What are we expecting (and not expecting) in iOS 12?
We recently learned that Apple may be slowing the pace of iOS development as it seeks to put resources into making sure some Mac and iOS apps work properly across the platforms. We’ve also heard a few whispers around some of the iOS 12 improvements we can expect Apple to tell us about at WWDC in June.
Quality beats quantity
After months of mishap, Apple is doubling down on making sure the software it does ship is good. Its engineers will not be forced to shove software out the door if they aren’t convinced it is ready. That makes sense (I’m beginning to think regular upgades and enhancements across the year would be more interesting). Apple will still update software annually, but it is no longer to ship enhancements until it is certain they are ready. Quality is, apparently, key.
We’ve seen a series of rumors, claims and speculations that suggest some of the potential improvements we may see in IOS 12, though there’s no guarantees any of these will ship.
What will iOS 12 bring?
Most of the enhancements in the following list come from the same source, otherwise the sources are listed:
- Lots of performance and stability enhancements
- Apps will work across iPhones, iPads and Macs
- Improvements and refinement of the soon-to-appear Health records app for iOS.
- A Digital Health tool parents can use to monitor how much time their children spend staring at their devices.
- Animoji improvements, such as use of them in FaceTime calls (I find these easy to dismiss as a gimmick, but I also think this reflects Apple’s move to emotion sensing).
- A new Stocks app (world yawns)
- Do Not Disturb update giving users more granular options and controls
- Better integration between Siri and the search view
- Multi-player AR games
- Multi-person calls in FaceTime
- More emoji’s (Metro claims)
- Siri enhancements, including support for more domains (particularly in music) and better search in Photos.
- Sleep tracking enhancements
- An iPhone panic button.
What will we see in iOS 13?
The following improvements are now rumoured to appear in 2019: A redesigned Home screen, CarPlay improvements, and Mail improvements (Please, Apple, improve Mail).
Apple is also apparently working on a major iPod software upgrade, but this won’t appear until 2019. Among other things this should introduce tabbed browsing inside apps, and the capability of running two instances of the same app beside each other. Apple Pencil enhancements have also been held back, Bloomberg previously claimed.
What’s interesting about all these reports is what’s not being discussed. Apple Music, extensive discussion around the Health app and future integrations with Apple Watch and other Apple products don’t seem to have got much attention.
Above: Apple execs likely recall the costly consequences of making big announcement when the solutions aren’t quite baked.
What aren’t we hearing?
Another key Apple technology that seems to be slowly slipping under the speculation wire is Siri. Given Apple now has two products that depend entirely on Siri (AirPods and HomePod) it seems seriously inevitable that we’ll see further extension to its capabilities.
It also seems clear that Apple is moving toward spinning Siri out as its own operating system team, with equivalent status to macOS, iOS, tvOS, or watchOS.
That makes sense, given Apple last year shifted responsibility for Siri away from Eddy Cue to the software group, led by Craig Federighi.
My question has to be:
Now Siri is developing into a key voiceOS (or equivalent) UI system for smart devices, how soon will it be until Apple reveals some of the ways it hopes to integrate its relatively recently acquired Workflow product into all its operating systems?
I also want to observe that, given Apple’s clear focus on AI, it will also be interesting to see how Apple plans to enlarge its deployment of machine intelligence across its product range at WWDC.