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iPhone SE 2 release date, news, price and leaks
Posted by John McCann on 12 September 2018 09:00 PM

Apple's 2018 iPhone launch has been and gone, without any mention of the iPhone SE 2. And there's plenty to suggest that the iPhone SE line is dead altogether now.

The iPhone SE 2 is one of the tech world's great 'will it, won't it' sagas. Rumored to be on, then off, then on and then off again, we're really no clearer on when - if ever - the iPhone SE 2 release date will be.

Now, with the iPhone XS, iPhone XS Max, and iPhone XR revealed to the public, Apple has pulled all mention of the iPhone SE from its website, suggesting that (with the XR now populating its 'affordable' slot), we'll never see a new SE in Apple stores ever again.

Despite today's lack of concrete news, we'll be continuing to monitor iPhone SE 2 leaks, as we have for over two years, just in case the rumor mill continues to churn out small nuggets of hope. For the time being however, take all the tidbits of info below now with a huge pinch of salt.

This more affordable of the new iPhones, dubbed the iPhone XR, has more in common with the iPhone X than the iPhone SE from 2016.

The iPhone XR won't offer the compact form factor of the SE though, with a 6.1-inch display, which means it's unlikely to satisfy those desperate for the iPhone SE 2.

Whether we'll actually see an iPhone SE 2 launch, or a passing of the mantel to the iPhone XR, the new device is still a huge spec upgrade over the iPhone SE. 

For those fixated on the SE form factor though, we're constantly on the look out for iPhone SE 2 rumors, and you'll find everything you need to know below - but be warned, it's not looking good for the dinky dialer.

iPhone SE 2 release date

We didn't get the new iPhone SE 2 at WWDC 2018, despite rumors suggesting it may turn up there, and nothing at the 2018 iPhone event, either.

To start with, 11 variants of an Apple device crossed the Eurasian Economic Commission database. Apple's Eurasian filings have outed important products before, including the AirPods, and it usually foreshadows new gadgets one to two months ahead of time. 

Another rumor added that the iPhone SE 2 was likely to enter mass production in the first quarter of 2018, which was in the right time frame for a September arrival - but as iPhone leaks hot up, news of the iPhone SE 2 has been hard to find.

We've also not heard anything since on production, so there's no clear indication if the iPhone SE 2 production process ever got off the floor.

Meanwhile, prominent industry analyst Ming-Chi Kuo doesn't believe Apple has the capacity to make an iPhone SE 2 this year.

Kuo said, "with three new models in the pipeline for the second half of 2018, we believe Apple may have used up its development resources."

We've also now heard from case maker Olixar that it doesn't believe there will be an iPhone SE 2 this year, so it's looking like there might be a long wait for the phone, if it ever arrives.

iPhone SE 2 price

In terms of pricing, if we do see an iPhone SE 2 launch, it will likely remain Apple's most affordable iPhone. 

The only iPhone SE 2 price rumor so far points to roughly $450 (which will likely translate to £450, AU$700 given how Apple prices its products worldwide), which seems believable.

The original iPhone SE started at $399 (£379, AU$679) for the 16GB variant, but now it starts at $349 (£349, AU$549) for 32GB of storage, as the 16GB model has been discontinued and the price dropped due to its aging innards.

We'd expect the iPhone SE 2 to cost at least as much, and a price rise is likely, but it should still be cheap relative to the rest of Apple's range.

iPhone SE 2

The iPhone SE 2 could boast a brand new look

iPhone SE 2 design

In terms of how the new iPhone is going to look, well - we've got two theories rolling around, and both are rather believable.

The most popular theory is that the new smaller iPhone will have an iPhone X-like screen, complete with notch at the top:

If the iPhone SE 2 does exist, this is how it may look

... but with the iPhone XR taking that style for its own, it may appear that the rumor mill has crossed its wires and been sharing information on the now-real handset, as opposed to the still-ephemeral SE 2.

The rear of the phone was said to pack the same dual cameras as the iPhone X, with a video of a purportedly leaked of the new iPhone SE 2. We'll leave it here for your pleasure, but the above notes mean its validity is now truly called into question:

BGR was also sent some sketches of the phone in this configuration from a 'reliable source', so it's got some grains of truth in there, with the notch at the top, no home button and no headphone port (the latter a regular rumor).

