Majority of the Apple fans out there are probably beyond excited about the reveal of iOS 12.
Even though it might not be a transformational experience for iPhone and iPad, the work that Apple is doing on performance is encouraging, and a lot of the changes in this year's release includes these improvements; new Siri Shortcuts, ARKit updates, and setting things up for bigger changes coming down the line.
These are 10 of the things that stood out the most about iOS 12:
Siri and the Shortcut app
Siri is the aspect of Apple's ecosystem, and iOS 12 seems to change things up a bit. Apple has been trying to get Siri to become more predictive and proactive since iOS 9, and the preview indicates that is might have finally made some improvements in that area.
But the standout point is the shortcuts, not only will it allow users to create custom actions, it will also create custom Siri commands for those actions and Siri will proactively suggest Shortcuts as it analyzes your behaviour.
In the iOS 12 to come, it will not only group together notifications by app, but also by type. If you have a lot of messages from several different apps, it will all be under the same banner.
Siri will also assist in reducing notification clutter, Siri will study how you interact with notifications for apps, and make suggestions about how to manage them. You can always turn off notifications for a particular app, but now you're also given the option to have them delivered "quietly," which will see your notifications from a particular app delivered to the notification center, and have the app icon badged, but they won't appear on your lock screen, present banners while you use your device, or play sounds.
Do Not Disturb
With iOS 12, Do Not Disturb (DnD) will gain more granular controls. Users will now have more controls over how Do Not Disturb works. You'll be able to use new quick settings to turn it on for say, just an hour or until later in that day, you'll also be able to set Do Not Disturb on and off based on other factors.
If, for example, you have a meeting on your calendar, you can set DnD to remain on until the end of that meeting. You can also set Do Not Disturb to remain on until you leave a particular location. If you just need to set a certain time, a new Schedule button will be available in the Control Center widget (long press or 3D Touch the Control Center Do Not Disturb button) that will take you to Do Not Disturb in Settings so you can set it as you normally would.
In addition, iOS 12 can hide your notifications from you when in Do Not Disturb thanks to the new Bedtime mode feature, which keeps you from getting distracted by notifications when you should be trying to fall asleep.
iOS 12 focuses a lot on performance and, if the actual gains are close to what Apple is claiming, people using older devices should be happy. This point gets high marks for hopefully reducing the headaches that come along with any software update, and hopefully making people feel as though they have, if not a brand new device, then still one that works well for them.
Messages and FaceTime
Messages and FaceTime get a combined section because a number of their enhancements are shared between both apps, such as camera effects. You can now use camera effects when taking a picture or video from Messages, and you can place camera effects on yourself when making a FaceTime call. Additionally, you will be able to start a FaceTime call directly from a Messages thread, including a group messages thread.
If you were to do that, you'd be able to experience FaceTime's biggest new feature, which is something we all know a lot of us have wanted for a while: group FaceTime calls. Is 32 people a bit overkill? Maybe, maybe not. If you use FaceTime in a professional setting, maybe that's on the borderline of enough.
The new tiger, ghost, koala, and T-Rex Animoji are great, but obviously, the thing that really takes the cake here is Memoji.
The fact that you can bring these Memoji with you into photos and videos in Messages, or even on a live FaceTime call, just injects a sense of fun into iOS 12, something important that might have a lot of people disregard to focus on more "serious" topics.
This is another fun one. ARKit 2 comes with a lot of enhancements over ARKit 1 and 1.5, but perhaps the single most important for everyday people is shared experiences. While experiences can only be shared between two active participants and a third observer, that's sure to be only the start of shared augmented reality experiences.
As an aside, imagine watching a live, two-player augmented reality game on Twitch. Both players share the experience, then viewers watch from the perspective of the third observer, maybe someone sharing their "gameplay."
In its presentation for macOS Mojave, Apple talked a lot about privacy, particularly when it comes to web browsing. Safari on Mojave will prevent sharing buttons for social networks and comment widgets from tracking you around the web, and the great news is that these features are coming to iOS 12 as well. Both systems will also work to prevent fingerprinting (a process by which advertisers and data collection companies gather data about unique identifying features for your device) by sending only general information back.
It's all part of a privacy philosophy that Apple has espoused for a while now: privacy needs to be a choice. Users need to be able to decide what information they are willing to give up and when to do that.
Admittedly, it's not a bouncing-off-the-walls sort of excitement, but it's still an interesting addition to the Photos experience. The new home for your Memories movies will also serve up featured photos that you've taken. It will also make suggestions for effects to add to your photos, such as a loop for a live photo, or adding a filter or other effect to your photos. That's pretty cool.
But the social aspects of For You are also intriguing. For You makes it easier to share photos by suggesting people that it would be great to share them with. Photos will even automatically make picks suggesting which images to send to which people. And the fact that this sharing all takes place privately over iMessage is just another point in its column.
This is going to be useful for a lot of people, and not just those looking to reduce the amount of time they spend looking at screens.
But, take Twitter for example. Users actually use it as a news feed, well some of them at least. And the news that comes through Twitter is often scary, depressing, or just plain nerve-wracking. Looking at that stuff constantly isn't healthy, and having a graph, generated by a system that is watching how you use your device, with hard numbers, might be the push you need to spend less time stressing yourself out like that.
Digital wellbeing is a new area of focus for Apple and other companies, and these are early days. We are definitely interested to see how these tools evolve over the next several years to help us lead healthier digital lives.
Bonus: Battery graph
So this is a little thing, but there is now a battery graph under Settings >> Battery. It offers detailed breakdowns of your battery use over time for both Screen On usage and Screen Off usage. It also shows you how much of your battery's charge level dropped as you used it.
It's a great visual representation of how you use your device that pairs nicely with Screen Time.