Apple WWDC 2018: Headline Announcement - iOS 12

Jun 08 2018

Today's Apple WWDC 2018 keynote just wrapped up in San Jose, California, and we covered all of the news live, including the headline announcement: iOS 12.

There was no new hardware shown, even though last year's conference gave us a first look at the HomePod, as well as the iPad Pro 12.9 and iPad Pro 10.5. Apple CEO Tim Cook and his senior staff made this a software-focused keynote, with iOS 12, macOS 10.14, watchOS5 and tvOS 12 announcements. 

iOS 12 and ARKit 2.0 confirmed

Apple kicked off proceedings with a quick look at iOS 12 and its features for the first time at WWDC 2018, among other software sneak peeks.

iOS 12 – Performance is key

iOS 12 was due to see an intriguing home screen redesign and tweaks to core apps like Mail and Camera, according to several leaks, but that’s been shelved in favor of stability and performance improvements.

Apple is instead looking to make the iPhone faster and more responsive than it's previously been. It's doing that at WWDC, all the way back to the iPhone 5S.

It's set to work with all the same devices that can already handle iOS 11. Apple says keyboards on the aging iPhone 6S Plus, for example, will fire up 50% faster than previously, with the camera ready to snap 70% faster, showing Apple isn't giving up on older devices. App loading in general is now twice as fast with iOS 12.

ARKit 2 features

Augmented reality and Apple's ARKit development platform was also showcased, with Apple teaming up with Pixar to develop a new file format for sharing AR content.

Showing off the benefits of the digital and physical worlds merging was a new app called Measure, letting you use AR to see the size of items just by dragging a finger across them when your camera is pointed at them. Apple demonstrated sizing up a suitcase and a photograph for framing.

Photos improvements

The Photos app got a smart update with a new enhanced search option. A 'For You' tab, making suggestions on what you can possibly do with the photos you have saved.

Siri gets smarter

Siri was well in need of an update, and it got one. A new feature, called 'Shortcuts', integrates with apps to build bespoke voice commands. An example given used the Tile Bluetooth tracker, letting you create a voice command like "find my keys" to activate the Tile app locator feature. 

Such features will be identified with an 'Add to Siri' option within apps, while you can also train the voice assistant to trigger a series of commands with custom commands – for instance, setting up a routine that would both message a spouse and adjust a connected thermostat when you tell Siri you're "heading home".

Siri will also make suggestions from the lock screen, letting you know what's in the vicinity, and will also give you prompts to inform colleagues if it appears you're running late for a meeting. When it knows you're in a cinema it can remind you to put your phone on silent.

Do Not Disturb and Grouped Notifications

We're all spending a little too much time on our connected devices, right? Apple thinks so too, so it's expanding its Do Not Disturb features, such as grouped notifications, while you'll get more options for addressing notifications from the lock screen. You'll also be offered a 'timer', to limit screen time for kids. And big kids too...

Memoji – your personalised emoji

No one could have predicted the popularity of the beast-themed Animoji messaging option. But Apple's going one step further with 'Memoji' – personalized, animated emoji that can be designed to look like you (or, at least, how you'd like your Messages buddies to see you). Freckles, glasses, hairstyles – you get the picture. In fact, you become the picture.

FaceTime group calling

Want to video-call three people? How about 32? Group calling in the new and improved FaceTime will let you do that, making use of a moving tile display of faces currently in the chat, floating and coming into greater prominence when someone begins to talk.

Along the bottom of the screen is a scrolling bar of users, letting you choose who takes center stage. Animoji, filters and sticker packs can also be used live.