The iconic look of iPhones has always been the same since the late Steve Jobs announced the first-ever one in 2007.
That means iPhones have been around for 13 years, which sounds like a lifetime, and considering how we used to click the day away on BlackBerries and Nokias during an era “when phones were fun,” our devotion to this device is interesting, today at least.
That moniker is true to some degree. Back in the day, there were the indestructible Nokia 3310s, the ultra-futuristic Backflips, the status symbol Scirocc’s, the razor-thin Motorola Razrs and so on. Nearly every mobile phone came in a different shape or form and had different features.
With the inception of the iPhone, it all changed. We've been carrying around screen-covered slabs that keep getting bigger by the day. Though standardization of things is inevitable, it was also necessary. Apple managed to realize this with iPhone’s uniform structure, AppStore and its ecosystem.
It also served as an example for Android, showing it where the future of mobile phones lies. Android followed in the footsteps of iOS, a distant relative when taking into consideration both operating systems are based on UNIX structures. Google developed Android day by day and this time, it was Apple’s turn to follow suit.
Widgets: Finally, but not really
Apple is a company known for its rather slow implementation of changes. Whenever the Cupertino giant announces a new feature, Android fans are quick to shout: but we’ve had that feature for years!
Take Apple Pay.
When it was announced, Android users blasted Apple for marketing it like a newly invented product. They were right in a sense as Apple always likes to brag about what it has achieved. But Apple Pay has worked nearly perfectly and seamlessly since its launch, while waters were kind of muddy on the Android side.
Another example is widgets. Over eight years ago, when I had my Samsung Galaxy Note, the first-ever in the series, there were many widgets on my home screen that I loved to use. And they all worked pretty well. But after all these years, iPhones finally get widgets.
These are not proper widgets in the real sense of the word, but rather quick peeks into apps and they don’t function at all. When selected, they immediately open whichever app they belong to. Even playing a song without going into the Music app, like simply pushing a play button on the widget itself, is impossible due to the guidelines Apple has set.
But still, iPhone screens look, for the first time since the first iPhone, different now. And there are some pretty amazing “widgets” too, which will prove useful even if they don’t do anything on their own, but will save you from the “hassle” of going into, for example, the Twitter app to see what people are tweeting at that moment.
New competition for Google Translate?
One of the best features of iOS 14 may be this for the people who love to travel, interact with foreigners or read books in a foreign language.
Apple’s new app, simply named “Translate,” can do what it promises. It can translate between 11 languages in real time, while Google’s 14-year-old competitor can only do it between eight languages. Quite an improvement. I gave it a test go between English and French, and I was more than impressed. The app works especially well between languages in the same language family (e.g. Romance languages). I’m not saying it’s better than Google Translate, which has improved vastly in recent years, but competition always makes room for improvement
Smells like Android
One other feature Apple has brought to iPhones with the latest iOS is the “App Library,” which is clearly inspired by Android. It would be wrong to say it is a total carbon copy as it categorizes apps into general folders according to their genre. For example, all games are in a single folder, while all your fitness apps will be in another folder, regardless of where you put them on your home screen. You can access the App Library by swiping left on the last page of your home screen and see all your apps neatly organized there.
Is there an app you don’t use much? Just delete it from the home screen by pressing and holding its icon and selecting the relevant option in the pop-up menu. You won’t be deleting the app and your data will still be intact, but it won’t create clutter on your home screen. You will still be able to access the app from the App Library. And as Apple’s late founder once put it: “Good artists copy, great artists steal.”
I ask, for the love of God, why has it taken so long to introduce this feature, Apple?
Messaging someone without having to close the video you are watching should have been a given. Now you just have to push the top-left button when you have a video in full screen and then your video will be playing in a window hovering around your screen. You can enlarge it or put it to the side when you don’t need it. Apple has kept it polished, allowing the window playing the video to follow your navigation around the interface. So when you bring up the keyboard, if the video was playing in the bottom, that goes up too. When you switch apps, it automatically minimizes to the side. And when you tap on a message notification when you are watching a video in full screen, it automatically pops up the window and continues playing at the top of the screen as you write a text.
There are many other features of iOS 14 too, like App Clips, which lets you use an app without downloading, or the “Wind Down” mode which prepares you for sleep. If you have an iPhone, make sure to install it.
It is also the most privacy-oriented operating system to date. An orange dot shows up in the top-right of the screen whenever your microphone is in use. A green one pops up when your camera is in action. So you'll feel more at ease by knowing whenever your input devices are being used, and by which application.
I'd say install iOS 14, you won't regret it.