Apple seems to be settling into a tick-tock development cadence with its iOS updates: the notoriously buggy iOS 13 followed the rock-solid iOS 12, which in turn fixed the problematic iOS 11. As such, iOS 14 is reportedly set to focus on performance and stability rather than adding new features.
There are rumors that Apple might be making the first substantial changes to the iOS home screen, the biggest since the company first added folders and custom wallpapers with iOS 4. The first major addition is said to be a new list view which, according to 9to5Mac, will offer an Android-esque view of all the apps on your device with a variety of sorting options — including Siri suggestions. iOS 14 is also rumored to bring new wallpaper settings that will loop in third-party apps for the first time.
But the biggest and least substantiated rumor of all is that Apple could finally be bringing proper home screen widgets to iOS, something the company has long refused to do (outside of showing the time and date on its Clock and Calendar apps).
In another first, Apple is reportedly considering allowing third-party apps to be set as the iOS defaults in place of the Apple-made alternatives. That could be a big deal, if it happens, especially with the spotlight firmly on Apple facing antitrust lawsuits in the EU over accusations that it favors its own apps and services.
It wouldn’t be a new version of iOS without some new apps, and Apple reportedly has several in the works. According to MacRumors, one of those is a new standalone fitness app codenamed “Seymour” (likely to be renamed “Fit” or “Fitness” in the final release) that would provide a variety of guided fitness videos for workout routines.
There are also reports of a new augmented reality app, codenamed “Gobi,” which would offer some unknown functionality built around new, Apple-branded QR-style codes.
And of course, there are the usual tweaks and improvements rumored to be coming in iOS 14. iMessage is rumored to be getting new @-mentions and the option to retract a message from a thread (both similar to features currently offered by WhatsApp).
Apple is also expected to launch a new “CarKey” feature that will let you use your iPhone or Apple Watch as an NFC car key to unlock your car. There are also new HomeKit features reportedly in the works, like the ability to automate color temperature changes for lights throughout the day. Plus, iOS 14 is rumored to add improved accessibility features for users with hearing loss.
There are rumors of improvements to iCloud Keychain, Apple’s built-in password management tool, which could be getting 1Password-like features to remind users to regularly change their passwords and support for two-factor authentication.
Lastly, Apple is said to be adding a new “Clips” API that would allow developers to offer small snippets of content from their apps without having to install the full application by scanning a QR code (similar features already exist on Android with Google’s Instant Apps and app slices).
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