At its opening WWDC 2018 keynote, Apple announced iOS 12 — the next major release of its mobile operating system. Building on iOS 11, the upcoming version of the OS features on performance, stability and the digital health of its users by offering tools that will help cut down the amount of time you spend on your iPhone or iPad.
With iOS 12, Apple is “doubling down” on performance. It is working from top to bottom to make the OS faster and more responsive than ever before. Even better, Apple has focused on performance improvement on its older devices. During the keynote, Apple said that it noticed up to 70 percent performance improvements on an iPhone 6 in certain scenarios. In other cases, Apple says the Share Sheet will come up nearly 2x times faster. More importantly, perhaps, Apple says these performance improvements would be applicable across its entire iPhone and iPad range. This also means that iOS 12 will be available on all those devices that were supported by iOS 11.
Apple also announced a major update to its Augmented Reality efforts as a part of iOS 12. For this, the company worked closely with companies like Pixar and Adobe. It has also developed a new file format called USDZ, an open file format, which offers Universal Scene Description and compact file size for easier sharing. Apple created the WYSIWIG file format by working closely with Pixar. The new file format will be supported natively by Adobe in Creative Cloud. It is also working on new apps for creating immersive AR and 3D content.
To show off its Augmented Reality efforts, iOS 12 will come with a new app called Measure. As the name suggests, this app can be used to measure objects around you. The app replicates the functionality of many other measuring apps already found in the iOS App Store.
Apple also unveiled ARKit 2.0 with features like improved face tracking, realistic tracking, 3D object detection, and shared experiences. The last feature means that up to four players can connect to each other share the same AR experience. A demo app from Apple showed two players driving around in a virtual LEGO world and more. The players were also able to save the entire world so that they could resume the game again later on.
The Photos app is getting smarter in iOS 12 with Search Suggestions. You can now search for people, events, objects, activities, and more to help you easily search through your photos. You can even search for places by business name or categories. Search suggestions will also offer sharing suggestions to people you’d like to share photos with. Thanks to face recognition, the sharing suggestion would be to people who are actually in the photos. When a user accepts a sharing invitation, photos from the same event in their library would also be added to the album after their approval. The photos would be shared in full-resolution and would be private with end-to-end encryption.
Siri is getting smarter with Shortcuts. It will automatically suggest you actions depending on your behavior and past actions. For example, if you go to the gym and use a particular app, Shortcuts in Siri would automatically suggest you to open the app. Similarly, if you order coffee every morning from an app on your iPhone, Siri will suggest ordering one every morning for you. There’s no need to open the app and go through the ordering process itself. Siri takes care of everything for you.
There’s also a dedicated Shortcuts app which allows users to create their own shortcuts. You can add a custom phrase to your shortcut so that you can quickly trigger it using Siri. There’s also a gallery in the Shortcuts app where you can download popular shortcuts from other users. The feature is clearly based on Workflow which Apple had acquired last year. Shortcuts are available on iPhone and iPad, though any shortcuts you create will be available on the HomePod and Apple Watch as well.
Apple News, Stocks App for iPad, Voice Memo
Apple has updated the Apple News app with a slightly revamped interface. It now has a new Browse section and on the iPad, there’s a new sidebar to make browsing around in the app easier. The Apple News app is getting Stocks integration, and the new Stocks app is also making its way to the iPad. The voice memo app has also been updated with a new app and it is also making its way to the iPad. All your notes will also be synced across your iPhones and iPads via iCloud.
Apple is also giving the iBooks app a major revamp and calling it Apple books. It also comes with a number of new features. This includes a revamped bookstore and a bigger focus on audiobooks.
Third-party Navigation Apps in CarPlay
Apple is finally adding third-party navigation app support in CarPlay which paves the way for apps like Google Maps and Waze on CarPlay.
Improved Do Not Disturb
The improved Do Not Disturb mode in iOS 12 will block notifications when the mode is active. You can get a quick overview of your unread notifications when you disable the mode though.
iOS 12 is finally adding support for grouped notifications, so multiple notifications from a single app would be merged into one for better usability. Notifications are also getting other improvements. You can now send notifications from the lock screen to the notification center, with Siri now recommending you to disable notifications from apps that you don’t use.
Screen Time, App Limits
In a bid to reduce smartphone addiction, Apple is introducing Screen Time with iOS 12. It gives you insight into the amount of time you spend on your iPhone on a weekly basis with details like your most popular apps, how many times you picked the phone up, and more. Complementing Screen Time is a new feature called App Limits. As the name suggests, it allows you to limit the time you spend on an app. Once the time specified by the user is reached, they are locked out from the app, though obviously if they wish to, they can bypass it. Apple, however, will remind users from time to time about this limit.
iOS 12 comes with a number of new Animojis like T-Rex, Koala, Ghost, Tiger, and more. Animojis now also feature tongue detection thereby allowing you to express yourself better.
Apple is building on Animoji by introducing Memoji. With Memoji, your iPhone will create a new animoji-like character based on your looks. You can also customize your memoji to ensure it looks similar to you.
Group video calls are finally going to be a reality with FaceTime. Even better, it now supports up to 32 participants at once! FaceTime is now also integrated into the Messages app so you can start a Group FaceTime right from a group you had in your Messages app.
You can also use Animoji, AR Stickers, and Memoji during Group FaceTime calls. The feature will also be making its way to the next version of macOS.
What do you think about iOS 12? Were you expecting more improvements from Apple? Or are you happy with the new features and the performance optimizations that Apple is focusing on this year?