Thenewface of Apple’s OS
The tech giant is rolling out major upgrades to its software for iPhones, iPads and iWatches... and there’s lots to like
THIS week Apple released huge updates for two of its biggest software platforms – iOS, the software that runs on iPhones and iPads, and watchOS, the power behind the success of the Apple Watch.
New devices might be on the horizon – and check back here next week for full, hands-on reviews of the new iPhone Xs and the Apple Watch Series 4 – but the heart of all Apple devices lies in its software. And these upgrades are good news for old and new devices alike.
So, what’s in store for early adopters? We’ve picked out cool new features on both platforms…
APPLE UNVEILS IOS 12 SPEED DEMON
IOS 12 reverses the trend of previous updates, which always seemed to slow down older devices. Not only is iOS 12 faster on new devices, Apple has also focussed on bringing performance boosts to older iPhones and iPads… right back to the iPhones 5s.
I don’t have a 5s to test on, but going back as far as an iPhone 7, I can see a noticeable difference. Everything feels snappier, and things like launching the camera app are quicker.
REDESIGN AND REFINE
THERE are lots of refinements in lots of stock Apple apps, and these are most noticeable in News, Photos, and Books.
The refinements are all about making the things you want to use most easier to get to. There’s a new tab in Photos – For You, which is where you’ll find all the great collections of photo Memories in your library, plus smart suggestions of who to share them with.
It knows who is in the photos, and offers up their contacts for you to send photos to them. Your contacts can share back images from the same events, so you never miss a thing. The News redesign brings your chosen news sources closer to hand, so you can dive into a single source if you think the curated feed is missing something.
A HEADLINE magic trick sees a new take on animated emojis – you can now turn your own face (or a cartoonish version of it at least) into an ‘animoji’ that you can animate using your own facial movements (you’ll need an iPhone X).
These animated heads can be used all over the OS, in Messages in particular, to bring some levity to proceedings when your own face just isn’t up to the job.
TIME TO TAKE STOCK
A NEW feature in iOS 12 is Screen Time, which tracks your usage, and offers a report into how you use your phone. It tells you how long you spend in certain categories of app (like social), how long you spend in each individual app, and how many times you pick up your phone each hour.
It’s a real eye-opener and can help you develop a healthier relationship with your device.
AR MAKES THE GRADE
IOS 12 brings a major upgrade to the iPhone’s augmented reality capabilities. It’ll now allow two devices into one augmented reality. So you and a friend could take part in a one-on-one game together, and each see the action from your own perspectives.
The whole things is faster and much more realistic, with better face-tracking and 3D object detection. All this is showcased in a new app, Measure, which allows you to measure objects accurately using augmented reality.
These might be the headlines, but there are many more improvements in iOS 12 – there’s notification grouping, so you can see messages from the same apps all together. The Do Not Disturb functionality – which silences notifications according to your rules – now offers more control.
In short, even if iSO 12 just brought the speed improvements, it would be a no-brainer upgrade. With everything else that’s included, you’d actually be foolish not to download it right now.
Augmented reality tweaks allow you to play battle games with a friend Ready player 2:
Memojis add a personal touch to tasks, above, while WatchOS 5’s Workout Detective tracks fitness efforts
Screen Time, above, and News add functionality