Apple unveiled iOS 14 at the Worldwide Developers Conference with CEO Tim Cook presenting to an empty auditorium as part of a social distancing measure.
The latest operating system introduces features like widgets on the home screen, picture in picture mode and offers direction for cycling in Maps, which are only compatible with iPhone 6s and later models, including iPhone 6s Plus, iPhone 7, iPhone X and iPhone 11, as well as both first and second generation iPhone SE.
However, some of the new iOS 14 features may not be available on older models.
The CarPlay feature, which lets users unlock and start compatible vehicles with their iPhone, is only supported on iPhone XR, XS, XS Max, iPhone 11, 11 Pro, 11 Pro Max, iPhone SE (2nd generation), and Apple Watch Series 5, according to the footnote in the Apple iOS 14 preview.
iOS 14 will also offer a Spatial Audio feature for AirPods Pro which promises a surround sound experience.
"Spatial audio with dynamic head tracking puts surround sound channels in exactly the right place, even as you turn your head or move your device," the company posted on its site.
iPhone 6, 6s and first generation iPhone SE users will be missing out on this sound experience as it requires iPhone 7, 7 Plus, iPhone 8, 8 Plus, iPhone X, XS, XS Max, XR, iPhone 11, iPhone 11 Pro, 11 Pro Max, and iPhone SE (2nd generation) to work.
Another new feature is App Clips which let users open a small or essential part of an app such as when a user needs to rent a bike, pay for parking or order food. This gives users a chance to try the app before downloading the full version.
App Clips is also "discoverable" – users can tap on NFC tags or scan QR codes that's placed in specific places to use the feature.
It's supported automatically on iPhone XS, XS Max, XR, iPhone 11,11 Pro, and 11 Pro Max.
As for other devices, it can be accessed after turning on NFC scan mode from the Control Centre on iPhone 7,7 Plus, iPhone 8, iPhone 8 Plus, and iPhone X.
The ARKit 4 in iOS 14 will introduce Location Anchors – Apple said AR (augmented reality) developers can use it to offer AR experiences such as being able to view virtual life-size art installations in the real world. This feature requires iPhone XS, XS Max, XR or later and is only available in selected cities.
Apple added that users will be able to enjoy more AR experiences through the front camera as the feature will be expanded to support face tracking. However, this will only be supported on devices with the A12 Bionic chip or later, meaning that users with older models will be left out.
A new camera feature where users can lock the exposure while focusing the camera for a shot is only supported on iPhone Xs, Xs Max, Xr and later models.
Apple Developer Program members can access a preview of iOS 14 at developer.apple.com starting today, and a public beta for iOS users will be available next month at beta.apple.com.
The company is expected to make iOS 14 available later this year.
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