Apple previewed iOS 12 today, and two features stand out to me as exciting and interesting. First, a focus on performance for the many, many people using older iPhones and iPads.
The company said it is putting a particular focus on ensuring the update works smoothly on older devices. To give a point of reference, Craig Federighi, Apple’s senior vice president of software engineering, said iOS 12 will launch apps up to 40% faster and bring up the keyboard up to 50% faster on an iPhone 6 Plus. Federighi said the update will make a compatible phone “instantly ramp up performance to its highest state” when it recognizes that it needs a performance boost – such as when you’re loading an app – then more quickly bring it down to help preserve battery life.
While you should always take these “faster than” claims with a grain of salt, I really do hope they’re at least partially true, because Apple is not cutting off support for any older device with iOS 12 – iOS 12 will run on every device that currently also supports iOS 11.
The second interesting feature is Shortcuts, which is effectively the amazing app Workflow that Apple acquired last year, integrated into Siri.
The update will bring new features to Apple’s Siri digital assistant as well. The biggest of the bunch is a feature called Shortcuts, which will let users create a voice prompt to ask Siri to perform commonly-made actions with third-party apps, and let developers integrate further with the assistant for certain quick actions. Apple gave the example of assigning the phrase “help me find my keys” in conjunction with the Tile app: if you say that, Siri could be made to automatically activate the Tile app and use it to help you find your keys right from within the Siri interface. You could also assign a multistep routine to the assistant: a custom phrase like “heading home,” for instance, could prompt Siri to start up a favorite radio station, adjust your home thermostat, send a message to your spouse, and tell you how long it’ll take to reach your house.
There’s ton of other things, and there’s one other I’d like to highlight specifically: grouped notifications.
The first iOS 12 developer preview is available today, and the final version will, as always, ship this Autumn.