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Craig Federighi unveiling iOS 13 at WWDC 2019. Photo: Apple

By the end of its developer conference keynotes, Apple often has users drooling for all the ways their existing iPhones will be better with the next version of the operating system. This year, though, the changes seemed more modest than in years past.

Why it matters: IPhone sales have already been struggling as users keep their devices longer and most people who can afford a high-end smartphone have one.

Yes, but: The more Apple uses software upgrades to improve all iPhones, the less incentive existing owners have to invest in new phones.

  • So in some ways, the ho-hum operating-system upgrade could help Apple sell more iPhones this fall, provided there are hardware improvements.

Details: There are changes to be sure (full list here), including...

  • Significantly improved photo and video editing, Dark Mode and improved Apple Maps.
  • New augmented reality capabilities, Memoji stickers, and the type of tracing keyboard long found on Android devices.

My thought bubble: There just didn't seem to be a killer feature — the kind of thing that made me want to download the beta onto my everyday phone as soon it was available despite warnings not to.

Flashback: Standout features seen in Apple's past annual iOS releases...

  • iOS 12 (2018): Memoji, Screen Time.
  • iOS 11 (2017): AR, peer-to-peer Apple Pay.
  • iOS 10 (2016): Apple Music, Home app.
  • iOS 9 (2015): Apple News, iPad multitasking.
  • iOS 8 (2014): Health app, predictive text, family sharing.
  • iOS 7 (2013): AirDrop, Control Center, redesigned user interface.
  • iOS 6 (2012): Shared photo streams, Siri on iPad.
  • iOS 5 (2011): iMessage, Siri.
  • iOS 4: (2010): Multitasking, app folders, iBooks.
  • iOS 3: (2009): Copy and paste, voice memo, Find my iPhone.
  • iOS 2: (2008): App Store, Exchange ActiveSync for work email.

Go deeper

Updated 3 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

  1. Health: The good and bad news about antibody therapies — Fauci: Hotspots have materialized across "the entire country."
  2. World: Belgium imposes lockdown, citing "health emergency" due to influx of cases.
  3. Economy: Conference Board predicts economy won’t fully recover until late 2021.
  4. Education: Surge threatens to shut classrooms down again.
  5. Technology: The pandemic isn't slowing tech.
  6. Travel: CDC replaces COVID-19 cruise ban with less restrictive "conditional sailing order."
  7. Sports: High school football's pandemic struggles.
  8. 🎧Podcast: The vaccine race turns toward nationalism.
Dan Primack, author of Pro Rata
Updated 3 hours ago - Economy & Business

Dunkin' Brands agrees to $11B Inspire Brands sale

Photo: Alexi Rosenfeld/Getty Images

Dunkin' Brands, operator of both Dunkin' Donuts and Baskin-Robbins, agreed on Friday to be taken private for nearly $11.3 billion, including debt, by Inspire Brands, a restaurant platform sponsored by private equity firm Roark Capital.

Why it matters: Buying Dunkin’ will more than double Inspire’s footprint, making it one of the biggest restaurant deals in the past 10 years. This could ultimately set up an IPO for Inspire, which already owns Arby's, Jimmy John's and Buffalo Wild Wings.

Ina Fried, author of Login
5 hours ago - Technology

Federal judge halts Trump administration limit on TikTok

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

A federal judge on Friday issued an injunction preventing the Trump administration from imposing limits on the distribution of TikTok, Bloomberg reports. The injunction request came as part of a suit brought by creators who make a living on the video service.

Why it matters: The administration has been seeking to force a sale of, or block, the Chinese-owned service. It also moved to ban the service from operating in the U.S. as of Nov. 12, a move which was put on hold by Friday's injunction.