Apple has announced iOS 14 onstage at WWDC 2020, giving the first (official) look at the latest version of its software for the iPhone, and it’s bringing the biggest change to the iOS home screen in years: widgets.
Widgets come in a variety of sizes and can still be viewed in the Today view, but in iOS 14, Apple allows widgets to be added to the main Home screen to live right alongside your apps. To add them, there’s a new “widget gallery” where users can easily add and customize widgets. There’s also a new “Smart Stack” widget that automatically shows relevant apps based on the time of day.
Apple also announced a new “App Library” view that automatically organizes apps into groups and lists. Thanks to that new App Library view, Apple allows users to now hide apps on their “main” home screen. It looks pretty similar to Android’s app drawer, but with some additional smart grouping features — like automatically pulling out all your Apple Arcade games into one batch.PICTURE-IN-PICTURE VIDEO IS COMING TO IOS
In another new feature, Apple is adding system-wide picture-in-picture to iOS videos. Much like on macOS, videos will hover over apps and can be adjusted in size or collapsed into the side of the display to continue playing in the background. It’ll also work with FaceTime calls, too.
Apple is also launching a new “App Clip” feature, which are speedy, card-based snippets of apps that let you access small parts of apps when you need them without requiring users to install a full app. Examples given included accessing a parking app through an NFC tag, or a coffee store’s reward program. App Clips support Sign In With Apple to avoid having to make new accounts, can be accessed again through the new App Library, and work with Apple Pay. To go with App Clips, Apple is launching a new QR-code format that uses both visual codes and NFC to access App Clips quickly.
Also coming in iOS 14: the long-requested option to users to set their own default email and browsers, although Apple hasn’t provided too many details on how that works just yet.
Siri also has a new view: instead of taking over your whole screen when you activate the digital assistant, there’s just a small overlay at the bottom of the display of the animated Siri icon. There are also new features: Siri can now send audio messages in addition to just dictated messages.
Similar, incoming phone calls and FaceTime calls will also appear with a less obtrusive new pop-up, instead of taking over the entire screen.
Apple also announced a new Translate app that will be built into iOS, which — much like Google Translate — will allow users to easily translate between languages. Users will be able to enter text in or dictate messages and have them translated into 11 languages. English, Mandarin Chinese, French, German, Spanish, Italian, Japanese,Korean, Arabic, Portuguese, and Russian will all be supported at launch.
Messages is also getting new features: in iOS 14, you’ll be able to pin important contacts and conversations to the top of the Messages app to easily talk to your favorite friends or group chats. There are also new Memoji accessories — including an apt face mask option. Apple is also adding new threaded conversations in group chats and mention notifications to ping specific people in the chat.
Apple Maps is getting new, curated guides from companies like Zagat or AllTrails to give better recommendations for new places. Maps is also getting support for cycling, with dedicated directions for bike-riding that takes into account elevation, bike paths, stairs, and roads. Cycling will launch in NYC, LA, San Fransisco’s Bay Area, Shanghai, and Beijing. There’s also a new EV Routing feature, which will track the current charge of your car, factor in elevation and weather, and route you to compatible stations. Apple’s working with BMW and Ford, although no specific cars were announced.UNLOCK YOUR CAR WITH YOUR IPHONE
CarPlay is getting support for custom wallpapers and new app categories: parking apps, EV chargers, and fast food takeout apps. Apple is also adding support for NFC car keys with iOS 14, with the 2021 BMW 5 Series set to be the first to support the feature. NFC passes are stored in Apple’s Secure Enclave for security and can be shared to other iOS users, giving them temporary access to your vehicle. The new car key feature will also be coming to iOS 13, and to make sure you won’t get locked out of your car, it’ll use a special power reserve feature to allow access up to five hours after your phone has died.
The Home app is also getting new features, including support for “Adaptive Lighting,” which allows for compatible smart lights to adjust color temperature over the course of the day, and facial recognition for HomeKit security cameras.
There’s also a host of smaller features, too. Safari on iOS 14 will now inform you if one of your passwords has been leaked in a data breach, similar to Chrome. Developers now have an option to share subscriptions through Family Sharing. Game Center is getting a new design. And there’s a new “Sleep mode” that turns on do-not-disturb, dims your phone’s screen, and shows your upcoming alarm for morning.
