A month ago, Apple debuted a few upcoming products and features for the existing models during the Worldwide Developers Conference 2023. From the keynotes presented, we can expect Apple to deliver Apple Vision Pro, MacBook Air 15”, Mac Studio, Mac Pro, and most importantly — iOS 17. These are all expected to arrive sometime this Fall, but the keynote we are all waiting for is none other than the iOS 17 itself. So, the question remains, what does iOS 17 offer us students, specifically?
- Standby Mode
- Contact Posters
- Personal voice
- Mood tracking and journaling
This is the most highlighted feature during the iOS17 keynotes. A feature that the higher-end Android smartphones have, soon to be available on all iOS devices. Think of it as a bedside clock, or a side display on your study desk. It highlights glanceable information without needing to grab your phone and turn it on, saving you from both time and procrastinating (we know how easily we can be distracted the moment we grab the phone — work goes “bye-bye”).
Combine the feature with “Smart Stacks”, and you will have a personalised widget as the phone display during Standby Mode. Maybe you want to listen to music, for example, so you can set the phone to display a music widget so you do not have to turn on the phone to pause or skip music (sometimes the FaceID would automatically unlock your phone upon turning it on, too, deliberately leading to procrastination again). Or, perhaps you just prefer to save yourself and your money from buying a bedside clock, so you can use your phone as an alternative.
The display offers both the virtual clock and calendar, so you can keep up-to-date (get it, ‘date’? Sorry) with the events for the upcoming days. Siri also works well in Standby Mode, so you can have quick info as you work on something else.
Buy yourself a phone stand, and you can have a mini desk assistant. Fancy, is it not?
This is another fun feature to have. Personalisation has always been the most requested feature amongst iOS users, and when such features roll out, we cannot deny that they go well across all iOS devices. Personalised lock screens and wallpapers were all the rage in iOS16, and now they are pampering us even more with the option to personalise each of the contacts when they call.
What do students have to do with this?
This is a feature most probably enjoyed by both teenagers and young adults. We like customising our devices to ‘reflect’ our personalities, no? Plus, there is an existing feature where we can customise the profile photo of our contacts, so we can cherish them more. But, if we can customise our OWN contact profile — we can show off to people how we want ourselves to appear. Maybe you want to show off your new selfie photo, or a new photo taken at a dinner event (maybe you look fabulous in the photos taken). You can set this up as your contact poster.
It offers more control over your recognition. I would say this is more of a trivial feature that offers customizability rather than functionality, but it is still a fun feature to play with. Expect endless calls from your friends when this feature rolls out.
iMessage has tons of updated features waiting to be released on iOS 17. We are used to the slight inconvenience of swiping the application bar to find different applications and sharing them on iMessage before. Surely there could be a better way to access these apps simultaneously, no? This is where the update rolls in. Mostly-used applications are now accessible on the iMessage with the ‘+’ button, so it is a much quicker alternative than swiping underneath the text message bar to find the application you often use.
There is also a “check-in” feature, where you can allow your friends and families to be automatically notified whenever you have arrived at a designated place. More often than not you forget to text your parents whether you have arrived at the campus, or to tell your significant other if you have arrived home safely (and a fight ensued after), no? Jokes aside, this is a niche feature to help put your close ones at ease.
Other trivial yet useful features of the new iMessage include a swipe-to-reply feature (finally), search filters, location sharing, audio transcription, and stickers organisation and synchronisation.
All the more reason to boast that blue text, yeah?
This is not spoken much during the keynotes, but it is one of the unique features that will be added in iOS 17. Think of an A.I. voice of yourself — that is basically what Personal Voice is. In the update, there will be an option to turn this on under accessibility → Personal Voice → Create a Personal Voice.
The Personal Voice feature is intended for those who are at risk of speech loss or speech difficulties. Having such a feature would enable them to do what they otherwise could not. It is a niche feature to have your phone have a generated voice A.I. of yourself. Picking up and carrying out calls with your voice may just be what is needed when you are having a fever and not feeling well enough to speak during class meetings.
Bear in mind that whilst the Personal Voice may be useful, the voice generated still sounds robotic and processed as appeared in the software update test carried out by multiple YouTubers (probably to prevent issues related to identity theft and security loopholes). So you cannot think of a way to completely play truant from meetings and have to be present to contribute to your group work. A.I. is indeed just a tool, not a replacement.
Mood Tracking and Journaling
This is definitely one of the best highlights in iOS 17, for iOS users who often writes a lot in the Notes application. Apple has finally released a digital diary/journal that allows users to create multimedia snapshots of their day. Journal entries, according to Apple, can include text, images, people, places, or even Apple Fitness activities and even music.
There are several Journal applications out there for those who love writing — be it personal thoughts, events, or ideas — namely Daylio, Day One Journal, Momento, Moodnotes, and Journey, to name a few. But to have a native application from iOS itself that allows the users to do exactly the third-party applications offer is indeed welcoming. Combine this with the Health application, and you will have a nice track record of your average mood monthly.
Plus, instead of looking up class notes and suddenly coming across some personal notes you intend to keep to yourself and all the memories — good or bad — come flushing in (believe me, some of us have done this), it is better to keep things organised and write down personal thoughts in the Journal app instead. There is no mention of transferring notes from the Notes application directly to the Journal application, however, but that remains to be seen. No longer do we need to keep both personal and class notes in the same application, yes?
iOS 17 is rolling out some fun features to experiment with, especially for the younger generations. There are plenty of other features that will be coming in the Fall as well, including Live Voicemail, Live Stickers, FaceTime updates, Interactive Widgets, AirDrop updates, Keyboard updates, Password Sharing, and more. Whilst some of the existing features in Android only exist in higher-end models, all of the offered features in iOS 17 are compatible with all iPhone devices that are capable of running iOS 16 (iPhone X and newer).
So if you are still using iPhone SE (2nd gen), or iPhone X, the future software update is still applicable for you to enjoy its benefits. Overall, iOS 17 is a major update that offers a wide range of new features for all iPhone users, whether for a young person who loves to experiment with new technology or an older user who just wants to stay up-to-date.