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

Jul 31, 2020 - Technology

Big Tech's take grows as economy tanks

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

While the rest of the U.S. economy was falling off a cliff, Big Tech saw its business soar.

The big picture: Thursday morning, government economists reported a 30% drop in GDP for the second quarter — the largest decline, by far, since the numbers have been reported.

A quandary for state unemployment agencies

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

State agencies charged with paying unemployment benefits to jobless residents have their backs against the wall as they rush to parse President Trump's executive actions on coronavirus aid.

Why it matters: States are being asked to pitch in $100 per unemployed resident, but it’s a heavy lift for cash-strapped states that are still unclear about the details and may not opt-in at all. It leaves the states and jobless residents in a state of limbo.

Updated 39 mins ago - Health

New Zealand reports first local coronavirus cases for 102 days

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern after a press conference at Parliament on July 22 in Wellington, New Zealand. Photo: Hagen Hopkins/Getty Images

AUCKLAND, New Zealand — Auckland is locking down and the rest of New Zealand faces lesser restrictions for 72 hours after a family of four tested positive for COVID-19, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern announced Tuesday.

Why it matters: It's the first cases not in managed isolation for 102 days, Ardern said at a news briefing.