Apple didn’t announce new computers at WWDC this year, but it did talk a lot about software on both desktops and mobile. The company is preparing to push out a significant update to iOS 12 that will address performance issues and long-standing problems with iOS notifications. Apple is also jumping on the digital wellness bandwagon with new screen time management tools. Oh, and animoji are getting an overhaul with more customization. Clearly, that’s the headlining feature.
Apple has suffered from nagging issues with older iPhones slowing down on new firmware updates. This was, in part, due to the performance throttling Apple instituted because of degrading batteries. In iOS 12, the platform will be able to ramp up CPU frequency quickly when the device is in use, then back off immediately when the work is done. Apple says this makes apps load 40 percent faster, and the keyboard loads 50 percent faster. It’s worth pointing out that Google added a similar feature to Android way back in 2012 as part of “Project Butter.”
Many of us spend hours with our noses buried in our smartphones, and there’s a movement among technology firms to give consumers tools to limit how much time they spend using their devices. Google recently unveiled digital wellbeing features in Android P, and now Apple is adding similar screen time limits to iOS 12. The system will break down the time you spend using each app, how often you unlock the device, and what apps are pinging you with notifications. You can set limits on how long you can use apps, either individually or by category. You can manually bypass the limit if you really want, but it can serve as a good excuse to put down the phone.
iOS 12 will finally address some of the problems with notifications on Apple’s platforms. Notifications will be grouped into bundles that you can expand to view individual items. You’ll also be able to dismiss them as a group. There are a few general notification management features as well. For example, you can “Quiet” a notification to keep it from appearing on your lock screen. However, the iOS lock screen will still only show you notifications once, which isn’t terribly useful.
And who could forget animoji? In iOS 12, animoji have tongue detection. Yes, when you stick out your tongue, your digital avatar will do the same. Those avatars can actually look like you in iOS12 as well. If you don’t want to look like a tiger or pile of poop, you can create a custom animoji version of yourself — these are called “memoji.”
iOS 12 also includes support for group FaceTime calls, ARKit 2, search suggestions in photos, a new stocks app, and more. It’s all coming to devices this fall, but there will be a developer preview before that. It requires an iPhone 5s or newer on the phone side. For tablets, the iPad Air and iPad Mini 2 are the oldest compatible devices.
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