I geek out a little bit when I see new features for my iPhone and iPad. They come around every couple of years and change the way I use those devices. In recent years Apple added Live Photos and one year even gave us Siri. Monday Apple was at it again with the new iOS11 and boy this one has some cool changes as well.

The update won't be available to the general public until this fall but I just couldn't wait that long. I've been using iOS11 for the last 24 hours just to see what it's all about and to show you first-hand what to expect. Here are my favorite features that includes one Apple did not even talk about.

#1 You know when you're sending an email or typing out anything on the device how you have to keep hitting the shift button to change to a number? With iOS11 that's a thing of the past. Rather than needing to tap 'shift', just touch the key and swipe down to select the number. Numbers and special characters are placed above each letter; the 'y' key has the '6' above it and 'z' also displays the '%' sign. I could swipe down on either key to choose one or the other. I found this to be the biggest time-saver and one I've already used several times.

#2 If I'm in an airport or mall I've found myself searching for a place to eat. Rather than searching for a guide display inside the building you can now use Apple Maps. Within the app you can visit several larger airports and malls and see exactly where restaurants and shops are located. It even uses directions to walk you where you want to go.

#3 For everyone who runs out of space on their phone because of hundreds of photos and videos stored on the device, you will love Apple's new encoder. That's a tech word for how Apple saves media. A new video encoder, (h.265) is said to record better video but in a smaller file size. That means more photos and videos taking up a smaller amount of storage. iMessages are automatically saved to the cloud rather than on your device, saving even more space. Recent messages remain on the phone or tablet but archived ones can be accessed in your
personal iCloud.

#4 The App Store has a totally new design. It's cleaner with more white space. When you open the app you immediately see a 'Today' homepage with new apps listed. There's a Games tab and an Apps tab with featured apps and they've also put articles about apps on the Today page. The articles feature news or tips on how to use popular apps.

#5 Apple didn't mention this Monday but I found a screen-record feature. By tapping on a red button in the control panel, the device automatically starts recording whatever is on your screen. Seems this will be helpful to record Skype or Facetime video calls. The files are saved within the Photos app and can be shared on social media, messaging or email. Apple prevents users from recording streaming video from Netflix, Amazon Prime, Google Play or even YouTube. 

Many of the new features in iOS 11 will be available on the iPad Pro but some will work on iPhones. You'll have a chance to try it yourself later this fall after developers get a chance to start building apps optimized for the new operating system and after testers look for bugs that need to be fixed before the public release.