Today, Apple will release as a software update the latest version of the operating system for the iPhone and iPad, iOS 12. Apple previewed the features of iOS 12 three months ago, and you can click here to read what is new. Note that I discussed the new version of FaceTime in that post, but Apple has decided to wait a little bit longer before rolling out the group FaceTime feature.
The feature that I am most looking forward to is Siri Shortcuts. I like the Workflow app, and now that it is built-in to the operating system it will be so much more powerful. I like that iOS 12 will recommend shortcuts to you, making this feature accessible to everyone. But I'm especially interested to see all of the great shortcuts that power users will be able to dream up and share.
Moreover, when apps are updated to support shortcuts, they can become much more powerful. Here's a great example. I often wear my AirPods to listen to a podcast or music as I am walking through an airport to catch a flight. Wit the TripIt app installed on my iPhone, I can say "Hey Siri, upcoming flight" and TripIt will (1) tell my my next flight number such as Delta 123, (2) tell me how long I have before the flight departs, (3) tell me the gate number, and (4) tell me the flight's status. (Note that #4, flight status, is only available if you pay for the TripIt Pro service, but the other features work for everyone.) That is precisely the information that I want as I'm walking through the airport, and if I'm wearing my AirPods, Siri can just talk to me without me needing to look down at my iPhone screen. And this is just one example of what the TripIt app can do with shortcuts. And TripIt is just one of countless apps that will be updated to support shortcuts. This is cool stuff.
I'm also looking forward to the improvements to notifications. In iOS 12, they are even easier to manage and organize.
It's always a good idea to backup your device before you install a major new update such as iOS 12. Last night, I backed up my iPhone and my iPad to my iMac so that I would be ready. The update is typically available around 10am Pacific / 1pm Eastern, and I always recommend that you wait a few hours before updating because there have been a few times in the past when Apple had to pull an update shortly after release because a bug was discovered.
In addition to iOS 12, Apple is also releasing watchOS 5 today. I discussed the major new features in this post. There are fitness improvements, the new Walkie-Talkie feature, support for Siri Shortcuts, podcast support, improved notifications, and more. Thus, if you already have an Apple Watch on your wrist, today it gets better.