine learning (ML Kit) make your apps more intelligent
Machine learning is all the rage for CIOs, CTOs and innovators these days. Apple makes it easier with ML Kit and Vision in iOS 11. Apple’s Core ML framework supports neural networks, tree ensembles, support vector machines, generalized linear models, feature engineering and pipeline models. Your app can become more intelligent with ML Kit & Vision. You can easily do face tracking, face detection, landmarks, text detection, rectangle detection, barcode detection, object tracking, and image registration. It also has natural language processing APIs, that use machine learning to deeply understand text using features such as language identification, tokenization, lemmatization, part of speech, and named-entity recognition.
3. Enhanced PDF Kit for Managing PDF Document
Earlier, iOS only allowed us to view PDFs with the native library. We had to rely on a third-party library to author and edit PDF files. With enhanced PDF Kit in iOS 11, we can easily manipulate the PDFs because it lets users move through a document, select and share content, zoom in and out, and more.
4. Augmented Reality Kit makes it easy to add AR experience in your app.
iOS 11 introduces ARKit, a new framework that allows you to easily create unparalleled augmented reality experiences for iPhone and iPad. It makes third party AR kit almost obsolete. Using the TrueDepth camera, your app can detect the position, topology, and expression of the user’s face, all with high accuracy and in real time, making it easy to apply live selfie effects or use facial expressions to drive a 3D character. ARKit uses Visual Inertial Odometry (VIO) to sense, with a high degree of accuracy and without any additional calibration, how a device moves within a room. ARKit can detect horizontal planes, such as tables and floors, and can track and place objects on smaller feature points as well. ARKit also makes use of the camera sensor to estimate the total amount of light available in a scene and applies the correct amount of lighting to virtual objects.
5. Integrate SIRI in your app
iOS 11 makes SIRI even more helpful. Through advanced machine learning and artificial intelligence, Siri is more expressive, with a new, more natural voice. You can integrate SIRI in your app for voice assistant and language translation to make your app smarter. You can abandon relying on a third-party library for voice assistant and translation functionality.
6. Xcode 9 is the most exciting Xcode release yet
It comes with a fast, structure-based editor that lets you intelligently highlight and navigate your code. It also Includes great Markdown support. Refactoring is built right into the editing experience and works across Swift, Objective-C, Interface Builder, and many other file types. The search feature now returns search results extraordinarily fast. You can also wirelessly debug the iOS and tvOS devices over the network. Source control versioning has become much faster and easier as well.
Camera capabilities get a lot of improvement in iOS 11, as you can finally scan a QR code with the camera and you don’t have to integrate third-party SDK for QR code scanning in your app. It has also improved image quality and provided better image compression, which means you’ll need less space to store big images. Portrait Mode in the iPhone 7 Plus received upgraded Optical Image Stabilization, True Tone flash and HDR. A new Depth API is being released for developers, which means they’ll be able to use the iPhone 7 Plus’s camera to add more depth information to their apps. New filters, such as Vivid and Dramatic, have been added for photo effects.
8. Merged Lock Screen and Notification Center
iOS 11 offers an updated Lock Screen and Notification Center. Apple has decided to merge Lock Screen and Notification Center into a single entity called the Cover Sheet. When you swipe down in an app, you’ll basically see the Lock Screen. You’ll still be able to get to all your notifications, and when you click on any notification, it will open up the app. This feature is important from your app design perspective if your app relies on push notifications.
9. New Files App makes files management much easier
iOS 11 launched a new app called Files, which allows it to manage all the files on your iDevice and iCloud, and also provides integration with Dropbox and Google Drive. You can easily store, drag and drop, and manage files. App developers can access Files using drag and drop to store and access files for their app, as well.
iOS 11 has several other features that make it easier for IT departments to manage and develop apps on iOS. You can go through the iOS 11 release notes here.