Saturday, March 6, 2021
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iOS 14.4 beta changes and features – HomePod mini gets new U1-assisted Handoff experience – 9to5Mac

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The initial iOS 14.4 beta includes a brand-new feature that was very first demonstrated during Apples iPhone 12 event. The brand-new function specifically relates to the HomePod mini and its U1 Ultra Wideband chip that enables for spatial awareness. An iPhone equipped with the U1 chip can communicate with Apples diminutive smart speaker in new ways on iOS 14.4. Enjoy our hands-on walkthrough as we check out the upgraded Handoff experience and other iOS 14.4 beta modifications and features.

Whats brand-new in iOS 14.4 beta?

New Handoff experience for HomePod mini

The biggest new change is, naturally, the new Handoff experience that concerns the HomePod mini. Unlike the full-sized HomePod thats been readily available for a couple of years, the new HomePod mini comes geared up with brand-new technology, such as Apples U1 Ultra Wideband chip. The U1 chip permits spatial awareness, so an iPhone with this chip can benefit from richer neighboring interactions with other products geared up with the U1 chip, such as the HomePod mini.

Video: iOS 14.4 Features and modifications

Apple decided to elevate the Handoff experience, which formerly relied on exact placement of your iPhone near the HomePod. Compared to the more boolean interaction of the old approach, the HomePod mini and iPhone 11/12 running the most recent iOS 14.4 betas have the ability to create intuitive spatial interactions with one another.

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With the previous Handoff interaction, users would simply hold their iPhones near the top of HomePod to move audio or call to or from the gadget. A small banner notice would appear at the top of the iPhones screen suggesting that Handoff achieved success. No longer is Handoff relegated to a small banner notice at the top of the iPhone, today users can delight in a complete card interface that pops into view as the iPhone moves closer to the HomePod mini.

How the brand-new Handoff experience works

The upgraded U1-enabled Handoff experience is still early, but it shows promise. Its one of the first user-facing features that takes advantage of the U1-chip found in todays iPhones. Although Apple stated throughout its iPhone 12 keynote that the brand-new Handoff experience would ship to consumers by the end of the year, its unlikely that it will able to make excellent on that guarantee thinking about that this is simply the very first iOS 14.4 beta. Nonetheless, itll be fun to watch this feature grow over the next couple of 14.4 beta releases.

If you move a media-playing iPhone closer to the HomePod mini, youll feel the devices Taptic Engine go to work. In the beginning, force feedback is subtle, however as you move your iPhone closer to the HomePod mini, the feedback increases. To go along with the force feedback, visual flair is employed. When it senses an iPhone close by, the HomePod mini LED lights up. As you move closer, the light grows in strength.

Users have the alternative of just tapping the banner to by hand invoke the full-sized Handoff interface, or moving the iPhone closer to the HomePod mini, which will trigger the Handoff interface to pop open immediately. The brand-new Handoff experience works with the Music app and other kinds of media sources, such as YouTube. Phone calls are also Handoff-eligible with the new and better experience.

A visual notice appears on the iPhone end in the form of a banner. The banner reveals the name and place of the HomePod mini, in addition to a HomePod glyph, mini album track, art work, and artist title.

Music can be transferred both methods– from the HomePod mini to the iPhone, or from the iPhone to the HomePod mini. A Transfer to iPhone or Transfer from iPhone button appears at the top of the Handoff user interface, however functionality has actually been hit or miss for me therefore far.

The upgraded Handoff user interface offers big album artwork, transport controls, volume controls, and an AirPlay button to reroute audio. Tapping the album art work opens the source audio application on your iPhone.

Shortcuts app Set Wallpaper action updates

The return of the Set Wallpaper action in the Shortcuts app was one of my favorite new functions in iOS 14.3, and Apple has not just kept it around in iOS 14.4, but its actively enhancing on it. In the iOS 14.4 beta, users can now toggle Perspective Zoom for wallpaper using an useful on/off switch. This alternative gives users the ability to allow or disable the parallax result that appears on wallpaper set by Shortcuts.

VoiceOver Direct Touch Apps

VoiceOver got a brand-new Direct Touch Apps feature, which will allow VoiceOver users to control an app directly without needing more interaction. A similar function currently exists for direct typing input on the keyboard within apps, but this appears like it will take that one step even more, lending VoiceOver users more flexibility within picked apps.

From my short hands-on time with Direct Touch Apps, it doesnt appear that the function is totally baked, as choosing an app in Settings → Accessibility → VoiceOver → Rotor Actions → Direct Touch Apps, does not stick. As soon as additional betas are launched with more details, well follow up.

9to5Macs Take

The brand-new Handoff experience is the standout function in the initial iOS 14.4 beta. Heres hoping that more Apple gadgets begin to embrace the U1 Ultra Wideband chip, due to the fact that its what makes intriguing new functions like this possible. What do you believe?

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Users have the option of just tapping the banner to by hand conjure up the full-sized Handoff interface, or moving the iPhone closer to the HomePod mini, which will cause the Handoff interface to pop open instantly. Apple stated during its iPhone 12 keynote that the new Handoff experience would deliver to clients by the end of the year, its unlikely that it will able to make great on that guarantee considering that this is simply the very first iOS 14.4 beta.

The preliminary iOS 14.4 beta consists of a brand-new function that was first shown during Apples iPhone 12 event. An iPhone geared up with the U1 chip can engage with Apples small smart speaker in brand-new methods on iOS 14.4. No longer is Handoff relegated to a little banner notice at the top of the iPhone, however now users can delight in a complete card interface that pops into view as the iPhone moves closer to the HomePod mini.

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