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Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

After a couple weeks of developer-only testing, Apple has made available a public beta version of iOS 14, the software that will power iPhones starting this fall.

Why it matters: The early release gives early adopters and developers ample time to find bugs ahead of the full release, as well as a chance to play around with the new features announced in June.

Among the key features of iOS 14:

  • The home screen gains support for widgets, small apps that live on the home screen itself. There are also new options for displaying and sorting home screen icons designed to make life easier for those who have lots of apps downloaded, many of which get used only occasionally.
  • A new built-in translate app can convert text or voice among any of 11 languages.
  • The iPhone now supports picture-in-picture, allowing you to watch a movie while using other apps.
  • It also includes new privacy features, such as letting you know whenever the camera or microphone is in use.

Apple also released a test version of the next iPadOS, which is based on iOS14, but with some extra features designed for the tablet's larger screen. Among the new iPad features are:

  • support for handwriting recognition when using Apple Pencil;
  • a sidebar for more easily finding menu options;
  • and enhanced augmented reality capabilities.

Yes, but: The usual caveats apply. Beta software isn't for the faint of heart. Backup before you install the beta and, ideally, run it on something other than your main device.

Go deeper: Apple announces iOS 14, shift to homegrown chips for the Mac

Go deeper

Ina Fried, author of Login
Updated Oct 13, 2020 - Technology

Apple debuts 5G-capable iPhone 12, cheaper HomePod

Photo: Apple

Apple introduced a lineup of new iPhone models Tuesday, all with 5G support, as well as a smaller, cheaper version of its HomePod speaker

Why it matters: Apple's events may not be as drama-packed as they once were, but the iPhone remains the most important product in Apple's lineup and a bellwether for the broader industry.

Hope King, author of Closer
Updated 8 mins ago - Economy & Business

Peloton pumps its brakes

Data: FactSet; Chart: Axios Visuals

Peloton’s popularity is falling as swiftly as it shot up.

Why it matters: Not all pandemic habits stick around. Peloton's trajectory over the past two years exemplifies how challenging it's been for companies to gauge shifts in consumer demand — particularly in sectors heavily altered by the pandemic.

Mitch McConnell's remarks on Black voters raise ire

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell during a Capitol Hill news conference earlier this year. Photo: Anna Moneymaker/Getty Images

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) has been widely criticized for comments he made this week about Black American voters.

Driving the news: When asked by a reporter Wednesday about concerns among voters of color, McConnell said "the concern is misplaced, because if you look at the statistics, Black American voters are voting in just as high a percentage as Americans."

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