Tech

New features you can expect in latest iOS upgrade

New features you can expect in latest iOS upgrade

The paradox emerged Monday as Apple executives previewed new versions of free software due out this fall. Both companies' efforts come as experts worry that all the flashy colors and beeps give users short-term, feel-good rewards while increasing stress in the long run.

Another focus area in iOS 12 that is perhaps less visible but likely more important is new functionality for Siri, Apple's AI assistant platform.

FaceTime will soon be able to support video chats with up to 32 people.

Apple also may introduce new ways to help people manage their health and assist apps in the use of augmented reality - the blending of digital images and information with a physical setting through the camera. This means that users will need to either rely on reviews of the app, or pay for it first to find out for themselves, after which they can then try to get a refund if the app does not live up to their expectations.

"I am concerned. that Apple is falling further behind Google and Amazon in AI (artificial intelligence)", said GlobalData research director Avi Greengart in a tweet. The display can also be set to dim automatically just before bedtime. And when users turn on the Do Not Disturb feature in iOS 12, they will be able to configure it so it blocks all of their notifications until they turn it off. Daily and weekly Activity Reports show the total time spent in individual apps, usage across categories of apps, how many notifications are received and how often iPhones or iPads are picked up. If an app is sucking up too much of your time, you can set your own limit, such as one hour a day for Instagram. With iOS 12, Apple will start asking Safari users to provide informed consent to being tracked by Facebook on websites that have Facebook-enabled comment sections, "likes" and "shares".

In other announcements, there have been rumours of a new version of the company's iPhone SE being in development which could also be unveiled at the conference, as could a rumoured cheaper version of the HomePod smart speaker.

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Apple plans to instead send out generic data to such collectors, making a user's device look just like any other Apple device. Facebook and Google make the vast majority of their money by selling ads.

One of the more comedic highlights of the whole presentation was when Apple threw some serious shade at Facebook's sketchy tracking practices.

Apple has dealt with a number of scandals over the past year.

The event also included major updates on ARKit, the framework the company released a year ago to help developers build augmented-reality apps, including a unified AR file format, improved face tracking, and support for app-makers.

Apple is adding Group FaceTime to iOS 12 in a move that could make it more of a player in video conferencing and collaboration.

What is clear is that Apple is banking on users becoming more interested in AR experiences. What remains to be seen is whether there is enough of a compelling reason for someone to use AR, even if it's built into everyday apps.