Back in January, we reported that Apple plans to delay many of the biggest features rumored for iOS 12 as part of a move that would allow the company to focus on performance and quality improvements in its mobile operating system.
And while that means we’re unlikely to see many groundbreaking new features arrive on iPhone and iPad this fall — as the move effectively pushes the bulk of them into 2019, at the earliest — a new Bloomberg report published this morning appears to shed additional light on what we can expect.
The delayed features are reportedly part of an iOS build dubbed “Peace” internally, according to Bloomberg, who goes on to note the delays, themselves, were prompted by what Apple’s software chief, Craig Federighi, described as an “internal culture shift” — where software engineers are now free to work on new iOS features at their discretion without the added pressure of rushing and cramming them into its annual update.
Apple is reportedly working on a mess of new Animoji features for iPad, facilitated by an upcoming model of the tablet equipped with Face ID and a TrueDepth camera. We previously shared a wealth of rumored specs and info about this device, which Bloomberg’s Mark Gurman has pegged for a [potential] late 2018 release. Read more about the 2018 iPad here.
Not only will Animoji be arriving on iPad in the same capacity it’s currently employed on iPhone X, but Apple has even bigger plans to incorporate Animoji characters into FaceTime conversations, allowing users to place Animoji skins — much like a Snapchat, Facebook, or Instagram filters — over their natural face during a call.
Apple is said to be working on a new ‘universal apps’ feature, which would allow iPhone, iPad and macOS apps to run seamlessly across a user’s range of connected devices.
Though details about the game-changing feature were absent in today’s report, the initiative sounds a lot like Apple’s previously rumored ‘Project Marzipan’, which should give us at least some indication of what to expect.
Theoretically, one could get a better idea of Apple’s planned ‘universal apps’ feature by noting how it works across Microsoft devices via the PC-giant’s Windows Universal Apps platform — though Apple’s initiative will likely be more advanced, simply given the time of its release.
Other notable features expected in iOS 12 include a revamped Apple Stocks app, providing users a new interface for viewing up-to-the-minute quotes and news, as well as improvements to iOS’ inbuilt Do Not Disturb function.
The next major iOS update is also expected to include a range of system, UI, and software enhancements, including a new “tabs within apps” feature for iPad allowing users to run several windows inside a single application box. We can even expect to see major changes, including a refresh of the aged iOS Home screen grid layout, for example.
Unfortunately, Bloomberg reminds us, we’ll just have to wait until 2019 for the majority of these features and upgrades — though much is still expected of iOS 12 this fall, including a new Digital Health tool allowing parents to see into how much time their children have been staring into the screen.
“The renewed focus on quality is designed to make sure the company can fulfill promises made each summer at the annual developers conference and that new features work reliably and as advertised,” said Bloomberg’s Mark Gurman of Apple’s new plans.
Gurman added that [iOS software chief] Federighi’s “army of engineers” will not only have more time to work on new features but also focus more on “under-the-hood refinements, without being tied to a list of new features annually simply so the company can tout a massive year-over-year leap” [in terms of features].
Worth pointing out, of course, is that while Apple’s new plan may appear to be of great benefit to the quality, stability, and integrity of iOS, only time will tell how these “forced delays” are received by consumers.
Apple’s HomePod is largely the company’s direct competitor to Sonos. To commemorate its newfound competition, Sonos yesterday released a custom Spotify playlist with a hidden message for Apple.
We’ve seen quite a few HomePod reviews from media sites that Apple invited to test the speaker, but now that the HomePod has officially launched in Australia, HomePod first impressions from regular Apple customers are now available.
New HomePod owners on reddit, Twitter, and the MacRumors forums have been sharing their opinions on the device, and for those awaiting a HomePod of their own or considering purchasing, these comments from average consumers provide interesting insight.
MacRumors reader ApeBot was one of the first to receive a new HomePod in Australia, and he said setting it up was “incredibly fast and easy with an iPhone.” As for sound quality, it’s “impressive” and “fills the room beautifully.”
