WWDC 2018: Apple iOS 12 Is Here With Amazing New iPhone Updates

Here's what you need to know about what's coming to iOS 12. 

by James Dennin

The Apple Worldwide Developers Conference is in full swing, and the company announced a series of new features that would be rolling out with the new iPhone operating system.

As expected, most of the changes were relatively incremental, including upgrades to the smartphone’s face and voice recognition systems and an overhaul to some of the built-in apps like Stocks and Books. However, there were some big improvements for performance on older devices and Siri’s artificial intelligence got smarter with new Shortcuts.

Performance Boosts

“We are doubling down on performance,” said Apple VP Craig Federighi. “This is the largest base ever supported by an Apple release.”

On the iPhone 6 Plus, which launched in 2014, Apple made big improvements. Apps launch 40 percent faster, the keyboard slides out 50 percent faster, and the slide to camera moves 70 percent faster. Apple was able to make apps launch twice as fast and launch share sheets twice as fast. These boosts came from changes like enabling the processor to respond to demands for higher performance faster than ever.

WWDC 2018 iOS 12 Features: Better Facial Recognition, Animoji, and More

One complaint about the previous iPhone’s new facial recognition features was that they were unreliable. A new update should fix that, as Apple has made a multitude of changes to the Animoji system. Tongue detection enables iPhone X users to stick out their tongues. New Animoji include a ghost, koala, tiger, and T-Rex. Users can even create “Memoji” personalized versions of their own Animoji.

FaceTime now supports Animoji, filters and more. The company also announced plans to support “up to 30 simultaneous participants” in group FaceTime. The video chat is now integrated with the Messages app, so users can move between the two at ease. A new user interface element called “the roster” shows all participants in a scrollable bar, with tiles automatically growing larger depending on their prominence in the conversation:

Group FaceTime.


WWDC 2018 iOS 12 Features: iOS 12 With Smarter Siri A.I.

Siri works for many third-party apps like messaging and ridesharing, and on Monday the company expanded these features out further. “Shortcuts” is a new feature in Siri that allows developers to expose quick actions to Siri. The “Tile” app, for example, can interact with Siri and detect an object’s position using the built-in tracking.

Siri Suggestions can make smart suggestions from the home screen. For example, text meeting organizers to let them know that they’ll be late, remind you to phone your grandmother for her birthday, or turn off notifications with “Do Not Disturb” mode — “That’s just being considerate,” Federighi says.

A new “Shortcuts” editor app enables users to create their own workflows with an easy-to-understand interface. Users can work with third-party apps, using an “Add to Siri” button to record special voice triggers to access features. Apple demonstrated a use of the “Kayak” app to invoke travel plans.

In the below example, Apple has created a “heading home” Siri Shortcuts workflow that gets travel time and sets the thermostat:

Siri Shortcuts interface.


WWDC 2018 iOS 12 Upgrades: Stocks, Books, and More

Apple has made big changes to the Apple News app, with a curated set of headlines from trusted publications that can fight “fake news.” New augmented reality features can also improve the interactivity of news articles, with Apple demonstrating a 3D fish inside an article.

Stocks received big changes, with charts that show stock performance throughout the day. Apple News is deeply-integrated to the new Stocks app, with top stories featuring business news curated by the Apple News editors. An interactive chart now includes after-hours pricing, and relevant Apple News is curated to enable further research without leaving the app. The Stocks app is also now available on the iPad, using the larger display to browse financial news.

Voice Memos has been rebuilt to make “even easier” to use. The app is coming to the iPad, and iCloud support will keep recordings safe.

An all-new Books app is redesigned, and it’s been renamed to “Apple Books.” A “Reading Now” feature enables faster resuing right where users left off.

CarPlay updates in iOS 12 now support third-party navigation apps, meaning users can ditch Apple Maps for alternatives like Google Maps or Waze.

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