Apple this week announced the newest version of its operating system, iOS 12, which includes augmented reality (AR) capabilities as well as multiple new features. Among the iOS12 new features are faster feature launches, Siri Shortcuts, and management tools to help users lessen their dependency on devices.

The developer preview of iOS 12 is available to Apple Developer Program members at developer.apple.com starting today. The public beta program is expected to be later this month, at beta.apple.com.

The full public iOS 12 is expected to be available in the third quarter. The free software update is designed to work with iPhone 5s and later, all iPad Air and iPad Pro models, iPad 5th generation, iPad 6th generation, iPad mini 2 and later, and iPod touch 6th generation.

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iOS12 New Features
Among the new features with the new operating system is Siri Shortcuts, enabling Siri to work with any app, a capability designed to help people accomplish Siri-related activities more quickly.

“We’re very excited about the new communications features we’re bringing to iPhone and iPad with Memoji, a more personal form of Animoji, fun camera effects and Group FaceTime,” said Craig Federighi, Apple’s senior vice president of software engineering, in a prepared statement.  “With iOS 12, we’re enabling new experiences that weren’t possible before. We’re using advanced algorithms to make AR even more engaging and on-device intelligence to deliver faster ways to get things done using Siri.”

Among the benefits Apple touts for the iOS 12: The camera launches up to 70 percent faster, the keyboard appears up to 50 percent faster, typing is more responsive. apps can launch up to twice as fast.

New AR functionality is expected to come from ARKit 2 and its capability to develop new AR apps. ARKit 2 also includes a new open file format designed in collaboration with Pixar that enables users to have AR capabilities across various iOS app, including Messages, Safari, Mail, Files and News.

Do Not Disturb, Notifications and Screen Time
Apple also introduced device management tools that “[h]elp customers understand and take control of the time they spend interacting with their iOS devices.” New Do Not Disturb features include the ability to dim the screen and block all notifications from showing during ‘Bedtime’ mode for example.

New Screen Time features give users detailed information about how they use their device and the apps present on it. Activity reports can now show the total time spent in individual apps, usage across categories of apps, how many notifications are received and how often an iPhone or an iPad is picked up.  Apple thinks this data will help users better control, and perhaps even lessen, their dependency on devices.

Additional new features include:

  • Apple Books™ is redesigned to make it easier to discover and enjoy books and audiobooks, and the Book Store tab makes it easy to explore new titles and browse the top charts, curated collections and special offers.
  • Apple News® is redesigned to make it easier to discover new channels and topics or jump straight to favorites, and on iPad, a new sidebar makes navigation even simpler.
  • Stocks comes to iPad and illustrates how the market is moving with easy-to-understand quotes and high-quality news.
  • CarPlay® adds support for third-party navigation apps displayed right on the car’s dash — joining music, messaging, calling and automaker apps.
  • Voice Memos is now available on iPad and adds iCloud support to sync recordings and edits across devices. A new design makes it easier to capture, share and edit recordings.
  • Siri translation expands to more than 40 language pairs and brings more knowledge of sports, celebrities, food and nutrition. Siri can also surface favorite photos by person, place, event, time and topic.
  • Wallet on iPhone and Apple Watch adds support for student ID cards, making it more convenient to access everything on campus.

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