iOS 11 update is out now

Apple yesterday released iOS 11 in to the wild, the biggest OS update in years.

The update requires a hefty amount of space to install, almost 1.9GB in size, meaning that those with smaller phone and tablet storage may have to delete apps to make room.  It does, thankfully, seem to install pretty quickly.

The biggest change is that this is Apple’s first 64-bit only OS for iOS devices, meaning that the iPhone 5 and iPad 4 are now left behind from major OS updates.  They will continue to get smaller updates for security and features, but to all extents and purposes they are now obsolete going forward.

This change also means apps written for 32-bit systems which haven’t been updated in the last few years to take advantage of 64-bit processors will not work on the new OS.  There are some classic apps and games that will be affected by this, including the impressive mobile version of Xcom.  It may be that developers who are still supporting these apps will update them in time, but some of the classic games we’ve reviewed in the past from the early years of the iPhone will sadly be consigned to older devices.

The upside, of course, is better support for the newer processors, which means developers should be able to eek out more power.  There is also support for AR, which Apple see as the next big trend (in a similar way to Microsoft), forgoing Google, Sony and Samsung’s current love of VR for the mixed reality approach.  The AR dinosaur app, Monster Park, demoed on the last Apple Event is now available on the App Store to show off what it can do.

For all devices, Siri gets a bit of a makeover, with a new learning pattern which will remember choices and questions and hopefully improve contextual speech.  The voice is much more natural, too.

On iPad there are some major changes to the application dock, with a longer bar that can run across the screen and store more shortcuts, as well as the open apps appearing on the right, a little like Mac OS.  Drag-and-drop of files is now supported across different apps, a feature which has been much requested. Multitasking is tightened up with a new interface that shows multiple apps on the screen at the same time.  These can be pressed on to get to the app or swiped to close. while benefiting apps for video that will be able to play while in the small screen, adding to the picture-in-picture functions.

The keyboard has been improved so that swiping on a letter will allow you to choose numbers or symbols instead of having to go to a separate keyboard to type numbers.  It certainly saves a lot of time once you get used to it.


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