iOS 13 Refines Without Revolutionising

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As you'd expect from an operating system that's now in its thirteenth release, there's not a lot that Apple thinks they need to change in a major way. And iOS reflects this. Apple has added dozens of tweaks to iOS that individually would be point releases. But by bundling them up, and throwing in a couple of extras, Apple has put together a new release that enhances, rather than revolutionises, the iPhone.

As expected, iOS 13 gets Dark Mode but it's the tweaks to other apps and a new Sign-In service that are the most interesting.

Apple says it has driven over 6 million kilometres collecting new data to add a bunch more detail to Maps. Given I've never seen an Apple car drive around collecting images and data but have seen lots of Google cars I expect that the enhancements to Maps will be most relevant to folks in North America. Apple says the enhancements will hit the USA this year with other countries to follow in 2020.

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Apple has made a big deal of augmented reality (AR) over recent years so it's no surprise to see them push that barrow further. Maps will let you point the camera down a street and it will identify specific buildings and other landmarks. That's handy when you're looking for a specific place but the street numbers or other signage is a little sketchy

Photos and Camera enhancements

Photos also receives some significant enhancements. Google made a big deal about its on-device machine learning during Google I/O 2019. But Apple wasn't just sitting back. Having invested heavily in its own custom silicon, Apple has chosen to flex its AI muscles by allowing Photos to curate collections of photos.

Rather than sifting through ten versions of the same image you shot, Photos will curate your images and display a collection of the best from various events. You don't lose the other images; the new AI-curated collections are meant to declutter your photo viewing.

Photo and video editing is more comprehensive so you can apply effects, adjust and review at a glance. Most of the photo editing tools can be used for video editing so you can rotate, crop or apply filters right within the Photos app.

The Camera app gets some new lighting controls so you can adjust the amount of light in your portrait shots and there's a new High-Key Mono effect as well.

Sign In With Apple

We're all familiar with the ability to use Facebook, Twitter and Google accounts to authenticate our access to third-party sites and services. Apple is joining that brigade with its new 'Sign In with Apple' service.

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Sign In with Apple leverages Face ID or Touch ID and has two-factor authentication so you can connect to non-Apple services that choose to use the new feature.

Apple has been making a lot of noise, differentiating itself from Google in particular, saying it sees privacy as an important part of all its services and products. Part of the promise with Sign In with Apple is that the company will not profile users or their activity in apps.

How do you get iOS 13

If you can't wait the developer preview of iOS13 is available to Apple Developer Program members at developer.apple.com starting today.

Membership of Apple's developer portal costs $99 per year.

For those that are patient, a public beta program will be available to iPadOS users later this month at beta.apple.com.

iPadOS will be available this Spring as a free software update for iPhone 6s and later.


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