What’s new in IOS 12?
As usual, there were a lot of leaks about WWDC this year. Most sources stated that iOS 12 was going to be a minor update; instead of packing many revolutionary features into the release, Apple focused on major improvements in the performance and stability of iOS.
While iOS 12 did not bring any major design changes, it is still a major upgrade - especially for users with older phones. As Vice President of Software Craig Federighi claimed, Apple is “doubling down on performance.” With apps launching 40% faster, the camera opening 70% faster, and the system keyboard opening 50% faster all on devices as old as iPhone 6 Plus, Apple is taking major steps towards providing a smoother experience for all of its users. In fact, that was one of the largest selling points of iOS 12. This iOS is capable of running on devices ranging from the iPhone 5s to the iPhone X and the new devices coming out this September. But iOS 12 isn’t just about performance; the new OS brings some highly anticipated features to the IPhone and IPad.
Group notifications is a feature that many iOS users have been waiting for. Previously, notifications in iOS were disorganized as notifications piled up and gave the lock screen a clustered, chaotic feel. Finally, Apple has listened to consumer feedback and has taken steps to improve the notifications experience in iOS 12. Now, iOS will group your notifications by app and display a stack of notifications with the number of notifications listed on that stack. So, you can now decide whether or not you want to deal with a certain situation just by glancing at the number of notifications. Another feature is the ability to get rid of all the notifications from an app at once. It gave iOS users exactly what they wanted - an organized lock screen.
Animoji and MeMoji
With the success of Animoji in iOS 11, Apple has added several new consumer favorites: a ghost, koala, tiger, and tyrannosaurus rex. Additionally, the TrueDepth camera will now be able to detect and track tongue movement in iOS 12.
Although improvements to Animoji were much appreciated, Apple’s new personal Emoji maker, MeMoji, stole the show. Memoji may seem like a carbon copy of Samsung’s AR Emoji or Snapchat’s Bitmoji. However, MeMoji’s facial tracking and overall aesthetic differentiate it from it’s predecessors . With MeMoji, you can customize your hair, skin tone, eye color, and a host of other options to get the right look. You can add this MeMoji onto your face when taking a selfie, which makes for some very fun pictures. Now, users have the option to use their Animoji’s and MeMoji’s during FaceTime calls as well.
With iOS 12, Apple introduced Group FaceTime, yet another feature consumers have been waiting for. Now, you can FaceTime with up to 32 people. However, when multiple people are in a call, it might be difficult for people to recognize who is speaking. To solve this issue, Apple’s algorithm recognizes the speaker is and brings their video to the front of the screen. This useful feature is just one of many introduced in iOS 12.
With young adults spending an average of 5 hours on their phones every day, tech companies have started to take the initiative, introducing software that helps people regulate their screen time during the day. When Screen Time was introduced during WWDC, Apple addressed many of the same concerns as its competitor Google. Essentially, Screen Time allows you to set a timer for the maximum amount of time you want to be using a certain app. The software also gives you a weekly report that is filled with information about the time you spend on your phone, such as the number of times you opened a certain application, the amount of time you spent on it, and the number of notifications you received from each app. Armed with this knowledge and insight, people can make decisions about their behavior and habits on their iPhone. Although the feature may seem like a waste of space to some, it has good intentions, and if used effectively, it can be immensely helpful.
With iOS 12, Apple has embraced Augmented Reality as a cornerstone of its identity, expanding on the AR capabilities of iOS 11. For instance, Apple introduced a new file format in collaboration with Pixar called Universal Scene Description Zip (USDZ). This new format allows for users to look at an object in AR with the correct proportions relative to real time surroundings. As Federighi states, It is “something like [an] AR quick look.” Many notable companies including Adobe have also embraced this new file format and have started incorporating it into their applications for iOS 12. Apple is also featuring a new app coming to iOS 12 - Measure. This application uses iOS 12’s heightened AR capabilities to accurately measure distances and lengths in the real world. Apple hopes to lead the way in terms of AR and become the preferred platform for any future apps or games that are focused around AR. ARKit 2, introduced along with iOS 12, takes a huge step towards accomplishing this goal as it now allows for multiple devices to view the same AR object or event from separate perspectives. This can be useful when creating multiplayer AR games (like the one featured during the keynote) and applications.
Although most of the operating system itself did not receive any major design changes, some apps such as Stocks, Apple News, Voice Memos, and iBooks will be changing quite a bit. Apple News is getting a whole new Browse tab, making it easier to find “new titles, browse top charts, curated collections, and special offers,” according to Apple. Stocks is receiving a major upgrade as it will now support after-hours stock prices and will display relevant economic news curated by Apple News editors. The Voice Memos app is also receiving a minor design change along with iCloud syncing. This new feature will be especially useful since the Voice Memos app is coming to the iPad. The last application change will be coming to iBooks, which will now be known as Apple Books in order to make it more recognizable. Apple is making it easier than ever to discover new titles with a new Book Store tab in the app.
When Siri was first introduced to the world by Steve Jobs, it was a revolutionary piece of tech. For the first time, one could speak to a personal assistant inside your device. It fulfilled many people’s dreams of having their own personal robotic assistant. However, as time went on, people wanted more functionality, more personality, and more versatility in their smart assistants. Soon, Siri could not keep up with the competition; Amazon’s Alexa and Google’s Assistant were far ahead of Siri. Even when comparing the HomePod to the Amazon Echo or Google Home, the former seems to lack the ability to do many tasks. Thus, many people were relieved when they saw the Siri logo on the presentation screen at WWDC. With iOS 12, Siri gains several useful features, the most notable of which is “Shortcuts.” With Shortcuts, you can associate certain verbal cues with certain actions. For instance, if you say, “Going Home,” and in the Shortcuts app, it will be able to direct Siri to book you an Uber, automatically set the iHome or smart thermostat to a certain temperature at a certain time, and text my friend to remind them to make dinner - all when you say the words “Going Home” on Shortcuts.
Another interesting detail was Apple’s willingness to open Siri to third party developers in order to enhance the overall experience. Now, developers are able to add support for Siri shortcuts and let Siri perform tasks within the app. Siri will also be getting new voices in different dialects - which shows Apple’s desire to appeal to different cultures and markets around the world. Although iOS 12 helps bridge the gap between Siri and its competitors, it still lags behind them in terms of capabilities. However, it is encouraging to see Apple embracing feedback from its users.
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