Focusing on the developer community, software updates and apps, Apple finally took the wraps off the iOS 12 during the WWDC keynote at San Jose, California. One of the much-awaited update that will run on millions of iPhones and iPads, the iOS 12 along with the introduction of new features, aims to fix bugs and improving performance.
"We're very excited about the new communications features we're bringing to iPhone and iPad with Memoji, a more personal form of Animoji, fun camera effects and Group FaceTime," said Craig Federighi, Apple's senior vice president of Software Engineering. "With iOS 12, we're enabling new experiences that weren't possible before. We're using advanced algorithms to make AR even more engaging and on-device intelligence to deliver faster ways to get things done using Siri."
Here are the top 12 features of the iOS 12:
Faster and More Responsive: Focusing on performance improvements across the system, including the iPhone 5S, the iOS 12 will launch camera up to 70 per cent faster, keyboard up to 50 per faster and apps will launch up to two times the speed.
Shared AR Experiences: Apple has introduced the ARKit 2 with iOS 12, which will allow developers to create the innovative augmented reality (AR) apps using the new tools to integrate shared experiences, persistent AR experiences tied to a specific location, object detection and image tracking, making AR apps even more dynamic. Apple has designed a new open file format, usdz, that will make it easy to experience AR almost anywhere in iOS - like Messages, Safari, Mail, Files and News, delivering powerful graphics and animation features.
Group FaceTime: Apple's proprietary video calling feature, FaceTime, now support Group calls too. This new Group FaceTime feature will make it easy to chat with multiple people at the same time. A Group FaceTime call can be connected from the group messages as well and participants can be added at any time, join later if the conversation is still active and choose to join using video or audio from an iPhone, iPad or Mac - or even participate using FaceTime audio from Apple Watch.
Siri Shortcuts: Apple had the first mover advantage when it introduced Siri voice assistant with iPhone 4S. But over the year, it could not catch up with Google Assistant and Amazon Alexa. But with iOS 12, Apple aims to make Siri even smarter. With 10 billion requests processed by Siri per month, this new update will help Siri in getting things done, quickly with the ability for any app to work with Siri. Siri intelligence can suggest an action at just the right time and users can customise Shortcuts by creating a simple voice command to kick off the task or download the new Shortcuts app to create a series of actions from different apps that can be carried out with a simple tap or customised voice command.
Improved Photo Search: The Photos app will have an all-new 'For You' tab that brings together the favourite moments from Memories and iCloud Shared Albums in one place. The app also features a new sharing suggestions feature that makes it easier to share photos with friends. This feature also prompts the friends who receive photos to share back any photos and videos they have from the same trip or event. Search suggestions surface the most relevant Events, People, Places, Groups, Categories and recent searches, and new search functionality lets users combine multiple search terms to find just the right photos.
Do Not Disturb: This new tool will help iPhone and iPad users understand and take control of the time they spend interacting with their iOS devices. The new Do Not Disturb will have the bedtime mode that dims the display and hides all notification from the lock screen for a better sleep. The DND bedtime ends automatically based on a specified time, location or action displaying notifications.
Grouped notifications: Notifications helps one keeping updated with the incoming emails, messages and more but with the phone ringing every now and then can be disturbing. To help reduce interruptions, iOS 12 gives users an option for controlling and managing notifications without getting into settings. There will be a Grouped notification that Apple claims will make it easier to view and manage multiple notifications at once.
Screen Time: The rumoured Digital Health feature has been incorporated into the iOS 12. Named as Screen Time, it provides users with detailed information and tools to help understand and control the time they spend on apps and websites. Daily and weekly Activity Reports show the total time spent on individual apps, usage across categories of apps, how many notifications are received and how often iPhone or iPad are picked up. Screen Time also gives parents access to their child's Activity Report right from their own iOS devices using Family Sharing in iCloud and allows them to schedule times to limit when a child's iOS device can be used, such as during bedtime. Google also introduced a similar feature named Dashboard on Android P.
Privacy and Security: As with all Apple software updates, enhanced privacy and security remain a top priority in iOS 12. In Safari, enhanced Intelligent Tracking Prevention helps block social media "Like" or "Share" buttons and comment widgets from tracking users without permission.
Memoji and Fun Camera Effects: After bringing Animoji last year, Apple has now introduced Memoji. Similar to Samsung's AR Emoji, Memoji will have personalised characters that are customisable. These Memoji can be created right within Messages by choosing from a set of inclusive and diverse characteristics to form a unique personality. All Animoji and Memoji will feature winks and tongue detection to capture more expressions.
Measure App: The iOS 12 will bring in a new Apple-designed app, Measure. This app allows users to accurately measure objects or walls. Putting the object in the camera frame, tapping and dragging out a line, will measure the dimensions.
iBooks to Apple Books: Apple is rebranding its ebook app from iBooks to Apple Books, which also features a brand new design.
Other additional features include support for CarPlay for third-party navigation apps displayed right on the car's dash - joining music, messaging, calling and automaker apps; Voice Memos is now available on iPad and adds iCloud support to sync recordings and edits across devices. A new design makes it easier to capture, share and edit recordings and Siri translation expands to more than 40 language pairs. Siri can also surface favourite photos by person, place, event, time and topic.
The developer preview of iOS 12 will be available to Apple Developer Program members at developer.apple.com starting today, and a public beta program will be available to iOS users later this month at beta.apple.com. iOS 12 will be available this fall as a free software update for iPhone 5s and later, all iPad Air and iPad Pro models, iPad 5th generation, iPad 6th generation, iPad mini 2 and later and iPod touch 6th generation.