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Friday, September 25, 2020

Apple iOS 12: New Features, Improvements and the Matrimony with AR

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At the just concluded Worldwide Developer’s conference, Apple announced the latest version of its operating system iOS 12 with a lot of features centering around enhanced performances as echoed by software VP Craig Federighi, “For iOS 12, we are doubling down on performance”. As there will be improvements on the iOS 11, there will also be exciting additions that you just can’t wait to try on your iPhone and iPad devices.

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Apple is no stranger to the world of augmented reality having announced its desire to be the “largest AR platform in the world” at last year’s Worldwide Developer’s conference where the iOS 11 launched with ARKit.

This year’s iOS 12 presents a new and improved ARKit 2.0 that will allow users; improved face tracking, realistic rendering, persistent experiences, shared experiences, 3D object detection and a host of features that are yet to be revealed. The world of gaming, multiplayer gaming in particular is expected to reap huge benefits from Augmented Reality.

While the possibilities of AR seem to have stolen the spotlight at the WWDC and rightly so, there are couple of features on the iOS 12 that make for exciting read; Grouped notifications, Group FaceTime, dedicated Shortcuts App and a host of others that will be discussed here.

Devices Compatible with Apple iOS 12

The Apple devices that will most likely get the iOS 12 software update are the same from last year’s iOS 11. The devices are;

  • iPhone 5s
  • iPhone 6 / Plus
  • iPhone 7 / Plus
  • iPhone 8 / Plus
  • iPhone X
  • All iPad Air models
  • All iPad Pro models
  • iPad 5th generation
  • iPad mini 2
  • iPod Touch 6th generation

Apple iOS 12 Features

Apple Books, Apple News, CarPlay & Voice memos

  • iBooks undergoes name change and face-lift to become Apple Books. Update gets Store tab that makes it easier to discover and buy ebooks.
  • Apple news gets update; Browse tab and sidebar to aid navigation.
  • Redesigned Stocks App to get stock-related content from Apple news, will feature on iPad
  • CarPlay to feature support for third-party applications, most likely; Google Maps, Waze.
  • Voice memos will also feature on the iPad with improved design and iCloud support.

Augmented Reality: ARKit 2.0, Measure App

Trying to stay ahead of the competition in the world of Augmented reality, Apple has found diverse ways to incorporate AR into the iOS 12, hence the ARKit 2.0. Improved face tracking, realistic rendering, persistent experiences, shared experiences, 3D object detection are just few of the features that the updated ARKit 2.0 has to offer at least as Apple revealed. iOS 12 will have much more to do with AR than we know at the moment.

In a world of endless possibilities, ARKit 2.0 provides an enabling virtual-environment for shared experiences; multiplayer gaming will be on the receiving end of this multi-user virtual environments and it would be interesting to see how things shape up. Apple’s collaboration with Pixar to create the USDZ file format with support from Adobe, Autodesk will help AR developers to tap up the extra possibilities the interesting world of Augmented Reality has to offer.

One of the many possible adaptations of AR has come in Apple’s Measure App. The application measures real world objects just by tap and drag on the edges of the object. Maybe this might spell extinction to the measuring tape but how would you rather have it?

Better Performance

Apple’s motto of providing a better performance on its latest operating system as reiterated by its Software VP Craig Federighi is no cheap talk. Results of the iOS 12 test on an iPhone 6 Plus have displayed quite impressive numbers.


According to Federighi, the camera posted an increase in launch time by 70 percent while the applications and system keyboard opened up 40 percent and 50 percent faster respectively. The iOS 12 is expected to handle optimizations much more effectively as well as multitasking on not too recent devices like the iPhone 6 Plus that are known to have been slower with each update.

Grouped FaceTime

Till now, Apple’s FaceTime has only been limited to one-on-one video conversations but now with the coming of the iOS 12 we will see an expansion to also include Group FaceTime of as many as 32 individuals. The video chat service’s new addition will also be integrated into the Messages app meaning you could switch from a group chat to Group FaceTime.

When a group call is active, larger windows indicate that a participant is speaking while a much smaller-sized video window indicates that the participant is not speaking. Animoji and Memoji will also be enabled during calls.

Animoji and Custom Emoji ‘Memoji’

Apple’s Animoji which we first witnessed with the introduction of the iPhone X has also seen Ghost Koala, Tiger, T-Rex masks added to its list of characters. Animoji will now be able to tell when you stick out your tongue and replicate the same.

Apple’s own customizable emoji, ‘Memoji’ will allow users to create avatars similar to their appearances; you get to select details such as hairstyle, skin color and choose from a handful of accessories.

Grouped Notifications

Apple has finally decided to make its notifications appear in a stacked format per app making it easier to discharge notifications from a particular app you are not prepared to attend to or attend to them at once.

The iOS 12 will allow more flexibility in how users deal with notifications, giving users options on how notifications should be displayed on their devices. For example, allowing an app to send only Quiet notifications will allow the notifications in notification center alone but not on lock screen.

Photos, Shortcuts App & Siri.

  • Photos app now offers search, filter, effects, sharing suggestions.
  • Shortcuts app debuts on iOS 12. Users can now trigger a series of meshed actions by making an assigned request. App makes suggestions based on real-life data.
  • Apple claims Siri is getting smarter on the iOS 12, dubbing it the most popular digital assistant in the world. An example of how Siri shortcuts works was illustrated by Apple with “ Hey Siri, I lost my keys” triggering Siri to ring the Tile tracker.

Do Not Disturb & Screen Time

iOS 12 like Google’s Android P helps users monitor how much time spent across each application. The screen time feature keeps a record of how much time users spend per app delivering a weekly report of usage. The app also allows the freedom to set time limits in order to keep a check on device addiction.

Apple also aims to make sure parents have full control on how much time their kids spend with their devices setting restrictions via family sharing.

The Do Not Disturb mode now incorporates new actions. During bedtime, the DND bedtime mode mutes notifications and hides them from display except in cases of emergencies that Apple calls Critical alerts. Flipping the device over will also mute notifications.


Updating to the iOS 12 means you own one of the compatible devices listed above. The final release of the iOS 12 is expected to be around September this year. The developer beta is however available for registered Apple developers only with the public beta expected to follow very soon.

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