The last few iOS updates have been very hit-or-miss, with last year’s notoriously problematic iOS 13 following the incredible solid (from a performance standpoint) iOS 12, which in turn brought much-needed stability to the buggy iOS 11.
iOS 14 will be out this fall, but a developer preview will be available to Apple Developer Program members starting today, with plans for a public beta for all iOS users in July. iOS 14 will work on the iPhone 6S and up — the same devices that supported iOS 13.
Parents Working From Home: 10 Productivity Hacks
Do you want to become a more productive work-from-home parent? A recent Yahoo Finance/Harris Poll showed that about 40% of Americans were working full-time from their homes due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The option for parents to work via virtual offices using PCs, email, and IM platforms might seem like a practical way to be strictly business at boosting work productivity. Is it the real deal?
The problem is many telecommuting parents might experience new challenges. These include ones related to getting kids ready for school, meals, or bed; flexible work schedules; and Netflix binging. Ironically home-based parents can experience a drop in work efficiency. That’s right!
When doing a balancing act of job and family life here are some helpful tips & tricks:
Tip #1 Make a Home-based Workspace
If you’re going to work from home then it’s important to create a workspace that’s dedicated to your job. There are lots of home-office ideas you can try out.
Keep It Simple
When designing your workspace keep in mind it doesn’t have to include a $200,000 Spiral Desk with several exotic woods. Your home office setup could be as basic as a small desk and laptop computer in the corner. Another good option is a garden summerhouse if you happen to own one.
One of the main benefits of having an official working space is it’s easier to shift into work or home mode.
Tip #2 Get up Earlier for Quality Me-Time
If you’re a stay-at-home mom or dad then consider getting up a little earlier. You should still be getting a full 7 to 9 hours of sleep every night after you pick a mattress that suits your sleeping needs. This means you should be catching Zs a little earlier.
One of the main benefits of waking up early for virtual workers is you’ll have more time for yourself.
You can spend this time taking a warm bath or shower, drinking your morning coffee or tea, or doing some light exercise. A home is quieter early-morning even if you have kids. This makes it an ideal time for more “me time.” It’s also a good mood-booster before you start pulling double duty as a working parent.
Tip #3 Set Realistic Goals You Can Usually Achieve
If other telecommuting friends make social media posts showing they’re achieving all their work, home, and family goals every day—then it might be too good to be true. A clean house, home-cooked meals, and successful business are all possible but it’s more complicated than Instagram photo-sharing.
Set Goals and Get Help
Make sure to set realistic goals as a working parent. They can be challenging but ones you’re likely to achieve with some effort and planning. You should also complete one item at a time on your to-do list and get help when needed.
Tip #4 Get Virtual Help from Distant Relatives
If you have isolated or lonely relatives they might be willing to help through social media like Facebook or virtual assistants like Alexa, Siri or Google Assistant. This could be for an hour or two daily. For example, a faraway grandparent could help your little one with schoolwork and answer questions.
This frees up time for at-home parents to meet work deadlines and hold Skype or Zoom meetings, for example. If you have a few free relatives who help your kids for 2 hours, for example, that frees up several hours you can dedicate to weekly reports or client calls.
Tip #5: Say ‘No’ to New Work When Necessary
This is a classic lifehack that’s usually related to general time-management advice. An irony is that parents often have to tell their kids “no” when they make a request. However, they often don’t give the same reply about their own workload when they’re already swamped.
Studies show that parent burnout affects up to 12% of Mommies and Daddies, according to Frontiers in Psychology.
Every day you should compare your to-do list with your available time. If you get a professional or personal request that doesn’t fit within your daily schedule then you should say “no.”
Tip #6 Plan out Your Working Hours
Many home-based workers mistakenly don’t schedule their workday. A better approach is to make a schedule and aim to stop working at the traditional 5:00 PM. If you finish earlier then it frees up more family time.
Weekly Work Times
Try to avoid the mentality that you have all day to finish your work. Yes, you have flexibility to work during times that you’ll be the most productive. That could be early morning, late evening, or a few hours here and there between preparing meals for your kiddos and picking them up from school.
Try to create a weekly schedule that includes your working times. This will help to prepare you for a busy day like an excellent mattress selection.
Tip #7: Do Regular Exercise during the Morning
How could taking a morning jog or lifting weights boost work productivity? Home-based working parents tend to spend a lot of time sitting and standing.
Exercise can provide many health benefits that involve your:
- Blood Flow
Doing morning exercise can help to prepare you physically, mentally, and emotionally for a busy day handling your work and familial responsibilities. This can make you a more effective (and healthy) stay-at-home parent.
