• Apple’s first iOS 14 beta isn’t expected to be released until June, and it’s likely still on track despite the inevitable cancellation of WWDC 2020 due to the novel coronavirus outbreak.
  • A pair of Apple blogs have managed to find sources who have gotten their hands on an early internal build of iOS 14, and they have been leaking several new features over the past few days.
  • One such blog is called MacRumors, and it published several reports overnight that describe five key features coming to Apple’s next-generation iOS 14 software.
  • Visit BGR’s homepage for more stories.

There’s no question whatsoever that 2020 is shaping up to be a huge year for Apple in terms of new product releases. While the impact of the novel coronavirus that originated in Wuhan, China could severely limit new availability and even delay some release dates, Apple is still expected to release a slew of new products this year. Highlights include a new iPhone 9 (which could also be called “iPhone SE 2” or simply “iPhone”) is expected to debut later this month with the iPhone 8’s design, many of the iPhone 11’s key specs, and an affordable price tag that starts at $399. New iPad Pro models are also expected in the coming months, as are new MacBook Pro laptops, a new Apple TV, and more. Then, later this year in September, Apple is expected to show off not three but four new completely redesigned iPhone 12 models. The handsets are expected by top Apple insider Ming-Chi Kuo to include two iPhone 12 models with different sized screens, as well as two iPhone 12 Pro models with different display sizes. New Apple “AirTags” like Tile trackers could also be released alongside the iPhone 12 series.

New Apple hardware is always exciting, of course, but there’s another key aspect of Apple’s business that might be even more exciting. IOS is also updated each year, and the update will be obtained by far more Apple customers than new hardware devices. Hundreds of millions of current and new Apple device users will gain use iOS 14 in the years following its release, and now a slew of new features that are coming to iPhones in iOS 14 just leaked.

It appears as though a few app developers have managed to get their hands either on an early iOS 14 beta, or on code that will eventually make its way into the first iOS 14 beta. They have been digging into the code and sharing their findings with a pair of Apple blogs, and we have learned some interesting new things about iOS 14 as a result. One finding included the first-ever image of Apple’s upcoming new over-ear headphones, and another leak revealed several new features coming to iPhones, iPads, and the Apple Watch. Now, a series of new reports published by MacRumors reveals several new iOS 14 features that were previously unknown.

The reports were all published in the early hours of the morning on Tuesday, and they describe new iOS 14 features that are reportedly in development at Apple. There’s no guarantee that all of the new features the blog describes will make it into the first iOS 14 beta that Apple will likely release this coming June, but MacRumors has a solid track record and its sources are often reliable. With that in mind, it’s likely that the new iOS 14 features revealed in these reports are indeed in development at Apple.

iOS 14 handwriting recognition

The first MacRumors report covers an awesome new feature that could be hugely useful to millions of iOS device users. Dubbed PencilKit, the new feature will involve a pop-up window that appears above the rest of the UI when a user taps into a text box with an Apple Pencil stylus. The user can hand-write text in the pop-up window and iOS 14 will use OCR technology to automatically convert written words into typed text. The report claims this new feature is currently available in the iOS 14 beta across “any text input field available in iOS,” including third-party apps.

Mentions in iMessages

Is Apple planning to take on Slack? According to MacRumors, the company is testing a new mentions feature in iMessage. This would allow a user who is participating in a group message to type the @ symbol in the Messages app to pop-up a list of users in the conversation. Mentioning a specific user could then notify only that specific person when the message is sent, or there could be an option in the conversation’s settings that would only notify users of new messaging when they are mentioned.

Ability to recall iMessages

In the same report, MacRumors describes a new iMessage feature currently being testing in iOS 14 that would allow people to recall messages they have already sent. When a sent message is recalled, a note would appear in both the sender’s conversation timeline and in the recipient’s timeline indicating that a message has been recalled. Also of note, MacRumors says that this feature and other new iMessage features could be made available in both iOS 14 and in the upcoming new version of macOS that Apple will release this year.

Apple fitness app

Apple is working on a brand new fitness app, MacRumors claims, and it will tie in with the rest of the features available in Apple’s various Health apps. The app is said to be codenamed “Seymour” internally at Apple, though it will likely be called Fit or Fitness when it launches in iOS 14. Details are slim for the time being, but the report notes that Apple’s new fitness app will include downloadable workout videos that can guide the user through different workouts on the iPhone, iPad, or Apple TV. A version of the app will also reportedly be made available on the Apple Watch in watchOS 7, and it will tie in with the main app.

Custom voice synthesizers

Auto-Tune on your iPhone? Sadly no, but there’s another nifty new feature that could be coming to iPhones if MacRumors’ final report of the night is accurate. The blog says that Apple is working on a new feature in IOS 14 that would allow developers to build custom voice synthesizers for iOS apps. Using an API framework called VoiceProvider, developers would be able to offer additional voices and additional languages as add-ons for their iOS apps. The report notes that this feature is currently in the early stages of development so it might not make it into the first iOS 14 beta, or even into iOS 14 at all.

Zach Epstein has worked in and around ICT for more than a decade, first in marketing and business development with two private telcos, then as a writer and editor covering business news, consumer electronics and telecommunications. Zach’s work has been quoted by countless top news publications. He was also recently named one of the world's top-10 “power mobile influencers” by Forbes, as well as one of Inc. Magazine's top-30 Internet of Things experts.