Apple has unveiled its suite of software upgrades for the iPhone, iPad, Mac, Apple Watch and Apple TV at the 2018 Worldwide Developers Conference that will enable a range of handy new features and capabilities.
More than 6,000 developers were in attendance at the keynote at the McEnery Convention Centre in San Jose to see first-hand all of the new upgrades which they will be able to incorporate in their latest apps.
This will be the App Store’s 10thbirthday and in that time, Apple has paid more than $100 billion to developers.
Apple’s approach to these software upgrades is being able to get more out of the device you already own and that was evident in the upgrades presented at the WWDC keynote.
The star of the show was iOS 12 which will to run on iPhones dating back to 2013 which will please customers hanging onto older devices.
Apple was also open about the features that can help reduce interruptions, limit your screen time and control the amount of time you spend on apps.
This will allow the user to take greater control of the time they spend on their iPhone or iPad.
Users will also see a weekly activity report to see how often we accessed the device and the apps to help set limits for not only themselves but also for their children.
Apple says it is also made significant improvements on the performance side so, even on older iPhones, apps will launch even faster.
Here’s a look at the top new features of iOS 12
Siri processes more than 10 billion requests per month and can already be used with third-party apps but now it can do even more.
A new app called Shortcuts will allow users to assign a strings of tasks that can be unlocked with a voice command.
For example, for the commute home you might like to send a message to your partner that you’re on your way, listen to your favourite podcast and set your home thermostat to a certain temperature.
With Shortcuts, these actions can be grouped together and assigned a key phrase so Siri can act on them.
Siri can also make proactive suggestions like reminding you to call people on their birthdays and send a message if you’re running late.
Bringing experiences into the real world will be improved with upgraded augmented reality capabilities.
An exciting new development will be multi-user support where up to four people can share the same augmented reality experience.
These new capabilities are now possible thanks to a new USDZ file format for easily creating, editing and sharing AR content.
This is a new app that takes advantage of the augmented reality technology and the USDZ file format to be able to measure objects and detect rectangles to give you an accurate measurement.
Apple says a trillion photos are captured on iPhones every year – that’s a lot of photos to manage and the new Photos app with iOS 12 will make that even easier.
It’s now easier to search your images by object and scenes along with moments and places.
You can now use multiple search terms to find the image you’re looking for.
A new For You tab brings up featured photos of the day and remind you of images you took on this day in the years gone by.
There are also sharing suggestions which will recommend images to share as well as the people to share them with based on the faces in your photos.
Part of iOS 12 is allowing users to manage their use of their device even more.
And this also includes notifications.
With the latest operating system, it is now possible to group notifications by apps and topics so you’re not overrun by numerous single notifications.
This makes it even easier to manage and delete a number of notifications at the same time.
There is even a new Do Not Disturb During Bedtime mode which can mute all your notifications so you’re not overwhelmed with a long list of notifications that may drag you further out of sleep if you happen to glance at your iPhone during the night.
We already know Animojis, well now we have Memojis which allow you to create an animated version of yourself to share in messages and add effects in FaceTime.
Users can personalise their Memoji to get their look right and also add things like glasses and headwear.
Both the existing Animojis and the new Memojis also come with tongue detection so you can stick your tongue out at your phone and be replicated on your animation.
Within messages, users cannot only add animojis (and there are four new ones – a friendly ghost, a koala bear, a tiger and a T Rex) but also include fun effects to their image.
FaceTime is one of the most popular features on iPhones, iPads and Macs and it has now been upgraded for group calls.
Now up to 32 people can chat at the same time and can be seen through their own tile on your screen.
When a person speaks their tile becomes larger and more prominent.
Many of the native apps that are found on iOS will also be updated.
These include Apple News which has been redesigned to easily catch up with the biggest stories as well as drill down into your favourite news sites.
The Stocks app has also been reimagined and now includes the top business stories as well.
Voice Memos has been rebuilt to make it even easier to use and will now be included on the iPad for the first time. iCloud sync will now provide access to your voice memos from anywhere.
iBooks has been renamed Apple Books and has also had a refresh and the new look store now makes it even easier to discover new books.
The new Reading Now feature also allows users to pick up right where they left off.
CarPlay has also been enhanced with support for third-party map apps including Waze and Google Maps.
iOS 12 will be available as a free update in Spring.
* Stephen Fenech travelled to San Jose as a guest of Apple