We've been crying out for information on what might be included in Apple's forthcoming iPhone 8 – and we might have got our biggest teaser yet.
While the company isn't expected to officially launch the phone until September, chief executive Tim Cook this week took to the stage to unveil its new iOS 11 operating system.
Billed as a “major update to the world's most advanced mobile operating system”, iOS 11 looks set to bring lots of new features to devices including the iPhone and the iPad.
For example, a new platform has been introduced for developers to enable them to bring high-quality AR experiences to iPhone, using the device's motion sensors, powerful processors and built-in camera.
ARKit has been designed to help developers “tap into the latest computer vision technologies to build detailed and compelling virtual content on top of real-world scenes for interactive gaming, immersive shopping experiences, industrial design and more”.
Craig Federighi, senior vice president of software engineering at Apple, commented: “With iOS 11, we’re delivering the biggest AR platform in the world, and it’s available today for developers to begin building AR experiences using ARKit for hundreds of millions of iPhone and iPad users.”
Another exciting feature of iOS 11 is the ability to pay friends using Apple Pay – a quick, easy and secure method of making and receiving payments.
The new operating system also includes a function designed to help drivers stay more focused on the road.
The Do Not Disturb feature lets your iPhone detect when you might be travelling, so any notifications are automatically silenced and the screen stays dark.
Users can also set up their device to send an automatic reply to selected contacts letting them know they are driving and unable to reply until they reach their destination.
This could significantly reduce the chances of drivers being tempted to check their phone while travelling, helping them stay on the right side of the law and improving road safety significantly.
Apple has also made improvements to its Siri personal assistant service, which is now accessed by more than 375 million active devices across 36 countries every month.
Incorporating the latest innovations in artificial intelligence and machine learning, the new version of Siri features more natural and expressive male and female voices, with changing intonations, pitches, tempos and emphases.
Siri can also translate English words and phrases into other languages, including Spanish, Italian, German, French and Mandarin.
Furthermore, it uses on-device learning to make tailored suggestions based on a person's usage of News, Safari, Mail and other apps.
The iOS 11 operating system also offers exciting developments for keen photographers. Portrait Mode images can be taken with optical image stabilisation, while the photo function also includes HDR and True Tone flash, allowing people to take more professional-looking shots.
Additionally, new Loop and Bounce effects have been added to Live Photos, so people can create continuous video loops, while Long Exposure allows time and movement to be captured.
Memory movies will also be optimised to play in both portrait and landscape orientation, while the High Efficiency Image File Format reduces the file size of images captured on an iPhone 7 or iPhone 7 Plus.
“iOS 11 gives iPad users the powerful app functionality they need to take advantage of everything iPad is capable of and brings hundreds of new features and incredible updates to the iOS apps iPhone and iPad users enjoy every day,” Mr Federighi added.
We should possibly stress that the new operating system will not support older models such as the iPhone 5.
This means that people with these devices might be forced to upgrade to a newer model or perhaps switch to a device based on another operating system.
Otherwise, they won't receive the latest security and performance updates from Apple, which might impact on their user experience in the future.
It will be interesting to see which option proves most popular among smartphone users.