A major feature update for both Apple iOS and Amazon Alexa

A major feature update planned for two of the worlds most loved products.

The iOS operating system which powers both the iPhone and iPad is the first to get an announcement of a major feature update.

Announced at the recent Apple Worldwide Developers Conference (WWDC) the biggest update for the iOS system will be released this fall. Named version 11, this update enhances almost every feature of your Apple Device.

Some of the bigger updates include:

  • Enhanced Multitasking with a new “dock” to switch between running programs.
  • A unified file management system. Files located in your device, other iOS devices, iCloud and even other services like Dropbox may be found in one place.
  • A new Dock for the iPad – this will work a lot like an iMac with your applications all in a bar on the bottom of the screen.
  • Drag and Drop – the ability to move things around the screen (including split-screen).
  • Apple Pencil – the markup ability on iPad is being overhauled. In a bid to the saying “what’s old is new again” you can now use your tablet like a, well.., tablet. In addition to being able to write on the screen anywhere you can draw and create instant notes.
  • Scan – Notes now has a document scanner that will automatically sense and scan a document, crop the edges and remove any tilt or glare. In addition to having a scanner in your tablet you can fill in blanks and sign with Apple pencil right on the screen.
  • Augmented Reality (AR). Different than Virtual Reality, AR allows you to view your environment through the tablet/iPhone camera and superimpose images over the actual image. This allows you to interact virtually with your environment. You can try out that new piece of furniture, landscape your yard or play Pokémon right from your tablet.
  • Camera – there are many features coming to the camera function. One huge issue finally being corrected is it will no longer matter if you hold your phone vertical or horizontal – the camera will now automatically compensate for that.

Not all Apple devices will receive the update. Right now OS11 is planned for iPhone 6, but an update as far back as 5S is being discussed. (The update requires a 64 bit device). For iPad users you will need a device made in 2013 or later to use the update. iPad Air (original and 2), iPad Mini 2-4, newer iPad Pros and 5th generation iPads will all be updated.

Also receiving a major feature update is the Amazon Alexa system. Alexa has been called the smartest AI on the market and is now the first to bring video capability to the smart speaker system.

The device, called the Amazon Show, will include:

  • Live video and audio calls with other Alexa users.
  • YouTube streaming. (One question that has been asked on a regular basis is if the Show will eventually work with other services like YouTube. The rumor is that it will soon – an agreement between Amazon and Netflix is currently being negotiated).
  • Video/Security system streaming with Netgear Aero. (Just say “show me camera 1”)
  • On screen searches for anything from how to spell a word to karaoke lyrics
  • Full voice recognition and voice control
  • Access to services like Google Calendar, e-mail, and applications.
  • Access to IFTTT (If This Then That) – a service that allows control of devices like televisions, gaming consoles, smart home systems and more with your voice).

The Show works stand alone or with other Echo/Alexa devices. The calling feature isn’t limited to only Amazon Alexa users – anyone can install an app to be able to send and receive both video and audio calls.

William (Bill) Sikkens has been a technology expert for KXL on the Morning Show with Steve and Rebecca since 2014. With an expertise in I.T., cyber security and software design he has had more than 20 years’ experience with advanced technology. Sikkens conceptualizes and designs custom applications for many professional industries from health care to banking and has the ability to explain the details in a way all can understand.

Got a technology question or comment for Bill? Follow him on Twitter @sikkensw

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