A new screen protector has also been shown off by regular leaker Sonny Dickson, which also shows off a notch at the top for a smaller phone.

iPhone SE 2

A screen protector apparently for the iPhone SE 2 (left) and iPhone X (right). (credit: Sonny Dickson)

There's something sketchy here though. In this form, the iPhone SE 2 is more of an 'iPhone X Mini', which doesn't feel like a device that would be launched outside of the September event. Dual cameras and the new screen would mean it would cost a lot more, which is against the point of the iPhone SE range, for people that want a smaller, cheaper iPhone. It all adds up to the rumors being sourced at the iPhone XR development center.

We also have the image below, which shows a design a lot like the original iPhone SE and with the headphone port intact. Could this be closer to any perhaps-planned iPhone SE 2 design?

iPhone SE 2

This looks a lot like the original iPhone SE. (credit: Weibo)

It's a design that another leak seems to echo, adding that the iPhone SE 2 will have a glass back and support wireless charging, so with two distinct designs doing the rounds we're not sure what's accurate at this point.

More iPhone SE 2 rumors, news and leaks

In other news, we've heard that the iPhone SE 2 could have a quad-core A10 chipset, 2GB of RAM, a 12MP rear camera, a 5MP front-facing one, a 4-inch screen and that it could come in 32GB and 128GB sizes.

That would be an upgrade in some areas from the iPhone SE, but not much of one, putting it roughly in line with the iPhone 7, albeit with a smaller screen.

What's the most confusing about the new phone is this: how would you get into it? FaceID has been rumored to not be available, if the all-screen version is to be believed, in order to save money... so how would you open the phone?

With that in mind, the more traditional, static design with the fingerprint scanner seems to have more weight... so let's see what appears.

iPhone SE 2: what we want to see 

We’ve come up with a wish list, filled with features that we want to see in the new iPhone SE 2. 

Some of them are pleas to Apple to not remove key specs, while others dare the company to try something new. 

A headphone jack

First things first: the iPhone SE has a headphone jack and we'd very much like it if Apple kept things in place for the iPhone SE 2.

If Apple doesn't mess with the design of the next iteration, there's little reason to see it removed. However, rumors point to a new look, so fingers are crossed that the 3.5mm headphone jack doesn't get left on the cutting room floor.

A better battery

From a value perspective, the iPhone SE is high on the charts if you're looking for a phone that will last you through the day. As we discovered in our in-depth battery test, the SE swept the floor of the other popular iPhone models of the time, like the iPhone 7 and iPhone 6.

Its prowess at saving power makes sense. The screen is smaller and its boxy design doesn’t force Apple to slim down on the battery in the way that it might for a slimmer, sleeker chassis used with its core iPhone products.

While we're short on complaints about the SE's battery performance, it can only get better, right? We'd like to see Apple pushing some boundaries with its next phone with numbers that take it even higher.

Improved performance

One of the more impressive things about the SE is that it fits in a similar set of specs found in the iPhone 6S. A punchy palm-sized smartphone that could handle everything that its fancier iPhone brethren could for a more digestible price.

That's 2016 power though, and in 2018 we're hoping Apple gives the iPhone SE 2 the latest chipset and a bump in RAM.

A refreshed design

There's no arguing that reviving the iPhone 5 design for use with the iPhone SE was a good idea. After all, it's a winning design, first debuted on the iPhone 4, that set Apple far ahead of its competition in terms of build quality.

However, there comes a time when even the best design ideas need to be left to the side. And when looking toward the release of the iPhone SE 2, that time is now. 

We'd love to see something drastically different, all while sticking to the ergonomic four-inch size that SE fans are accustomed to.

A chance

That's right, we want Apple to give the iPhone SE 2 a chance. There's still a market out there for people who want an iPhone that sits comfortably in the palm, can be used one handed without inducing a drop risk, and doesn't take up every square inch of a pocket.

The iPhone SE form factor is loved by its its fans, and while the iPhone SE 2 won't be a best-seller for Apple it will show that the Cupertino firm is listening to some of its most loyal fans.

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iPhone XS vs iPhone XR: how does Apple's new cheaper handset compare to the XS?
Posted by James Rogerson on 12 September 2018 08:59 PM

Apple has just announced three new iPhones – the iPhone XS, iPhone XS Max and iPhone XR and it’s the first and last of those that we’re looking at here.

The former is the main successor to the iPhone X, while the latter is the replacement for the iPhone 8, but in many ways has more in common with the X than the 8.

