iOS 12 Makes Siri Smarter with Custom Shortcuts; FaceTime Now Supports Group Video Call

June 6, 2018, By Sanjeev Ramachandran

The debate for choosing the best among Android and iOS is always never-ending. But what remains true is that both the smartphone ecosystems have been trying to catch up with each other in many aspects. Google’s launch of Android P has taken the Android ecosystem up a notch, and now Apple is trying to catch up with the launch of the iOS 12.

The latest iOS iteration was revealed at Apple’s WWDC held this week, where the company also detailed the new features in Apple Watch and macOS. But what really mattered were the improvements Apple incorporated for the iOS.

We still wouldn’t call it a heavy upgrade in terms of interface or overall user experience, but it still catches the attention with new introductions like group notifications, group video call in Facetime, upgrade for Siri and more.

Group notification is one thing for which Apple has taken notes from the Android ecosystem. iOS 12 will thankfully get rid of annoying multiple individual notifications by clubbing the notifications under a single thread, which would be based on apps or topics. This would present the notifications in a better organized manner, letting users to easily access them and also dismiss them entirely at once.

iOS 12 also adds group video call support in FaceTime, with which users can get connected with up to 32 persons at a time. The participants will appear in a tiled form, which can be expanded or resized on real-time basis. Facetime also now gets support for animoji, which itself gets updated in iOS 12 with the introduction of four new masks and a new memoji.

The update for Siri was also a much needed shot on the arm for the personal digital assistant. Siri’s update now makes it smarter with support for new custom shortcuts and ability to find your keys using Tile Tracker. The AI prowess has also been expanded to Photos app, another area where Apple is trying to play the catch up with Google. The improved abilities will now help users better arrange photos based on auto-recognition features available inside.

Another key area where Apple has made the improvement is with AR, which is something Google lags far behind even if being weighed on with the original ARKit. With ARKit 2, Apple has added some niche features including multiplayer support in gaming.

Apple has also sought a collaborative approach for AR development, as a result of which companies like LEGO have already made on-board for exploring creative play possibilities. Collaboration with Pixel on the other hand has resulted in a new file format called USDZ, which would also be supported by Adobe. Apple has also updated the Measure app in the process to take the AR game to new levels.

Apple has also brought in various other updates including app-specific ones like that for Apple News, Stocks, Voice Memos, CarPlay etc. Additionally, the gestures that were present on iPhone X would also be making way to the iPad with the arrival of iOS 12. And if these are not enough, then there are even more features making its way, all of which were not disclosed by Apple during the event.

iOS 12 is currently available for developers in the beta form, and its likely to be made available to the public during the last week of June. The stable version should arrive probably by September if going by the usual window of the iOS.

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