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Apple debuts iOS 17 with new AI-powered features, Journal app, smart display option

Apple (AAPL) announced the latest version of its iOS operating system that powers the iPhone during its Worldwide Developers Conference in Cupertino, California, on Monday.

The latest version of iOS, called iOS 17, will bring a host of improvements to the iPhone including updates to the Contact app, a Journaling app, and a Standby mode that lets the iPhone act as a desk-side display.

The first update is Apple's new personalized Contact Posters. Now you can add full-screen photos or memojis for your contacts rather than the small images that are currently displayed. Contact Posters will appear when you get a phone call and on the Contact card in your Contacts list. You customize the poster by adding your favorite image and can select a font and color.

Apple announced new features that will be coming to iPhones in iS 17.
Apple announced new features that will be coming to iPhones in iS 17.

Apple is also adding live transcriptions of voicemails. So when a caller is leaving a voicemail, you'll now see what they're saying as they speak. This way you can see what the call is about without having to answer. If it's an important message, you can then immediately pick up, or just let the person continue leaving the message.

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Speaking of messages, FaceTime is also getting an update in the form of the ability to leave video messages for people if they aren't available for a call.

Messages, meanwhile, is getting a new search feature that allows you to filter your searchers in Messages. Replying inline is also easier by simply swiping on the appropriate text's button. You can also share locations directly in a text.

A new feature called Check In will allow you to send a person a notification when you get home or your destination. If something unexpected happens, the app recognizes that you're not on your way home, and ask you if something happened. If there's an issue, the app will send a message to your friend or family member.

Apple is also making improvements to AirDrop, including the ability to connect between people, share a video, and then leave the area while still being able to send the file you're sharing. This way you don't have to be right next to someone if you're sharing a large video or series of photos.

Apple's iOS 17 says that autocorrect is now getting a transformer language model to improve the feature's accuracy. Thanks to Apple Silicon processors, it runs the model every time you touch a key. Sentence correction can also fix sentence errors. Apple also says that it will finally allow autocorrect to learn a word, so no more accidentally typing "ducking" when you didn't mean to.

Speech typing also gets a transformer update to improve overall accuracy.

Journal, a new app, is also coming to iOS 17 later this year. Using on-device machine learning, the app will provide suggestions based on things you've done whether that's from photos, music, location, podcasts, workouts, and more.

Some prompts are personalized and some are meant to get your thinking to prompt you to start journaling. The app will also give you prompts when you start putting together an entry. If you put in photos of the beach, and location, the prompt will ask what you enjoyed most about the trip to get you noodling about the experience.

Apple is also adding a feature called Standby that turns your iPhone 14 Pro into a smart display when left overnight. You'll be able to see your information about schedules, photos, the score of your favorite team's latest game, and notifications for things like food deliveries. At night, Standby changes the display to a red clock.

Siri is getting an update so that you no longer have to say "Hey, Siri," but rather simply say "Siri." You'll also be able to issue commands back to back.

Finally, an update to the Photos app will enable the software to recognize your four-legged family members as individuals and tag them appropriately in your library.

iPadOS 17

Apple's iPadOS 17 also gets plenty of updates. There's a new customizable lock screen, and the Health app is finally coming to Apple's best-selling tablet.

PDFs should get easier with iPadOS 17 thanks to the addition of a new auto-field detection, which will show the areas where you need to write in information, allowing you to fill out forms from your iPad.

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PDFs are also available in Apple's Notes app, giving you the ability to annotate PDFs or collaborate with others via the app. IPadOS 17 is adding the ability to let you use your secondary monitor's camera as your main webcam, as well.

Naturally, iPadOS 17 will also get many of the same features as iOS 17.

Apple's iPhone is the company's most important product. It serves as the catalyst for growing the tech giant's user base, which allows it to offer a host of additional devices and services ranging from the Apple Watch and AirPods to Apple TV+ and the Apple Card.

It's also responsible for the lion's share of Apple's sales. In 2022, the iPhone produced $205.5 billion of Apple's $394.3 billion in overall sales. That blows away the company's second-largest business segment, services, which brought in $78.1 billion for the year. Apple's wearables, Mac, and iPad businesses, meanwhile, brought in $41 billion, $40 billion, and $29 billion, respectively.

Apple is largely expected to launch the latest version of iOS alongside the next generation of the iPhone during its annual iPhone event in September.

Daniel Howley is the tech editor at Yahoo Finance. He's been covering the tech industry since 2011. You can follow him on Twitter @DanielHowley.

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