In fact, from the front the iPhone XR looks a lot like the iPhone XS, but look closer and there are loads of differences. Read on for an overview of them both.

iPhone XS vs iPhone XR design

Apple has completely ditched the old iPhone design last seen on the iPhone 8, with even the ‘entry-level’ iPhone XR sporting a near bezel-free look with a notch and no home button.

The iPhone XS sports that look too, with both phones having a glass back and a metal frame – though the iPhone XS has a stainless-steel frame, while the iPhone XR has an aluminum one.

The iPhone XS is also more water-resistant, as it’s IP68 rated, meaning it can survive depths of 2 meters in water for up to 30 minutes, while the iPhone XR can only be submerged up to 1 meter deep.

The iPhone XR is more colourful than the iPhone XS

Other than that, the main design difference is their dimensions and weight, as the iPhone XS comes in at 143.6 x 70.9 x 7.7mm and 177g, while the iPhone XR is 150.9 x 75.7 x 8.3mm and 194g. So the XR is larger and heavier, but then it has a bigger screen, which we’ll get to below.

The iPhone XR is also available in a wider range of colors, specifically space red, yellow, white, coral, black and blue, while the iPhone XS comes in just space grey, silver and gold.

iPhone XS vs iPhone XR display

The iPhone XS has a 5.8-inch OLED screen with a resolution of 1125 x 2436 and a pixel density of 458 pixels per inch, while the iPhone XR has a 6.1-inch LCD display with a resolution of 828 x 1792 and a pixel density of 326 pixels per inch.

So the iPhone XR has a larger but less sharp screen and its use of LCD means the colors and contrast probably won’t be as strong – though Apple has been delivering great LCD screens for years, so it will probably still look good.

iPhone XS

The iPhone XS has a higher resolution screen

iPhone XS vs iPhone XR OS and power

Both the iPhone XS and iPhone XR use Apple’s new A12 Bionic chipset, so there shouldn’t be much difference in terms of power and both are likely to be among the most powerful phones around. The XS might have more RAM, but Apple hasn’t revealed how much each handset has, so we’re not sure.

Both phones also run iOS 12 of course, so there’s even less difference when it comes to the software. You can also expect both handsets to be supported with software updates for years to come.

iPhone XS vs iPhone XR camera and battery

This is one of the main differences between the two phones, as while the iPhone XS has a 12MP dual-lens rear camera (with both a telephoto and wide-angle lens), the iPhone XR has just a 12MP single-lens camera.

It does at least have optical image stabilization (as does the iPhone XS), but it lacks things like optical zoom, due to having just one lens.

There's only one rear camera on the iPhone XR

However both phones have a TrueDepth front-facing camera, allowing for Face ID and Portrait Mode (which can blur the background of shots using the snapper’s depth-sensing skills).

Apple hasn’t revealed the battery size of either phone. It never does, so we’ll have to wait for someone to open them up, but it has said the iPhone XS can last for up to 12 hours of internet use or 14 hours of video, while the iPhone XR can apparently go for up to 15 hours of internet or 16 hours of video, so the XR should last longer.

iPhone XS vs iPhone XR price and availability

The iPhone XS will be available to pre-order on September 14 and will ship from September 21 at a starting price of $999 / £999 / AU$1,579.

The iPhone XR on the other hand will be available to pre-order on October 19 and will arrive in stores on October 26, with a starting price of $749 / £749 / AU$1,229.


There are fewer differences between the iPhone XS and the iPhone XR than there were between the iPhone X and the iPhone 8, but the XR is still clearly the lower end handset, despite having a bigger screen.

Its photographic skills are unlikely to be as good and nor is its screen quality. But then it’s also cheaper, so if you want a big-screen iPhone and can’t stretch to the iPhone XS Max, or you’re just on a budget, it could be the better buy.

But if you want Apple’s real flagship then the iPhone XS (or the XS Max) is the only choice.

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What is AirPower? Here's what we know so far about Apple's wireless charging mat
Posted by Michelle Fitzsimmons on 12 September 2018 08:37 PM

Apple's iPhone 8, iPhone 8 Plus and iPhone X have been on sale for a year now, and one of the biggest innovations with these iPhones, and the new iPhone XS, iPhone XS Max and iPhone XR, is wireless charging. 

Update: The Apple Event 2018 has been and gone and there is still no news on the AirPower. We aren't happy either about the no show and put pen to paper to ask, just what is going on?

