At WWDC 2017, Apple announced the release of a new mobile operating system for phones and tablets. The newest version is iOS 11, and it includes plenty of new features that are fit for business use. The full release is expected this fall, but for those who simply can't wait to try it the company has released its first public beta version. That means it's not longer exclusively for those with $99 developer accounts. These are our three favorite business features:
1. Apple Pay
There are other apps out there that allow you to send money directly to an individual via your mobile phone, like Venmo, but now you can do it with Apple Pay. In fact, the newest version of Apple Pay allows you to complete transactions within the context of a message. So, if an employee texts you asking for a reimbursement for $15 worth of office supplies, the Apple Pay button will immediately spring up and give you the opportunity to send them that exact amount with a single tap. Apple Pay is also being increasingly used in brick-and-mortar stores, and Apple says it will be in 50 percent of retailers by the end of 2017.
2. Siri gets a makeover
If you're an entrepreneur who relies on Siri to stay organized, iOS 11 has some interesting things in store for you. Not only does Siri have two new voices (male and female) that have much more human intonation, it's also built with translation capabilities (from English to Chinese, French, German, Italian and Spanish, with more languages to come). The rebooted Siri can reportedly suggest articles to read, based on your interests (which you can read on your phone or save for later), suggest tasks, and give you updates on traffic and reminders you've set.
3. Maps will make getting around easier
While this is not a huge change, it is an important one, especially for business travelers. The upgraded version of Maps on your iPad or iPhone will now show you interior layouts of malls and airports, so you can scope out your gate location before you travel.
Maps also will predict the places you're most likely to go and give you suggestions on the fastest way to get there based on live traffic information, and in the redesigned OS, you'll be able to open third-party apps within Maps. So, you'll be able to do things like make a dinner reservation through OpenTable and schedule a Lyft while you're in Maps.
These aren't the only new features of iOS 11, just our favorites for business users. Apple's latest mobile OS will also include additions such as Do Not Disturb mode (which you can use to halt calls and notifications while driving), a redesigned App Store, better compression for photos and videos, automatic setup for new devices, augmented reality, the ability to loop photos (and use long exposure settings), and a fully customizable and redesigned control center.
From what we can tell so far, the updates to Apple's mobile OS will be a boon to business users in all industries. iOS 11 is in developer beta testing now and will probably launch officially in the fall when Apple announces the next version of the iPhone. If you do brave the beta update, just know it shouldn't be on your primary device, and you'll want to make sure you do a full backup before you install the new OS.