Apple’s announcement of iOS 13 is a window into some of the new features and tools that will come to the rumored iPhone 11 or whatever its marquee phone for 2019 winds up being called.
Dark mode, a keyboard you can swipe to type on, new maps and photo features and customizable Memoji avatars are just some of the changes the iPhone-maker did reveal.
But Apple being Apple, there are likely more features the giant brand will announce this fall when iOS 13 officially lands on phones, specifically the iPhone 11.
Apple (and Google too) often holds back some announcements that could give away too many secrets about its next device, one that’s still a full three months away, assuming Apple sticks to its September update cycle. Developers often find intriguing nuggets hidden away in the iOS developer beta that could hint at future iPhone features.
New camera features could step into the light
There’s a rising smartphone trend for cameras with impressive zoom photography. Huawei, Oppo and even Apple archrival Samsung are on the forefront, each with at least three rear lenses that help make zoom shots happen.
Apple doesn’t care about showing up late to the party, but it does care about throwing a better party than everyone else. Rumors point to a three-camera array on the back of the next major iPhone, one of them a zoom lens. If that happens, Apple would flip the switch on new iOS 13 software to support it.
At the very least we would expect see on-screen controls pop between the various zoom levels, and there could potentially be new camera filters to enhance the effect.
A power-sharing toggle in the Control Center
Samsung’s Galaxy S10 phones can top up other phones (even an iPhone) with a new feature called Wireless Power Share. You turn it on, place a device that’s compatible with wireless charging on the back and watch it slowly top up until you are ready to go or until you hit 30% remaining battery. It’s a perfect tool to charge up small accessories without carrying a cable, and it’s one that Apple would be smart to add, especially since it killed its AirPower charging dock.
We would see a power-sharing tool come to the iPhone’s Control Center at the very least, likely with its own separate app to manage power and detailed opt-in settings like “charge only when plugged in”
Face ID camera features could go beyond speed
Apple announced that Face ID, the iPhone X family’s secure face unlock software, will work 30% faster than it does now. That might not be all Apple has in store for Face Unlock. An update to Face ID could be even more secure and include new AR capabilities. Apple showed off a demo of Minecraft Earth, a 3D AR world-building game, so we know Apple’s commitment here is rock-solid.
Apple also made a kind of neat AR tool that lets you see its $6,000 Mac Pro and $5,000 Pro Display XDR monitor on your desk through existing iPhones and iPads.
If the software supporting the selfie camera does create new opportunities for AR apps, Apple could open up software tool kits for the front-facing camera to third-party developers. You might not see much new software in the settings or additional toggle controls, but you would see the result in more apps and tools to use AR in interesting ways. Those APIs would still ultimately be part of the iOS 13 package for app-makers.
More info on Dark Mode and night time routines
Dark mode is a new tool that makes white screens black and black text white to reduce eye strain. Apple walked us through how the system-wide feature will work with all of Apple’s core apps, but there’s a decent chance we haven’t heard the last of it.
Apple’s emphasis on wellness and digital detox could mean that there are more details to come about maintaining boundaries with phone use and protecting your eyes from too much strain. A new app or setting that Apple wants to unveil specifically for the iPhone 11 could always arrive retroactively to every other iPhone as soon as it’s ready in September.
Are we done with Siri yet?
Siri, Apple’s digital assistant, has a new voice! It’s a little less robotic and meant to use AI to sound smoother and less clipped. Although Siri does pick up one or two skills to connect to devices in Apple’s ecosystem, like the HomePod, AirPods and Carplay, Apple didn’t mention many changes to Siri on the iPhone.
Siri has a different voice, but so far no new tricks.
Touchless gesture support (not until iOS 14)
This rumor feels a bit more like a long shot, especially considering how it failed to catch on with the LG G8 and old Galaxy S phones, but the future iPhone has been rumored to have support for gestures that you make without touching the device that is, hovering in the air. That’s our best guess, anyway. But the most credible rumor pins this touchless gesture support to 2020, so that means it’s out for iOS 13.