APPLE HAS SHOWN OFF iOS 12, a souped-up version of its mobile OS that looks to cut down the amount of time you spend on it.
The OS, which will be supported on all of the same devices as iOS 11, focuses on improving performance and reliability, as expected.
A number of under-the-hood tweaks will see a major software-wide performance boost, according to Apple, particularly on older devices. On the iPhone 6S, for example, apps will allegedly open 40 per cent faster than before, and you can take a photo 70 per cent faster than on iOS 11.
Like Google, Apple is also introducing tools so that users can better monitor and limit the amount of time they spend gawping at their iDevice.
A new 'Screen Time' app will send you a weekly activity summary, showing you how long you've spent ogling sandwiches on Instagram, and which apps send you the most notifications. And there's a tool called 'app limits' allowing you to limit the amount of time you - or your kids - spend on certain apps each day.
Further, Do Not Disturb's new 'bedtime' feature will ensure no Candy Crush notifications wake you up, while support for grouped notifications will reduce the amount of time you're distracted by pop-ups.
Augmented reality (AR), as the WWDC invite suggested, is another big focus in iOS 12, with Apple debuting the second-gen version of its ARKit platform, which boasts improved face tracking, realistic rendering, 3D object detection and shared experiences.
Apple is pretty excited about the latter, as this will enable developers to create multiplayer AR environments for the first time. Lego was brought on stage to demo its multiplayer AR experience - so instead of playing with your Lego, you'll soon be able to, er, gawp at a virtual creation.
The firm also touted its new USDZ file format that developed in partnership with Pixar, with Adobe announcing it was adding native USDZ support to its Creative Cloud app; and a new AR-powered 'Measure' tool that allows you to measure 3D objects in the real world.
When it comes to Siri, Apple is adding Shortcuts, a feature that looks to provide the information that Apple thinks you need throughout your day. For example, if you go to the cinema, Siri can remind you to mute your device, and if it's your grandma's birthday, Apple's virtual helper will remind you to call her. iOS 12 will also debut a new Shortcuts app will allow users to programme their own, er, shortcuts.
And of course, the biggest new feature set to debut in iOS 12 is Memoji, allowing you to create lifelike Animoji.
When it rolls out in September, iOS 12 users can also expect redesigned News and Stocks apps (woo!), support for Group FaceTime calls, and - finally - an iPad version of the Voice Memos app.
iOS 12 will be available on all of the same devices as iOS 11, which means it'll be supported on iPhone 5S and above, all iPad Air and Pro models, iPad mini 2 and above and the 6th-gen iPod Touch.
A developer preview of iOS 12 is available from today, with Apple's public beta set to launch later this month. µ
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