When using “Hey Siri” with other compatible iOS devices around, the HomePod is the device that responds first, something that future owners HomePod have been wondering about. Since iOS 10, with multiple devices around, when you say “Hey Siri” your devices intelligently decide which one should respond, and it’s no different with HomePod.
Just got my HomePod. Beware, the box lid lifts off.. if you are like me, in your excitement you will hold the box up like Baby Simba in the Lion King and the HomePod will slide straight out the bottom and crash down to the floor.
Setup was incredibly fast and easy with my iPhone. Sound quality so far is impressive. Fills the room beautifully. The top display is captivating. Control via control center on my phone is integrated nicely.
For me personally, it doesnt feel as familiar as Apple products usually do. Maybe thats because it doesn’t have a familiar OS?
Reddit user ghostinthelatrine offered to answer questions about the new HomePod, leading to some insightful discussion. He says the HomePod’s sound “blows the [Sonos] Play 3 out of the water,” and that Siri’s voice detection is “phenomenal.”
Holy crap. Siri’s ability to pick up my voice is phenomenal. Really phenomenal. I stood 10 meters away (32.81ft – Thanks, Siri!) with my fridge door open and I was able to just speak like a normal person (this is important for my wife who likes to use the Google Home to set timers, etc.). Felt like I was always shouting at the Google Home.
Using the HomePod as a speaker for the Apple TV was “surprisingly quiet,” even at a high volume level, though the sound itself was described as “crystal clear.” You can also use the HomePod with a Mac as an AirPlay destination from iTunes and it appears as an output device in the Sound settings.
Another redditor shared a detailed list of initial impressions, and he too praised the HomePod’s sound quality and the ease of activating Siri on the device.
– Audio is very good, with impressive clarity and loudness. I’m no audiophile, but I do enjoy music a great deal, and the quality of HomePod is immediately evident from the moment you start using it.
– Setup grabs Apple Music AppleID details, etc from the phone, so no time was spent entering those in
– Hey Siri activates extremely well, at normal speaking volume, and I have been able to get it to play stuff on Apple Music and Podcasts very easily
AirPlay also worked well from both iOS devices and the Mac, with the exception being AirPlaying content from the Overcast app. His other comments focused on the HomePod’s design. The “size and heft” of the device were surprising, and the outer fabric is “soft, but firm.”
The top of the HomePod, where the touch controls are located, is glossy and smooth, and in a separate tweet, another new HomePod owner said this area is something of a fingerprint magnet.
Finger print hell on the HomePod’s OLED surface pic.twitter.com/LcELKi4LMk
— Raj Deut (@rajdeut) February 8, 2018
Multiple Twitter users also had thoughts to share on the HomePod, weighing in on everything from the device’s sound to Siri to its power cable.
— rogeh (@rogehsworld) February 8, 2018
First HomePod impressions:
– Sounds amazing
– Siri is still dumb as a brick
– Small and heavy
– Really nice power cable
— Russell Ivanovic (@rustyshelf) February 8, 2018
Holy Crap – I am an audiophile and the HomePod is an austounding leap forward in audio for price – the separation and soundstage from a “single” speaker is amaze balls
— Ed Dale (@Ed_Dale) February 8, 2018
On the MacRumors forums, upcoming HomePod owners have also listed some songs they’ll be using to test out the HomePod’s capabilities when it arrives, including “Hotel California” from The Eagles, “Prelude and Kiara” from Bonobo, “Hits and Exit Wounds” from Alabama 3, “Core” from Stone Temple Pilots, “Your Latest Trick” by Dire Straits, and “Bohemian Rhapsody” by Queen.
Once the HomePod launches in the UK and the United States, our forums will be filled with HomePod users sharing their opinions and tips and tricks for using the new speaker. Make sure to check out our HomePod forum to share your thoughts on the new speaker, or post them here in this thread, and stay tuned to MacRumors because we’ll have plenty of HomePod coverage both tomorrow and next week.
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