Don’t crucify me Android lovers! I know some of you angrily clicked on the link to this article to rip me another one, but listen to me first – I’m one of you. I have Samsung Galaxy Note 20 Ultra and it’s packed with features that the latest iPhone, despite boasting the world’s most powerful mobile processor, can’t match.
When a bar with chatty patrons and wall-shaking music is too loud, I yank out my S Pen, write my drink order on the display, and show it to the bartender. The relieved looks on their faces are priceless, as if to say, “Thanks for giving me a break from lip reading and ‘Huh?!’ again and again.”
Can the iPhone without a stylus do this? I did not think!
Google Assistant and Bixby are my digital servants—er, I mean “assistants”—that listen to my commands, whether it’s launching an app, setting alarms and timers, playing fun games, reading bedtime stories tell and much more. Siri, on the other hand, is a lazy chick. If it were my real au pair, Siri wouldn’t heed my request to vacuum my carpet—she’d crudely text me a Roomba instruction manual instead.
I can always go on and on about why Android has an edge over iOS when it comes to this to travel, I change my tune. at WWDC 2022Apple showed the new iOS 16 Features coming to iPhone later this fall, and as someone with a bad case of travel bugs, the Cupertino-based tech giant may have tempted me to the dark side.
With incredible upcoming updates to Apple Wallet, Maps, and Live Text, iPhone is looking increasingly enticing to hodophiles, digital nomads, and other frequent travelers
iOS 16 features that might tempt Android owners to switch
I bet Apple’s software development team is full of globetrotters who have encountered frustrating issues while traveling – and they tried to solve those headaches with updates to iOS 16. Many of the inconveniences I’ve encountered when traveling abroad seem to be resolved with Apple’s new focus on bringing more travel-friendly features to the iPhone.
Below are the new iOS 16 features that might tempt you to make iPhone your daily driver, especially if you travel frequently for pleasure.
Translate text in photos and videos
Imagine you are vacationing in an exotic place where you can neither speak nor read the language, but you want to taste a delicious cultural dish in a restaurant frequented by locals. The waiter gives you the menu but it looks like hieroglyphs. You panic because you don’t want to order the wrong appetizer. Thanks to Live Text, you can take a picture of the menu, highlight the unfamiliar words and get a translation from a foreign language into your native language.
Sure, you can also do this on Android via the Google Translate app, but Apple plans to go a step further and extend live text to video for iOS 16. I had an experience where I recorded a tour of a town and when I got to the hotel to check it out I found interesting signs, advertisements and awnings – all with words I didn’t recognize. This is where live text shines in video; I can translate the words in my videos on the fly.
Multistop routing in maps
Yes, I’m one of those weird, overly meticulous planners who create itineraries that flesh out every single step they take at the destination. So Apple’s new multistop routing feature is music to my ears; It allows users to plan up to 15 routes in advance. Let’s say I’m in Iceland and I want to visit a popular spot with hot springs, feast my eyes on majestic glaciers and marvel at a cascading waterfall. I can put all of these locations in Maps so I can follow directions from point A to point C. I know, I know – this is a feature Google Maps has been offering for years, but with Apple, the search engine finally moving with the times, the giant should be shaking in its boots!
Additionally, thanks to iOS 16, users have the ability to view past routes in Recents, making it easier to get quick directions to places you’ve already been. Nothing is more annoying than constantly typing in your hotel or AirBnB address, so this is a total time saver for frequent travelers.
Finally, Apple updated Maps to give users estimates of how much the transit will cost them. For some locations, Maps will also prompt you to add transit maps to Apple Wallet.
Digital documents in Apple Wallet
The MacBook maker left nuts with Apple Wallet this year, making it more travel-friendly than ever. It’s clear Apple envisions a world where physical paper documents are a thing of the past. In the perfect world of the Cupertino tech giant, as long as you’ve got your phone, you can fly past checkpoints with ease.
We’re not there yet, but with every major iOS update, we’re getting a step closer. For example, residents of Arizona and Maryland can now enter their driver’s licenses and IDs into Wallet — and Apple mentioned that it’s currently working on rolling out this cool feature to 11 more states.
I was overjoyed when Corey Fugman, Apple’s senior director of merchant solutions, said, “The first locations are accepting now [Apple] Wallet IDs are select TSA security checkpoints.” I will celebrate the day when I can just show my passport through my phone instead of searching for it in my pocket. TSA is a nuisance to many, but with Apple’s digital verification strategy, those sluggish airport lines should move faster.
Easier sharing of hotel keys
I’ve been to hotels that offer apps that allow guests to open their rooms with a digital key. However, in my experience, the process has been choppy. During a recent trip to Hawaii, my Android couldn’t open my hotel room door with my digital key, but luckily I had a physical key card that worked just fine.
Currently, guests can add keys for select hotels and resorts to Apple Wallet — and I can’t help but wonder if that’s a more efficient process. For iOS 16, Apple said it has made key sharing easier by allowing users to send digital room keys to friends and family via Mail, Messages and WhatsApp.
As an avid AirBnB user, I suspect that in the future short-term rental owners will have the ability to send digital keys to guests via iOS Key Sharing. Once the guest leaves, the owner can remotely deactivate the key. This makes it much easier for holidaymakers to check in.
I’m not fully on board the iPhone train carriage just barely. I’ll have to test these features to see how well they work in practice once iOS 16 launches later this year. But as it stands now, Apple has positioned the iPhone as a more attractive device for backpackers and tourists.
I mostly use google based apps to navigate in foreign countries with unfamiliar languages but my patience is wearing off with them. In my experience, Google Translate can’t pick up fast-speaking locals, Google Assistant is inconsistent, and Google Maps often doesn’t “see” my orientation relative to the map. I’m willing to experiment with iOS 16 and see if it can make my travels more seamless.