But, you need something with which to charge these, and your other Apple devices, right? To that end, Apple has created AirPower.

Shown off as a sneak peek during Apple's big event, AirPower is a wireless charging system that lets you power up your iPhone, Apple Watch 3 and AirPods, all at the same time. 

That's three devices wirelessly charging at once, a feat Apple has never achieved before.

Of course, Apple hasn't invented wireless charging here (it's been around on Android for years), but Apple is bringing its own spin to the tech, and customizing it for its latest batch of devices.

As demonstrated in a video, AirPower begins to charge your Apple products almost as soon as they are placed on the mat. The iPhone X screen displays the AirPower interface, providing easy-to-read updates on the battery life of your devices. 

Interestingly, the Apple Watch screen didn't display battery life info in the video. We imagine this is a feature Apple will introduce when AirPower is released, otherwise you'll always have to have your iPhone on the mat to get a reading.

How AirPower works

The heart of the AirPower system is a thin, oval-shaped pad. And, while only the AirPods (in their optional case) fit snuggling on its surface, your Apple Watch and iPhone will have ample elbow room.

AirPower works with Qi charging technology, the leading wireless charging standard on the market. 

While Qi is available in third-party charging mats from the likes of Belkin and others, AirPower is Apple's proprietary solution to your new wireless charging needs.

Apple Watch previously made use of Qi wireless charging, included in a pad crafted by Apple. However, AirPower allows for up to three different devices to charge at once, making it more open than Apple's previous effort.

This is also the first time wireless charging is available for the iPhone, and this is thanks to the iPhone 8, iPhone 8 Plus and iPhone X's glass backs. 

But, AirPower is more than a mat; it's a whole wireless charging system that allows devices to communicate and manage power consumption between them.

As Apple's head of worldwide marketing Phil Schiller said on stage at the announcement, this isn't possible with other wireless charging systems currently available.

Schiller said, "We hope people love it, that it encourages others to create more advanced solutions based on technologies like this."

Apple plans to work with the Qi standards team to bring AirPower's features to other charging solutions in the future, Schiller said.

One major question about the AirPower system left unanswered is what the mat itself will connect to. There's clearly a wire coming out of one side, and it's likely AirPower will have a wall charger and/or USB to let you connect to a computer. 

It's also important to note that while AirPower offers fast charging, this feature will not work with the new iPhones. Instead, users can only fast charge over USB-C, which requires purchasing a USB-C to Lightning cable and USB-C Power Adaptor.

AirPower price and release date

Two key details about AirPower remain unconfirmed: price and release date. It was initially revealed in September 2017, but it may be a whole year later by the time you're actually able to buy it.

Anonymous sources speaking to Bloomberg have said the wireless charging mat will come in September 2018 alongside a new range of iPhones. That has been backed up by a report from trusted analyst Ming-Chi Kuo too.

We originally expected the charging pad to launch before the end of 2017 and then we heard rumors pointing to a March 2018 launch. That didn't happen though, so if you're waiting to buy one you may be waiting a bit longer.

As for how much it will cost, chances are it will be expensive. Apple's original Apple Watch Qi charger cost $79 (about £60, AU$100). The fact this new mat charges more devices will likely up its price.

In November 2017, a Polish ecomm site listed Apple AirPower as costing 999 Złotych, which converts to $274/£207/AU$356. But items that sell for that much on this particular site tend to cost $199, which would put the UK and Australia prices at £150/AU$260, respectively.

We'll update this page as more details come to light.

Read more »

iPad Pro 3 release date, price, news and leaks
Posted by James Rogerson,Matt Swider on 12 September 2018 08:35 PM

The iPad Pro 3 is Apple's next big upgrade, and we're leaning toward an October or late 2018 release date after it didn't show up at the iPhone XS launch event.

The new iPad Pro is supposed to give us bezel-reduced screens in two sizes, and leaks suggest it'll have iPhone X TrueDepth camera technology for Face ID.

Sure, we saw the entry-level new iPad 2018 launch earlier this year with education-focused ideas, but if you're looking for a more powerful refresh of the existing iPad Pro 10.5 and iPad Pro 12.9 (2017), that's said to be coming soon.

Apple is bent on making its iPad Pro series a 'laptop replacement' for as many users as possible, almost treating its Pro tablets as if they're touchscreen MacBooks. With iOS 11 and its tablet-focused software, Apple got closer to fulfilling that vision.

