Apple has released the first beta of iOS 17.4, giving us a sneak peek at the new features coming to iPhones. While only available for developers at this point, the beta provides insight into the changes users can expect when iOS 17.4 officially launches.

New Features Of iOS 17.4?

Alternative App Stores for EU Users

One of the biggest additions is alternative app stores for European Union users. As part of the Digital Markets Act, the iOS 17.4 beta allows EU users to download apps from third-party stores and directly from developers. This greatly opens up app distribution options beyond just the Apple App Store.

New In-App Purchase Rules

Along with alternate stores, the iOS 17.4 beta introduces new rules around in-app purchases and communication with users in the EU. Apple aims to provide more clarity around options for payments, subscriptions, and data collection.

Streaming Game Support

The beta enables streaming game services like Xbox Cloud Gaming and Nvidia GeForce NOW to be offered as standalone native apps. Previously, these were limited to web apps due to restrictions on streaming game services.

Over 100 New Emoji

iOS 17.4 adds support for the latest emoji release, introducing over 100 new emoji characters ranging from shaking face, pressing face, pink heart, goose, pea pod, and more.

Expanded SharePlay Support

SharePlay, the feature that enables shared experiences around media via FaceTime, expands beyond just iPhone. iOS 17.4 beta brings SharePlay integration to Apple TV and HomePod for Apple Music.

Transcriptions in Apple Podcasts

The Podcasts app gains transcription support, automatically generating text transcripts for podcast episodes. Users can also search podcasts using text.

Siri Reading Messages in More Languages

Siri’s ability to announce messages is expanded to more languages – Spanish, French, German, and Mandarin Chinese. More languages will likely be added before the official release.

These are just some of the key additions in the first iOS 17.4 beta. The update appears to focus heavily on new user features for EU users, accessibility, and refinements across Apple’s apps and services. The public release can be expected in early 2024.