Apple’s annual World Wide Developers Conference (WWDC) started today, and because it’s the biggest Apple event of the year, there are always heaps of software-focused announcements. This year is no exception to that, and here we’ve written up all the announcements about iOS from WWDC18.
iOS this year is all about performance, making your device faster and more responsive. What’s awesome is that the new iOS 12 is coming to iPhone and iPad devices from 2013 until current day devices — all the same devices that iOS 11 was sent out too! Apple is focusing on making the older iOS devices work great with the new software, too. This hasn’t always been the case, so it’s good to see Apple making iOS a great experience on new and old devices.
Augmented Reality (AR) is a big area of focus for Apple in the past few years. This year starts off with their new file format — called USDZ — that allows augmented reality files to be created and shared across devices by a variety of programs and apps. Another announcement is their new Measure app, that is what you think it is: a tool for easily measuring objects with your phone. This isn’t something entirely new to the AR world, as Google’s AR platform has been able to do this but from what we can tell, Apple’s implementation is more solidly built.
A new experience in their AR Kit platform is the opportunity for shared experiences; allowing multiple people to experience the same AR world at the same time and interact with common objects. They even brought a Lego representative to WWDC to demonstrate how one Lego kit can be the base of an AR, animated Lego experience. A single Lego creation can serve as the base of an entire town that you can play and interact with, even with friends. It takes the physical aspect of a traditional Lego kit and brings it to a whole new level — something that AR is perfect for.
The iOS Photos app is the primary way for you to browse and find your precious memories that you’ve shot on iOS devices. This year, they’ve made some small improvements to the app, including search refinements and a new “For You” tab which very well replicates the Assistant tab seen in the Google Photos app. They’ve also added an easy way to share photos between you and friends with suggested sharing features.
Siri is “the most-used digital assistant,” but it’s not the best one out there — by far. Apple is making Siri more useful this year, including better integration with third-party apps through a feature called Shortcut. This allows you to say “find my keys” to trigger the Tile app installed on your phone. There’s also the Siri Suggestions feature which integrates several apps together (along with some common sense and frequent actions) to provide suggested actions. Say you have a Calendar event for a meeting at 10am, and you’re running late for it, Siri will suggest you send an iMessage to that person saying that you’re running late.
You can think of the Siri Shortcuts app as voice integrated IFTTT app, where you can set up a series of custom actions across your phone that can be activated with a simple voice command. It works across iPhone, iPad, Watch, and HomePod.
During the Keynote, Apple touched on a couple of their popular apps. They’re making some small updates to News, Stocks, Voice Memos, Books apps. Both Stocks and Voice Memos are also coming to iPad users. The biggest update comes to Apple Books (yes, that’s right. No more iBooks), with a major design overhaul and a new Reading Now section.
A new update also is coming to CarPlay: support for third-party apps! That means you can use Google Maps with your fancy CarPlay system. Thank. Goodness.
Apple has finally approached the difficult barrage of too many notifications with a new suite of features for controlling and understanding your hectic lifestyle. The first is new do not disturb features, including smarter management settings and a nice night time and morning mode that hides your notifications until you specify. There’s now support for adjusting notification settings from the lock screen.
More importantly, grouped notifications is now a thing! It’s something that the community has been asking for years on end. No more will those 50 iMessages from your group clog up your lock screen, you can now swipe them all away.
If you really want to have some serious insights into how much time you spend on your phone or in various apps, you can now view app reports on all your phone or tablet usage. This is super helpful for lots of people, as you now have analytics right in the operating system instead of relying on third-party apps. These features extend to entire families, allowing parents to control usage of their children’s devices.
Animojis were Apple’s highlight of their iPhone X last September, and now they’ve added four new Animojis (tiger, koala, t-rex, and ghost) as well as a tongue detection feature. What’s more, they’ve added Memoji — essentially Bitmoji that now acts like Animojis. You can customize every aspect of your Memoji, and share them it in iMessage.
They’ve extended those features to the camera, too, so you can use your Memoji live in the camera app and take pictures with stickers and your Memoji layered over the real you.
Facetime has long been Apple’s video messaging app, but it’s been limited to two people. That all changes now: you can add up to 32 people to one Facetime call. It integrates nicely with the iMessage app, so you can turn a text chat into a video chat easily. It automatically will bring the people who are talking to the front, although you can manually bring someone into view. Plus, you can use camera effects live in the Facetime call. Yes, that means you can look like a Koala while talking with your friends.
That’s all when it comes to iOS 12! Stay tuned for the rest of our WWDC18 coverage here at YourTechExplained.