WWDC 2018 - Apple announces iOS 12

5 June 2018


The latest update to the iPhone, iPod and iPhone operating system looks to be a big one with loads of new features across the platform. At this year’s WWDC keynote there was a big focus on augmented reality and machine learning. 

screen shot from WWD2018 conference with all iOS apps on screen

ARkit 2 

iOS 12 includes major improvements to Apple’s native ARKit by introducing a new file management format called USDZ. What this brings with it is seamless compatibility with creative apps such as Abobe CC allowing developers to bring their designs easily and quickly in to the app environment. USDZ also brings with it apps like Measure - which allow you to easily get distances, spaces and dimensions using AR technology. ARkit 2 was also announced and our favourite new feature is Shared Experiences. It will now be possible for developers to build apps with multiplayer reality, meaning up to four players can experience the same augmented reality view simultaneously across four devices. We can’t wait to see these new features added to the next generation of apps coming out of the iOS app store. 

screen shot frm WWDC 2018 conference showing shared experiences in AR on iPad

Photos

iOS 12 also brings with it an update to Photos with suggested searches, and a brand new tab called For You. For You highlights not only your memories, but now also selects featured photos, suggested effects and shared album activity. Sharing has got even better with sharing suggestions which detects friends and family that appear in your photos and allows you to share them via iCloud photo library. When your friend receives the shared photos, the Photos app intelligently identifies the event from which they were taken and prompts them to share their own photos from that occasion back to you - meaning its easier than ever to get the full picture. 

Siri

Siri also got some big improvements at WWDC with the introduction of Shortcuts, an intuitive new way to increase everyday productivity. Shortcuts makes suggestions based on your common habits and even allows you to create your own in order to make life a little easier. For example, you can set your common process for getting home from work  - text your housemate, turn on the heating via HomeKit, find the quickest route home via Apple Maps and turn on your favourite radio station - all via one preloaded command like ‘Hey Siri, I’m heading home’. This is just one example but we think the possibilities of Shortcuts via Siri will be huge. 

screen shot from WWDC 2018 with siri suggestions

Other updates included improvements to News, Stocks app, Voice Memo (now supported on iPad) and CarPlay which now supports third party apps like Google Maps. iBooks in iOS 12 will now be called Apple Books and brings with it a major overhaul of design to make it easier and more enjoyable to read and browse your collection. 

Screen Time

A really big addition to iOS 12 and one we think is going to make a huge difference is the new DND and screen time features. Do not Disturb now comes with night time support, so if you pick up your phone in the middle of the night all notifications and distractions are hidden in order to create minimal impact. Tap in the morning to reactivate your phone and start using it again. With Screen time you are given an overview of all the applications that you’ve been using on your phone, how long you spend on each app and which apps are sending you the most notifications. You can then set limits on the amount of time to spend on these apps per day in order to help you reduce your screen time and will be notified when its time to switch off. Even more significant is that as a parent, you can use these same features to monitor the activity your children are having with their own devices, ensure you can control the length of time they have access. This can be broken town to category, content type or individual application. iOS 12 makes it much easier to help parents (and teachers) regulate their children’s technology use, which we know is a big concern at the moment. 

screen shot of WWDC with screen time app icon

Communication 

iOS 12 includes updates to Animojis and new Memojis (create an avatar of yourself using an extensive library of customisations) which can be used in Messages and now in FaceTime. Speaking of FaceTime, it now includes group calls with up to 32 users in a gorgeous new interface.  Lastly, iOS 12 also introduces group notifications, making it easier to organise and remove notifications from the lock screen. 

We don’t have a definite date for public release yet but its likely that iOS 12 will be available later this year and will be a free upgrade to any device that is currently able to run iOS 11 (iPhone 5 and newer). 

In our next post we'll be taking a look at what was announced at WWDC 2018 for WatchOS and new MacOS.