Apple Introduces Huge iOS 12 Update with Loads of New Features

Notice the group of iMessages at the top.                  Sarah Tew  CNET

Notice the group of iMessages at the top. Sarah Tew CNET

Ghost, koala, tiger, and dinosaur animojis are coming to iOS 12, too. Sorry y'all. There are still some awesome new capabilities coming soon to your Mac in macOS Mojave, and you can learn all about them in our earlier coverage.

The improved Do Not Disturb mode in iOS 12 will block notifications when the mode is active.

As good as performance upgrades and bug fixes are, the real fun is in the features.

Other digital wellbeing features to launch with iOS 12 include enhancements to the "do not disturb" feature, including a bedtime mode that dims the display and hides all notifications from the lock screen until prompted in the morning. That's a huge deal, and it's just the tip of the iceberg for Apple's new iOS 12 release.

One example shown on the WWDC stage was asking Siri for help finding lost keys, which Siri would understand as a command to access the Tile app and ping a Tile tracker attached to a keyring. All Messages threads will have a native link to FaceTime, be it one-on-one or group chat. The UI raises up someone to a bigger window as they talk. FaceTime is also being integrated into iMessage, so you can initiate a call from a text message conversation - and that includes group calls.

Sure, this pick might be a little tongue-in-cheek, but it's great to see Apple's facial tracking technology recognizing one of the most versatile and pose-able muscles in the human body. Also Apple is introducing a way for users to make custom Animojis called a Memoji that are basically avatars that you can customize to look like you.

Check out all the new features for Apple iOS 12 here. First, Apple will start stacking and grouping notifications in threads similar to Android. It says those apps must be managed from a PC, and users must only be able to create an account on the host device.

Apple is boasting that if anything, iOS 12 is expected to improve performance on older devices where they claim that apps such as the Camera will launch up to 70% faster, the keyboard will be 50% faster with more responsive typing, and apps will launch twice as fast. Expect to be able to do so much more.

Even better, notifications can now be grouped together so that you can multiple notification settings at the same time. If that's not the future. well, we'll just keep thinking.

Apple also announced ARKit 2 for developing more immersive AR experiences, including shared experiences. A demo app from Apple showed two players driving around in a virtual LEGO world and more.

It will work from any phone made after the 2013 iPhone 5S.

Another major addition announced for iOS 12 was Time Limit, which will allow users to pre-determine how much time they should spend using individual apps, and bring up a full-screen alert when an allowance is used up. It also comes with a number of new features.

"We think this is going to be helpful for many people, but especially for some kids", said Federighi while unveiling the app. They grow bigger whenever a person speaks or if the user double taps on the person they want to put front and centre.

Siri: Apple's not-so-smart assistant has a lot of catching up to do to reach the level of the Google Assistant and Amazon's Alexa. When a friend receives photos from an event, Apple will then suggest that the friend reciprocate with photos from the same event.

In order to cutdown on desktop clutter (you know; photos, documents, spreadsheets, etc. strewn all over), Apple has introduced Desktop stacks.

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