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.

Updated 2 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

  1. Politics: Chris Christie: Wear a mask "or you may regret it — as I did" — Senate Democrats block vote on McConnell's targeted relief bill.
  2. Business: New state unemployment filings fall.
  3. Economy: Why the stimulus delay isn't a crisis (yet).
  4. Health: FDA approves Gilead's remdesivir as a coronavirus treatment How the pandemic might endMany U.S. deaths were avoidable.
  5. Education: Boston and Chicago send students back home for online learning.
  6. World: Spain and France exceed 1 million cases.

Early voting eclipses 2016 total with 12 days until election

People stand in line to vote early in Fairfax, Virginia in September. Photo: Tasos Katopodis/Getty Images

Americans have cast more than 47.1 million ballots in the 2020 presidential election, surpassing the total early-vote count for 2016 with 12 days left until Election Day, according to a Washington Post analysis of voting data.

Why it matters: The election is already underway, as many states have expanded early and mail-in voting options because of the coronavirus pandemic.

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