Apple reveals iOS 12 – The big upgrades

Apple has unveiled iOS 12 at its WWDC 2018 conference in San Jose, California.

The company stated that 81% of active iOS devices are currently running the latest version of iOS, and it expects this trend to continue.

It stated that iOS 12 will double down on performance, making devices faster and more responsive.

And it’s not just new devices which will benefit, as Apple said iOS 12 will be available on all the same devices as iOS 11 is.

Apple has also focused on making sure older smartphones will receive big performance improvements from the operating system update.

This includes improved processor performance, which now peaks quicker when it is needed, and then ramps down quickly to save battery life.

Augmented reality

A standout improvement coming to iOS 12 is upgrades to its augmented reality functionality.

This includes Apple working with Pixar to create a new file format – called USDZ.

USDZ works on all Apple devices, and Adobe will provide native USDZ support in its Creative Cloud suite.

A new app called Measure was also introduced, which lets users measure real-life objects with their smart device.

By tapping and “drawing” a line with the app and your device’s camera, it provides measurements of 3D objects like a suitcase – in inches and centimetres.

ARKit 2 was also unveiled at the event, along with an improved Photos app featuring better search functionality.

The new search functionality will use image recognition to find or group photos by recognising events, actions, and genres.

Search will also add a “For You” upgrade, which shows photos from a user’s important moments.

Siri shortcuts

In iOS 12, Apple will allow apps to expose shortcuts to Siri. This lets users assign phrases to an app – which opens the app when the phrase is spoken.

An example is saying “where are my keys” to have an app open which locates your car keys.

A new Shortcuts app will also allow users to make their own Siri shortcuts to multiple apps.

Siri will also provide new suggestions, such as prompting a user to turn on Do Not Disturb on their phone when entering a movie.

Another example is if Siri detects you are running late for a meeting, it will suggest that you message the person who is hosting the meeting.

More upgrades to apps in iOS 12 includes:

  • Stocks and Voice Memos coming to the iPad.
  • A newly-designed Apple Books app, for ebooks and audiobooks.

Screen Time

For heavy users, iOS 12 will provide weekly activity reports for how a user spends their time on their iPhone and iPad – including how often you pick up your device and which apps consume most of your time.

Users can then set time usage limits per app, giving them a notification if they reach a daily time usage limit.

Parents can also create “Allowances” for their children’s app usage, set by app type or individual apps.

Apple then unveiled an upgraded Do Not Disturb mode for during bedtime, which hides notifications during a user’s bedtime in case they wake up and look at their phone.

Do Not Disturb can now also be used for a set time period.

Grouped Notifications were also announced, with notifications grouped by topic or type on a user’s lock screen.

Memoji and FaceTime

Closing off the iOS 12 presentation was the unveiling of Memoji – personalised emoji based on a user’s appearance which can be customised – and FaceTime upgrades.

FaceTime will support group calls going forward, with calls supporting up to 32 simultaneous users.

This includes a new dynamic user interface which shows all callers in a group FaceTime video call as tiles which adjust in size and position, depending on who is talking.

FaceTime has also been integrated into Messages, so a group message can be turned into a group FaceTime call.

Availability

The developer preview of iOS 12 is available to Apple Developer Program members today.

A public beta will be available to iOS users later this month.

iOS 12 will then be fully available in the coming months as a free software update for:

  • iPhone 5s and later.
  • All iPad Air and iPad Pro models, iPad 5th and iPad 6th generation, iPad mini 2 and later.
  • iPod touch 6th generation.

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Apple reveals iOS 12 – The big upgrades