By Chand Bellur
July 18, 2020 at 2:29 p.m. PT
- iOS 13.6, officially released on July 15, 2020, is a robust and stable operating system update.
- Apple’s newest update adds a new digital car key feature, enabling the iPhone to unlock and even start supported automobiles.
- Apple News+ features new “audio stories”, offering narrated news stories when reading is not possible or desirable.
iOS 13.6 is Stable and Ready to Install
Unlike most iOS releases, iOS 13.6 enjoys a silent aftermath. Reddit and other platforms for venting frustration are surprisingly quiet after this release. There are some minor reports of features like Face ID operating slower than before. It may be some post-installation optimization happening behind the scenes that is only temporarily slowing down some devices.
The stability of iOS 13.6 is amazing, especially considering how many new, innovative features are in the release. iOS 13 got off to a rocky start, but Apple managed to improve quality without sacrificing functionality. Let’s take a look at some of the new and exciting features in this new release.
Digital Car Keys are a Game Changer
Car keys have come a long way over the past few decades. It used to be easy to lock yourself out of your car, back when car keys were just that — physical keys made out of metal. Over time, car keys evolved into remote controls, capable of unlocking doors, opening windows and trunks, and even starting the engine. Car keys became intelligent enough to prevent users from locking themselves out. All of these technologies are incredible, but Apple takes this one step further with the Digital Car Keys feature in iOS 13.6.
Digital Car Keys are just that — intangible, software-based systems for controlling the next generation of automobiles. The technology allows the iPhone to unlock doors, open windows and trunks and start the engine. Users can also share car keys via iMessages. These shared car keys can impose certain restrictions on the driver, perfect for controlling impulsive teenage drivers. If that’s not enough, users can even remove digital car keys from stolen or lost devices using iCloud.
One of the most amazing features of Digital Car Keys is that you can use the technology even if your iPhone’s battery is dead. Apple implemented a new technology called Power Reserve, which lets users access the Digital Car Keys feature for up to five hours after their device runs out of battery power. Although this feature merely shuts down your iPhone before it has fully run out of juice, it’s still remarkably forward-thinking in terms of human behavior.
Apple-haters despise how the company treats its users like “babies”. At least Apple babies will be able to drive home when their phone runs out of power. I prefer to buy products from a company that treats users with respect and care, rather than one that abuses customers through omnipresent surveillance, with no concern for creating a better user experience.
Digital Car Keys won’t work with most cars. Only one BMW model supports the technology. With Apple involved, however, one can expect widespread support for the technology. Much like CarPlay, automakers will rush to support Digital Car Keys.
Apple News Gets a New Voice
Until this latest iOS update, Apple News seemed to be a service that’s just barely treading water. If Apple News were its own company, it would be considered successful and get lots of funding from “take my money” venture capitalists. The problem is, it’s the product of one of the largest and most powerful tech corporations on the planet. Compared to their other endeavors, Apple News is a failure.
Apple hasn’t given up. Delivering news isn’t just about profitability. When corporations control the narrative, they can shape reality in their favor. This is why wealthy individuals, from W.R. Hearst to Jeff Bezos are so keen on buying newspapers, even if they’re failing.
Apple refuses to give up on Apple News. My own experience is that it’s biased towards Apple, which is precisely the point. Their human curators seem to avoid any deleterious news about Apple. Perhaps it’s a coincidence, but I’ll stick with the PBS NewsHour, The Economist, and other high-quality news sources.
iOS 13.6 gives Apple News a voice. Apple’s newest mobile operating system introduces audio news and a daily rundown of current events. The latter, known as Apple News Today, provides a free, spoken daily news summary. The service also offers narrated news for popular stories; however, these are only available to paying Apple News+ subscribers.
It’s Worth Upgrading to iOS 13.6
iOS 13.6 launched a few days ago, and so far, there have been no reports of egregious bugs. This, combined with some exciting new features, make this a worthwhile update.