Apple’s mid-year WWDC event showcased exciting software changes coming to the company’s lineup of devices that includes the iPhone, the iPad and the Macs. And there were quite a few that were of special interest to India, the second largest smartphone market in the world.
The company indicated that it would be delivering a series of additional features for India in the hope of building on the momentum that it kick-started last June by having Indian accented male and female voices on its Siri voice assistant.
Languages, fonts and more
The latest iOS14 update would include 20 new document fonts besides upgrades to 18 of the existing ones with additional weights and italics. Additionally, the Mail app would now support email addresses written in Indian script. Last year, iOS 13 had 30 new document fonts for Indian languages Hindi, Marathi, Nepali, Sanskrit, Bengali, Assamese, Tamil, Telugu, Gujarati, Kannada, Gurmukhi, Malayalam, Odia, and Urdu.
Taking up from their last update, the iOS 14 would give users the ability to download Indian Siri voices and software updates, which means that they could have options of voice tone. They would also be able to download and stream Apple TV Plus shows over cellular networks, something that users across the world cannot do at present.
In fact, even this feature is in some ways a carry forward from the 2019 iOS 13 upgrades where Apple had added a feature that enabled users to set a particular time of the day for downloading videos from streaming apps such as Netflix and Amazon Prime Videos.
Happy Holi and Happy Diwali
Messages would now appear with full-screen effects when users share greetings for Holi, Diwali and other Indian festivals. And, these would be available in any of the 23 local languages for iPhone users once they upgrade to iOS 14. In fact, Apple has done Indian iPhone users a favour by ensuring that all previous versions up to iPhone 6S would be able to upgrade.
The messages would also boast filters that allow users to separate spam or promotional messages from bank transaction alerts and text messages sent by people on one’s contact list. Though this feature is available globally, it would be a boon for Indian users who regularly get spammed by their banks, insurance companies, hospitals and everything in between.
A leaf out of WhatsApp’s book
A major change that the iOS 14 wrings-in relates to Facetime. This time round it is becoming more feature rich whereby users can customize group chats with personal photographs. It is also bringing mentions feature whereby instead of typing the @ symbol, it would automatically show suggestions based on the names we type. Users would also have the ability to set notifications when a mention of this kind is made in a group chat.
Another WhatsApp like feature that would be appearing on these messaging windows would be the ability to pin conversations that can be kept on top of the app. This way, users can keep the chats that are important at a particular time at the top of the list.
Most of these changes and additional features would also be shipping with the iPadOS 14 with the new fonts and localized messages also getting incorporated to the macOS Big Sur. Of course, we still do not know when the rollout of the iOS 14 would reach India though it is now available for beta testing. Reports suggest that the rollout will start in September.
In recent months, Apple also enhanced the quality of Apple Maps in India by adding support for turn-by-turn navigation besides enabling users to book cabs from Uber or Ola directly from within the map app. Reports had also indicated that Apple had hired new teams to expand its maps network across India besides enhancing the customization of its software.
These new improvements indicate that Apple is keen to develop its market share in India’s growing smartphone market. In the recent past, chief executive Tim Cook had promised to launch the first digital and physical Apple Stores in the country while also utilizing the federal government’s ‘Make in India’ initiative to manufacture some of its iPhone models locally.