At WWDC last month, Apple announced iOS 12, the OS that will be powering this year’s iPhones and iPads. The OS won’t be released until later this year, but you can try it for yourself right now by downloading the public beta. Here’s 7 of the best features to try out.
FASTER PERFORMANCE EVEN FOR OLDER DEVICES
“With iOS 12, we’re doubling down on performance” said Apple Senior VP of Software Engineering, Craig Federighi. Surprisingly, Apple is putting much of its efforts into improving the performance of older devices like the iPhone 6s. So even on older devices, compared to iOS 11, apps will launch 40 percent faster, the keyboard will launch 50 percent faster, and even the camera will load up to 70 percent faster. Apple has worked on how apps area launch, fine-tuning the CPU to run at peak speeds when it’s under load.
MULTIPLAYER AUGMENTED REALITY (AR) AND SHARED VR SPACES
Apple announced the second version of ARKit, its AR software toolbox for developers. ARKit 2.0 brings a variety of new tools to developers, like improved face tracking, better 3D object recognition, and best of all shared VR experiences. That means you’ll be able to inhabit the same VR space as other users - so for example, you can play the same game in AR or share and work on the same virtual document. Lego will be a big partner for Apple moving forward with VR, so you can look forward to building virtual Lego kits with up to four of your friends in the near future. Apple also announced a new file format for AR it has co-developed with Pixar called USDZ, which will work in multiple applications, including Adobe’s Creative Cloud. Apple wants to make it easy for you to be able to drop any 3D object from an app into the “real world”, like a toy or lamp or character, and USDZ has been built to make it easier for app developers to implement this into their apps.
Animoji will now include more emojis such as a koala, ghost, tiger, and a T-Rex. But, Apple is also taking on Samsung’s AR Emoji with Memoji, a feature that lets you make an animoji of yourself. Customization options for skin tone, hairstyles, facial features, and accessories like sunglasses are available and they look more comprehensive than Samsung’s version, so hopefully Memojis won’t look exactly the same again. Finally, Animoji now also has tongue-tracking technology. So, when you stick out your tongue, your animoji will too. What a time to be alive.
A new Screen Time feature will tell you exactly how you’re using the phone, how much time you’re spending on apps, and what apps you use the most. You’ll be able to view a report that should help you manage your screen time. You’ll also be able to set restrictions on the amount of time you can use an app per day. If this sounds familiar, it’s because Google just announced the same thing for Android P. Parents will also get screen time reports from the devices their children use, and they’ll be able to set up time limitations for categories and individual apps.
iOS 12 will let you further customize the way you interact with notifications. Grouped notifications are also finally coming to iOS, with notifications grouped by app, topic, and/or thread. The Do Not Disturb during bedtime feature is also getting an update that will prevent notifications from showing up on the screen. When it’s morning, you’ll get all of your notifications as per normal. The feature also now has an ending time in Control Center to make it easier to use.
SIRI APP SHORTCUTS
Siri is getting a new feature called Shortcuts. You’ll be able to add Shortcuts from your favorite apps to Siri, and choose a key phrase to activate it. Federighi demoed this on stage with the Tile app, using the phrase “I’ve lost my keys”. So when he said, “Siri, I’ve lost my keys,” Siri automatically opened the Tile app and started buzzing his Tile. Siri will also offer you automated suggestions based on your actions and daily routine. For example, if you go to a movie, Siri can remind you to turn your phone to silent. She’ll also prompt you to call your mom on her birthday.
FACETIME WITH UP TO 32 PEOPLE AT THE SAME TIME
A minor, but posibly the most used addition, FaceTime now gets a Group FaceTime option, which lets you add up to 32 people into a video group chat. FaceTime is integrated into iMessage too, which means you can transition from iMessage to FaceTime at any time. The app will automatically recognize who’s talking, and the video stream showing the person currently talking will be brought to the front. You’ll also be able to use Animoji in FaceTime chats.
PICTURES 123RF, APPLE