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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 Animojis may come to iPad and FaceTime this fall


The company is working on a number of updates for its fall release. Apple's biggest software updates are always scheduled for a single fall release and today Bloomberg reports on some new features that we can look forward to later this year. First up, third-party apps will be able to work across iPhones, iPads and Mac computers -- a feature we've heard talk of before and will involve both iOS 12 and macOS 10.14. Additionally, the iPhone X's Animojis will be getting an upgrade, with new characters and a better menu reportedly on the way as well as the ability to use them in FaceTime. And they won't be relegated to the iPhone X for much longer. Bloomberg says Apple is working on a new iPad that will have the Face ID camera, allowing iPad users to play with Animojis as well. Some other updates include a redesigned Stocks app, more options in the Do Not Disturb setting and changes to the iPad's photo import interface. We can also expect to see Siri become more integrated into the iPhone's search function and a Digital Health tool that will let parents keep track of their children's screen time. Bloomberg reports that while Apple will continue to haul out its major updates during its annual fall release, the company is switching up how it handles updates internally. Rather than having its team focus on the upcoming fall update, Apple will now take a wider view and keep its eye on the next two years' updates. That way, if certain features aren't quite ready, they don't have to be forced out prematurely. Bloomberg's sources say that as Apple has grown, its update strategy has begun to fail, with features launching before they're fully ready, leaving them unreliable and buggy. With this new strategy, Apple hopes that will happen less often.