The big news at the WWDC conference this week wasn’t that Apple announced any new products. It was all about software, and the big announcement was iOS 12. The developer beta version is available now, the public beta will be available on June 26, and the final version will likely be available in mid-September.
Here are some of the new features of iOS 12.
- Enhanced for a faster all-around experience, especially with keyboard and camera.
- You can now FaceTime with up to 32 people at the same time.
- You can create your own Animoji.
- Improved augmented reality (AR) features, including the ability to send AR objects with Messages and Mail.
- New “Screen Time” feature to help monitor your child’s iPhone or iPad activity.
- New notification features help reduce interruptions (thank God!).
- New ways to search and share your photos.
- Siri can now (allegedly) intelligently pair your daily routines with third-party apps to suggest convenient shortcuts exactly when you need them.
- New privacy features.
- The ability to make digital student ID cards in order to access places like your dorm, library, etc. (Hackers will love this).
It appears that the biggest upgrade will be with Siri, who will now actually be smart. Of course, Siri was the first mainstream digital assistant, and she (or he, for some people) debuted in 2011. Siri was considered groundbreaking then. However, with Amazon’s Alexa and Google’s Home assistants, Siri has fallen way behind the times.
You can expect Siri to integrate better with third-party apps, such as Spotify (although it appears the integration with that app will be limited). But the best addition is a new Siri app called “Shortcuts” that will allow you to create your own verbal commands that will lead Siri to accomplish functions that you program. It sounds good on paper, but it remains to be seen how it actually works in the real world .
Despite some of my sarcasm on this article, I am looking forward to iOS 12. I, as well as many of my colleagues, are far more excited about iOS 12 than we were when OS 11 or iOS 10 came out. And it will be interesting to see how iOS 12 integrates with the upcoming new iPhone and iPad. Your turn, Android.