Every year millions of iPhone and iPad users look up to Apple WWDC to figure out how their user experience will change in the coming months. This year was no different, iOS 12 was clearly the most important aspect of the Worldwide developer conference in San Jose, the one on which Apple spent the most time.
In hindsight, this focus was evident the moment everyone entered the venue, with the giant video wall highlighting the many apps that have made iOS and the devices running this operating system the success it is. From TripAdvisor to Slack and Pokemon Go, the most popular apps were all there on the wall, a testament to how they have changed the way users interact with the latest technology companies like Apple have to offer.
Here is a look at the 7 things we thought is more important from a user perspective.
Apple iOS 12: Augmented reality and USDZ
Apple is banking big on AR, which it calls transformational technology. Apple has worked with Pixar to introduce USDZ, a new file format that will make sharing and editing of AR content easier. Adobe will get native Creative Cloud support for USDZ. Abhay Parasnis, the executive vice president and CTO of Adobe, said on stage: “You will be able to bring in any objective from Creative Cloud into an AR environment. For the first time, users will have a what you see is what you get experience.”
For most users, Apple’s new measure app could be their first experience of AR, letting them measure any area or surface using the phone. This is a brilliant idea to get regular users to start understanding the power of AR, which has not actually found a lot of adoption at the mass level so far. One big enhancement with ARkit 2 is shared experiences, which will offer multiple people their own perspective of the same AR environment in real-time. When this become available later this year we can expect gaming to change like never before.
Another new feature that users will find interesting is Siri Shortcuts. Very similar to Amazon Alexa Skills, the shortcuts will be a quicker way to get Siri to initiate a specific action or set of actions. Siri will also offer suggestions based on regular routines and calendar entries. There will be a Shortcuts app to add and edit these commands.
Do Not Disturb and Screen Time
iOS 12 will have a comprehensive set of features that let you take control of app usage. While Do Not Disturb will now have a bedtime feature that will stop showing the app notifications on the home screen, there will be new options to set DND based on locations or other specific time points when you would not want the phone to bother you.
A new Deliver Quietly feature will limit notifications from some apps to just the list and not show them on the HomeScreen. There will also be grouped notifications, where you will not see all posts from the same source.
The Screen Time feature will give weekly summaries on how you have used your iPhone or iPad and how you are spending your time. The dashboard will have deep dive data on how often you are picking up the phone or which apps are drawing you in. While you will be able to take corrective measures, there will also be the option to limit your usage of a certain app. Limits will apply across devices. Also, the same feature will let parents get activity reports of their children’s device usage, along with the ability to set limits on certain apps.
Apple News, Stocks and Voice Memos
Apple News and Stocks apps are being revamped, making them more user-friendly. Apple News will have a sidebar that makes navigation easy, while Stocks will show relevant headlines to offer perspective. Voice memos too have been rebuilt and will now be available on the iPad, along with Apple News and Stocks.
The Photos app is becoming better with search suggestions where it will bracket similar photos based on the subject or just places and events. It will also support multiple search terms and offer suggestions on new search terms.
Animojis and Memoji
There will be more animojis in iOS 12, and they will all come with “tongue detection.” The animojis will now work while you are in Facetime or while replying to a messaging using photos. Animojis are limited to the Apple iPhone X.
This is what the new Apple Emojis look like pic.twitter.com/Nk3QCBJAgk
— Nandagopal Rajan (@nandu79) June 5, 2018
There is also a new Memoji, or your very own animoji. While Samsung launched something similar with the Galaxy S9, it was not such a great feature as the emojis looked nothing like the users they were based on. Apple seems to offer a wider array of emojis and hence the chances of similarity might be more.
Facetime group video
Apple has introduced group FaceTime with the option to engage in video chat with up to 32 people at the same time. The group chat offers audio and video options and can be converted easily from an exiting messages thread. The UI is very different with group chats with tiles popping up as someone in the group speaks.
Disclaimer: The writer in San Jose, California, attending WWDC 2018 at the invite of Apple India