The preliminary iOS 14.4 beta features a new characteristic that was first demonstrated throughout Apple’s iPhone 12 occasion. The brand new characteristic particularly pertains to the HomePod mini and its U1 Extremely Wideband chip that permits for spatial consciousness. An iPhone geared up with the U1 chip can work together with Apple’s diminutive good speaker in new methods on iOS 14.4. Watch our hands-on walkthrough as we discover the up to date Handoff expertise and different iOS 14.4 beta modifications and options.
What’s new in iOS 14.4 beta?
New Handoff expertise for HomePod mini
The most important new change is, after all, the brand new Handoff expertise that involves the HomePod mini. Not like the full-sized HomePod that’s been obtainable for a couple of years, the brand new HomePod mini comes geared up with new expertise, corresponding to Apple’s U1 Extremely Wideband chip. The U1 chip permits for spatial consciousness, so an iPhone with this chip can profit from richer close by interactions with different merchandise geared up with the U1 chip, such because the HomePod mini.
Apple determined to raise the Handoff expertise, which beforehand relied on exact placement of your iPhone close to the HomePod. In comparison with the extra boolean interplay of the outdated technique, the HomePod mini and iPhone 11/12 working the newest iOS 14.4 betas are capable of create intuitive spatial interactions with each other.
Video: iOS 14.4 Adjustments and Options
With the earlier Handoff interplay, customers would merely maintain their iPhones close to the highest of HomePod to switch audio or cellphone calls to or from the system. A small banner notification would seem on the prime of the iPhone’s display indicating that Handoff was profitable. Now not is Handoff relegated to a small banner notification on the prime of the iPhone, however now customers can get pleasure from a full card interface that pops into view because the iPhone strikes nearer to the HomePod mini.
How the brand new Handoff expertise works
When you transfer a media-playing iPhone nearer to the HomePod mini, you’ll really feel the system’s Taptic Engine go to work. At first, drive suggestions is refined, however as you progress your iPhone nearer to the HomePod mini, the suggestions ramps up. To associate with the drive suggestions, visible aptitude is employed as effectively. When it senses an iPhone shut by, the HomePod mini LED illuminates. As you progress nearer, the sunshine grows in depth.
A visible notification seems on the iPhone finish within the type of a banner. The banner exhibits the identify and placement of the HomePod mini, together with a HomePod glyph, miniature album paintings, artist, and monitor title.
Customers have the choice of merely tapping the banner to manually invoke the full-sized Handoff interface, or transferring the iPhone nearer to the HomePod mini, which is able to trigger the Handoff interface to pop open routinely. The brand new Handoff expertise works with the Music app and different kinds of media sources, corresponding to YouTube. Cellphone calls are additionally Handoff-eligible with the brand new and improved expertise.
The up to date Handoff interface gives massive album paintings, transport controls, quantity controls, and an AirPlay button to reroute audio. Tapping the album paintings opens the supply audio utility in your iPhone.
Music might be transferred each methods — from the HomePod mini to the iPhone, or from the iPhone to the HomePod mini. A Switch to iPhone or Switch from iPhone button seems on the prime of the Handoff interface, however performance has been hit and miss for me to date.
The up to date U1-enabled Handoff expertise remains to be early, nevertheless it exhibits promise. Extra importantly, it’s one of many first user-facing options that takes benefit of the U1-chip present in at present’s iPhones. Though Apple mentioned throughout its iPhone 12 keynote that the brand new Handoff expertise would ship to clients by the top of the 12 months, it’s unlikely that it’ll capable of make good on that promise contemplating that that is simply the primary iOS 14.4 beta. Nonetheless, it’ll be enjoyable to look at this characteristic develop over the following few 14.4 beta releases.
Shortcuts app Set Wallpaper motion updates
The return of the Set Wallpaper motion within the Shortcuts app was certainly one of my favourite new options in iOS 14.3, and Apple has not solely stored it round in iOS 14.4, nevertheless it’s actively bettering on it. Within the iOS 14.4 beta, customers can now toggle Perspective Zoom for wallpaper utilizing a useful on/off swap. This feature offers customers the power to allow or disable the parallax impact that seems on wallpaper set by Shortcuts.
VoiceOver Direct Contact Apps
Lastly, VoiceOver acquired a brand new Direct Contact Apps characteristic, which is able to enable VoiceOver customers to manage an app straight with out requiring extra interplay. The same characteristic already exists for direct typing enter on the keyboard inside apps, however this looks like it should take that one step additional, lending VoiceOver customers extra flexibility inside chosen apps.
From my temporary hands-on time with Direct Contact Apps, it doesn’t seem that the characteristic is totally baked, as choosing an app in Settings → Accessibility → VoiceOver → Rotor Actions → Direct Contact Apps, doesn’t stick. We’ll observe up as soon as extra betas are launched with extra particulars.
The brand new Handoff expertise is the standout characteristic within the preliminary iOS 14.4 beta. Right here’s hoping that extra Apple gadgets start to undertake the U1 Extremely Wideband chip, as a result of it’s what makes attention-grabbing new options like this doable. What do you assume?
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