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, Apple’s 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 Apple’s progress when the company’s Worldwide Developers Conference (WWDC) rolls around in June.
Apple also expects to integrate iOS 11’s 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 iPhone’s 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 Apple’s WWDC in June.