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Apple Unveils iOS 12 for iPhone and iPad with Faster Performance, New Siri Improvements, Screen Time

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Apple today unveiled iOS 12, the next major OS upgrade for your iPhone and iPad. While there are plenty of new features in tow, the company wants to put a strong focus on just how fast the new operating system is. iOS 12 supports devices stretching back to the iPhone 5s and promises multiple performance enhancements throughout the system.

For instance, on an iPhone 6 Plus, Apple says users can experience up to 40 percent faster app launches, up to 50 percent faster keyboard pop-ups, and up to 70 percent faster access to the camera with iOS 12. The OS also makes the share sheet and apps under a heavy load show up on your screen twice as fast as they do now. Of course, these capabilities stretch across all supported devices, but they’re especially helpful for those who have aging iPhones and iPads.

This is all thanks to Apple’s work under the hood. iOS 12 utilizes the company’s own processors to increase performance when the system thinks you’ll need it the most even quicker than before, therefore giving you better performance from your device while conserving your battery life. Obviously, Apple’s been under scrutiny for poorly managing performance on older devices so, hopefully, this new upgrade will ease users’ frustrations.

In terms of user-facing features, Apple is introducing ARKit 2.0 that enables shared experiences so more than one person can interact with an augmented reality app. There’s also improved object tracking, realistic rendering, persistent experiences, improved face tracking, a built-in Measure app to measure objects in the real world (take that third-party solutions), and a new file format called USDZ that will store AR files more efficiently on your device and make them easier to share with others.

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Siri is also getting upgraded. It hasn’t exactly reached Google Assistant levels just yet, but it is getting a new feature called Shortcuts which lets you group together multiple actions like checking weather and traffic conditions, ordering a cup of coffee, and getting updated on the latest news all by assigning a single command like “Good morning.” Developers can also create Siri Shortcuts within their apps that users can assign to their device.

Siri can also suggest actions based on the time of day or at certain locations. For instance, at the movies, Siri can suggest turning on Do Not Disturb so your phone doesn’t ring while in the middle of a film. And if you’re running late for a meeting, Siri can suggest letting your boss know you’ll be there soon.

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Some of the built-in apps in iOS 12 are getting upgrades including News, Stocks, iBooks, CarPlay, and Voice Memos. The News app is getting some fresh machine learning features to make searching and consuming news easier; Stocks is getting a redesign, integration with Apple News to display business-oriented headlines, and is coming to the iPad; iBooks has received a complete redesign and is now called Apple Books; CarPlay is getting compatibility with third-party navigation services; and Voice Memos is coming to the iPad as well.

Apple has also introduced multiple new features in iOS 12 that will, hopefully, make you less addicted to your phone and tablet. Do Not Disturb prevents your phone from lighting up while you’re trying to sleep, notifications can be managed directly from the Notification Center (they’re also grouped now, thank God!), Screen Time lets you control how much time you spend on apps so you aren’t on them all day, new parental controls let you set certain times for when your kids can use certain apps, and weekly reports will let you know how often you use your phone or iPad.

Finally, Apple is upgrading Messages and FaceTime with new features that are revolutionary to anyone who likes stickers and Animojis. Now, you can create your own Animoji with Memoji, use one of the new pre-built Animojis like the dinosaur or ghost, use Animoji in FaceTime, and have group video calls in FaceTime with up to 32 participants.

Apple says it’ll release iOS 12 this fall, while registered developers can get a preview of the upgrade today. Interested public testers will get a beta later this month.

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