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Apple plans FaceTime improvements for iOS, HomeKit support for macOS


Although Apple reportedly scaled back its upcoming release of iOS 12 to focus on squashing bugs and improving stability, a new Bloomberg story spotlights several key features the company expects to add to the iOS and Mac platforms. Apple is currently working on an iOS update codenamed Peace and a macOS update called Liberty, expected to be released as iOS 12 and macOS 10.14, respectively. According to the report, Apples person-to-person video and audio calling app FaceTime is set to receive two major upgrades. The more interesting addition is group chat, a feature Apple introduced years ago with the Mac video calling app iChat, but removed — and never restored — when it introduced FaceTime for iOS devices. This feature may or may not make it into iOS 12, depending on the state of Apples progress when the companys Worldwide Developers Conference (WWDC) rolls around in June. Apple also expects to integrate iOS 11s cartoony Animojis into FaceTime, enabling participants with TrueDepth cameras to appear as various animated animals during calls. While TrueDepth and Animojis are currently exclusive to the iPhone X, the report indicates that a new iPad model will include the necessary hardware to support the feature. This feature appears likely to appear in iOS 12. The report suggests that Apple is also working on a redesigned Stocks app for iOS 12, improved Do Not Disturb feature with more granular settings, deeper integration of Siri into the iPhones search view, multi-person augmented reality game support, and an improved photo import interface for iPad. Features likely to be held back for iOS 13 include tab support for iPad apps, split-screen support for two instances of the same app, new Apple Pencil features, and email thread-specific notification muting. On the Mac front, the report claims that macOS 10.14 will continue to have the previously reported Marzipan feature, designed to let Macs run iPad and iPhone apps. Apple also reportedly plans to bring its Home app to macOS from iOS, enabling Mac computers to control HomeKit accessories, and likely serve as HomeKit hubs. iOS 12 and macOS 10.14 are expected to be debuted at Apples WWDC in June.

Apple’s iOS 12 strategy: Take more time to squash the bugs


New Animoji and other features to come in the fall release, but others must wait. Apple has new features planned for its big, new iOS update—but not as many as you may expect. According to a Bloomberg report, the next sweeping iOS update, codenamed "Peace" and likely to be called iOS 12, will include a number of app redesigns, the expansion of Animoji into FaceTime, and other changes but not some of the biggest rumored changes such as redesigned home screens for iPhone and iPad. Instead of filling iOS 12 with a bevy of new features, Apple is reportedly changing strategies to allow developers more time to perfect the new features to ensure reliability. Animojis will find another home in FaceTime when iOS 12 is released. Apple is reportedly working on increasing the number of AR characters available and allowing users to don them during live FaceTime video chats. A new iPad is reportedly in the works that has Apple's FaceID camera, which would allow it to support Animojis as well (Animojis are only currently available on the iPhone X, which has the new FaceID camera). Also planned for the new software update are a revamped stock-trading app and Do Not Disturb feature, an updated search view that leans more heavily on Siri, a new interface for importing photos onto an iPad, and multiplayer augmented reality gameplay. But with all the features slated to hit iPhones and iPads this fall, even more are being held back. Apple is reportedly working on big changes to the interfaces of iPhone, iPad, and CarPlay; a redesigned Photos app; and an iPad feature that would allow apps to run with several windows at once so users can tap between them like tabs in a browser. Rather than stuff a bunch of new features into a big annual software release—like Apple has done consistently over the years—the company is reportedly focusing on perfecting new tools to reduce bugs and increase overall quality. The new strategy is designed to help both customers and Apple engineers. Users have noticed many bugs in recent iOS software updates, and a number of features like Apple Pay Cash weren't ready for Apple's big software update last fall. While introducing a lot of flashy new features on a predictable schedule has likely kept users updating the software on their Apple mobile devices consistently, it has also caused enough problems for users to notice that many software updates are arriving with bugs. For Apple engineers, more time to work on features that fundamentally change how users interact with Apple devices will hopefully reduce bugs and glitches and produce more reliable features in each update.