IOS 12: A First Impression

Whenever a major tech company comes out with something new, there’s basically just two types of reactions: extremely excited and positive, or very skeptical with an “it’s not that big of a deal” attitude. Personally, I try to be more reserved, holding off my opinions until after I’ve tried it myself.

Less than 24 hours ago, Apple’s newest phone OS, IOS 12, was released to the public. When I came into work this morning, a colleague was already telling me to download the update so I could experience the “buttery smooth” system and its new features. 

 

Initial Thoughts

Speed was a major update for this version, and I’m happy to say they did not disappoint. Opening apps on IOS 12 was faster, and swiping through app pages responded with noticeably lower latency. Images also appeared more crisp and clear. 

From what I observed throughout a day of normal use, battery life also improved, and for some reason, charging to 100% also finished faster than with IOS 11. From this, it seemed like the hype was well deserved.

 

What’s New

Quite a few apps were redesigned for IOS 12, and well-done at that. 

IBooks (now Apple Books) 

One of the apps I’d stopped using was iBooks, as frankly, the user interface and overall experience lacked personality compared to other readers. However, the revamped app now holds promise.  

 Visually inspired by their App Store, Apple seems to have opted for a clean-cut, polished design. About time, I reckon.

Visually inspired by their App Store, Apple seems to have opted for a clean-cut, polished design. About time, I reckon.

 The app now seems able to automatically detect when you’re the dark (or probably if it’s night time) and switches to dark mode.

The app now seems able to automatically detect when you’re the dark (or probably if it’s night time) and switches to dark mode.

Stocks

For us who keep an eye on companies’ stocks, the new Stocks app has also had a redesign, and I’m not entirely sure if this is a favorable change or otherwise. The more I use it though, the more I can appreciate the changes.

 Important information are front and center, directing the user’s eyes to what needs to be seem.

Important information are front and center, directing the user’s eyes to what needs to be seem.

 I follow Starbucks (and other major players), as I plan on buying shares in the near future.

I follow Starbucks (and other major players), as I plan on buying shares in the near future.

Photos  

Another app that was shown some love in IOS 12 was Photos, and it’s definitely gotten cleaner in terms of design. 

 “Memories” has now been replaced with “For You”. Good riddance.

“Memories” has now been replaced with “For You”. Good riddance.

 Inside a “memory” set. Still loving the layout.

Inside a “memory” set. Still loving the layout.

 Navigating through categories or media types has never looked better.

Navigating through categories or media types has never looked better.

The new “For You” tab now lets you travel back to highlights in the past, and intuitively categorizes them into sets, complete with a slideshow option. While these features aren’t entirely new, navigation has gotten easier (Moments wasn’t really working for me) and browsing through the sets feels more natural, like it was always meant to react that way since the beginning.

Aside from redesigning a few apps, the new IOS 12 also came with new additions to the family. 

Screen Time

If you’ve ever had little self control over how much time you’ve spent on Social Media or any app on your phone, this new feature might come as both a curse and a solution. More than just a usage tracker, Screen Time allows you to set a limit for apps, disabling use after a period of time. 

 This might actually help us social media addicts. Might be a feature we all didn’t want but need.

This might actually help us social media addicts. Might be a feature we all didn’t want but need.

 I love that it also appears as a Widget for quick checks throughout the day.

I love that it also appears as a Widget for quick checks throughout the day.

Screen Time will also be a parent’s ally in restricting play time on the phone for their kids and in establishing times for studying and breaks.

Siri and Shortcuts

Siri was also given a more active role in getting things done quicker, with the help of the new Shortcuts app. If you’re familiar with the Automator on the mac or IFTTT, t should be no problem to set up.

 Shortcuts I’ve created so far. The process is quite intuitive, although editing elements needed a little more exploration.

Shortcuts I’ve created so far. The process is quite intuitive, although editing elements needed a little more exploration.

 It’s also great that a Browse tab is available, so you can just keep adding suggested, commonly used shortcuts.

It’s also great that a Browse tab is available, so you can just keep adding suggested, commonly used shortcuts.

 Under Settings, a list of shortcuts connected to Siri is displayed. Been using it for music and calls.

Under Settings, a list of shortcuts connected to Siri is displayed. Been using it for music and calls.

In the past versions of Siri, I’d mostly used it for asking about the weather, a random topic I suddenly wanted to know more about, and asking it to play music for when I get in the shower. Now, I can use it to directly call people with custom phrases, as I don’t label contacts just “Mom” or “Anna”. It used to be tedious, but it’s gotten easier with the Shortcuts app.

A negative to the app would be integration with third-party apps like Spotify, and Tidal. I had hoped that with the new update, Siri would start working with more apps. I’m not sure whether it’s from Apple’s end or if these apps just won’t integrate with Siri.

Measure

One of the highlights of the Apple Event last June for IOS 12 was the Measure app, claiming to be able to accurately measure surfaces and objects quickly. On the public release of IOS 12, the app sparked crazy ideas, with the most ridiculous one being the question of measuring house pets.

A demo of the measuring app.

Demo of the level feature on the Measure app.

There may be a few other features I haven’t covered, but these so far are the major updates evident from the get-go. Have you installed IOS 12 yet? What do you like about it so far? Let me know in the comments below!