Tip #8: Avoid Working in Front of Your Kids
This isn’t something you’ll be able to achieve 100% of the time and especially if your kids are toddlers. However, it’s a general rule to make sure you’re 100% “present” during family time.
It all starts with scheduling quality time with your kids during the day. This will help to make sure you’ve scheduled time to be present from the get-go.
When you’re around your kids, try to avoid doing tasks like answering emails or taking calls. Even sitting in front of your computer can blur the lines between work and family life. One of the best steps to take is to close the door of your home office when you’re working.
Tip #9 Be Flexible with the New Setup
While it’s good to make daily schedules and to-do lists, it’s also important to go with the flow. There are times you might have to take work calls during family time. Your work schedule might also change suddenly. The key is to stay flexible about the “new normal.”
Tip #10: Outsource Work When You Can
When you’re an at-home working parent, it might seem that your work never ends. Try to get help when you can from friends, family, or food delivery/cleaning services. You could even outsource some of your job’s work, like data input or design work.
Working from home can be a practical option for many parents. The key to more productivity is to create things like daily schedules, yet be flexible for on-the-fly changes during the day. This provides the perfect blend of planning and spontaneity. You’ll then be more likely to get everything done on your to-do list, including video meetings, soccer practice pick-up, and a good night’s sleep.
About the Author
Brett is a writer at ID-Mag. An enthusiast and expert when it comes to sleep products, Brett dedicates a lot of his time reading, researching, and reviewing about both traditional and emerging sleep brands that manufacture varied types of sleep products – from eco-mattresses, smart pillows to cooling sleep systems, Brett has probably reviewed them all. Brett also finds sleep especially important since he juggles a small business which he runs from home, makes sure he spends time with his daughter and he also writes during his spare time – you can definitely see that he needs a great forty winks all night, every night so he’ll make sure that you get great sleep, too!
Monster Hunter: The Movie content is coming to Monster Hunter: The Game
The upcoming Monster Hunter movie doesn’t exactly look like the most faithful adaptation of the games, centering as it does around a gun-toting US Army soldier played by Milla Jovovich, but that’s not stopping Capcom from engaging in some cross-promotion. Downloadable content based on the movie is coming to Monster Hunter World: Iceborne next month.
You’ll be able to embark on a two-part event quest featuring the Black Diablos and Greater Rathalos, two monsters featured in the movie, and special bonus items will be available. There’s also a player skin based on Jovovich’s character Captain Artemis, which you can see in action here:
It’s all very Street Fighter: The Movie, which was an actual video game Capcom released in 1995.
The themed content will come to Iceborne on December 4th ahead of the movie’s US premiere on December 25th. An all-new Monster Hunter game, Monster Hunter Rise, is being released exclusively on the Nintendo Switch on March 26th.
GOOGLE’S TASK MATE WILL ALLOW YOU TO EARN MONEY BY DOING “SIMPLE” THINGS!
Google is currently testing a new application dubbed Task Mate for its Android platform. While the name point towards some kind of automation tool, that’s actually not the case. According to a report by 9to5Mobile, Task Mate is an application that allows users “to earn money by doing simple tasks on your smartphone”. Sounds like Google Opinion Rewards but it’s actually not. Task Mate seems to be more of a toned up version of the former.
TASK MATE IS CURRENTLY ONLY AVAILABLE TO SELECTED TESTERS!
As mentioned earlier, Task Mate is currently in the early access testing phase where Google has kept the access “limited to select users”. The search engine giant is following a referral code system meaning more testers might be able to join using the referral code by an already tester. Although you can download the application from Google Play Store, you can not proceed further without a referral code.
Unlike Google Opinion Rewards, Task Mate allows users to “cash out the earning” by linking an e-wallet or an in-app payment partner. For those who’re unaware, the Opinion Rewards only gives Play Store credit in exchange for completed tasks. Furthermore, Google is not limiting the tasks to its own services. With Task Mate, it will showcase tasks that originate from “business around the world”. According to Google, the tasks that need to be completed are fairly “simple”.
Google has categorized the tasks into two namely “Sitting” or “Field Tasks”. As the name suggests, the former consists of tasks that you can complete without moving while the latter requires you to walk. Basically, “Field Tasks” will track how many minutes you have to walk. For instance, Google might ask you to go to a particular location nearby and take a photo of a business presence there. For Sitting, some of the tasks include “Record spoken sentences”, “Transcribe sentences” and “Check shop details”.
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