The iPad Pro 3, for this reason, will almost certainly remain expensive, and it still might not be a laptop replacement for absolutely everyone, no matter how much Apple tries to convince you otherwise and no matter how much it charges.

Will the new iPad Pro be a game changer? It appears to be in for interesting changes. Here are the details we've gathered and our best educated guesses at the price, release date and certain specs and features based on Apple’s history.

Cut to the chase

  • What is iPad Pro 3? The next flagship iPad Pro
  • When is iPad Pro launch? A 2018 reveal is now unlikely, but look to October or early 2019
  • What will iPad Pro 3 cost? Likely at least £619/$649/AU$979

Newest iPad Pro 3 leak

According to the noted Apple supply chain analyst Ming-Chi Kuo, the iPad Pro 3 might ditch Lightning for USB-C, with an 18W power adapter included in the box.

The analyst also believes that Apple's next iPad Pro range will introduce iPhone X-style Face ID unlock functionality. 

iPad Pro 3 release date and price

The iPad Pro 3 release date is still subject to much speculation, with the tablets rarely appearing at the same time of year each time we see a new one.

New iPad Pro 3

Apple had its iPhone XS launch event on September 12, but it came and went without mention of an iPad Pro 3.

There's additional evidence that it could be coming soon however, as an Apple tablet has seemingly passed through the EEC (Eurasian Economic Commission), which is something we'd expect to happen not too long before launch.

However, it's worth noting that Apple opted to launch its iPad Pro duo at a separate event in October last year, so an announcement this week would be a change of course for the firm - something it's not particularly known for doing.

Whenever the iPad Pro 3 tablets do come out, they'll surely have a high price. The iPad Pro 10.5 starts at £619/$649/AU$979, so with Apple seemingly being done with 9.7-inch Pro models that’s probably the minimum you’ll pay.

iPad Pro 3 design

Hottest leaks:

  • Tiny bezels
  • No home button

We've now seen renders supposedly showing the design of the 12.9-inch iPad Pro 3, and you can see them below.

Details include slim bezels and no home button or fingerprint scanner, so Face ID is sure to be included. But the bezels are still big enough that there's no need for a notch.

It looks to still have a metal back, four speaker grilles and a single-lens rear camera, but some other things have changed - the Smart Connector has moved to the bottom of the back (when held in portrait), there's seemingly no 3.5mm headphone port, and there's an unidentified button on the right edge.

The source adds that apparently the iPad Pro 12.9 (2018) comes in at 280.6 x 215 x 5.85mm (or 7.77mm including the rear camera bump), making it smaller than the iPad Pro 12.9 (2017).

iPad Pro 3 display

Hottest leaks:

  • 12.9 and 10.5-inch models
  • 10.5-inch version could be replaced with 11-inch model

Apple may give the iPad Pro 3 a notch, as the iOS 12 beta moves the status bar clock to the left edge, leaving empty space in the middle where a notch would go. That said, the renders above don't include a notch, so don't count on that.

If Apple goes with an all-screen display design, it could allow the new iPads to either increase in screen size or stay the same size and shrink the body. That'd be a big deal for the sometimes cumbersome 12.9-inch iPad Pro, and based on the information we've heard so far shrinking the body of the 12.9-inch model is what Apple has chosen to do.

For the smaller 10.5-inch iPad though it could mean a slight increase in size as we've seen a report claiming it will have an 11-inch display.

However, as Apple has just introduced a new size with the 10.5-inch model we’re not convinced that the size would be changing already. We also fully expect the iPad Pro 3 to have a True Tone display with a 120Hz refresh rate, just like its predecessor.

iPad Pro 3 camera and battery

Hottest leaks:

  • A TrueDepth front-facing camera
  • Better bokeh effects

We wouldn’t expect much change to the camera. Apple has stuck the same 12MP and 7MP rear and front snappers as the iPhone 8 has on its latest slates, which is serious overkill for a tablet, so should serve the Pro range well for at least another year.

That said, if it has Face ID as rumored then it will presumably have a TrueDepth front-facing camera, more like the iPhone X. That’s still 7MP but with extra depth-sensing skills, making it good for Portrait Mode.

There’s no news yet on the iPad Pro 3’s battery, but we’ll be sure to update this section as soon as we hear anything.

New iPad Pro 3

iPad Pro 3 OS and power

Hottest leaks:

  • An A11X Bionic chipset
  • iOS 12

Elsewhere in rumor land, sources in the supply chain are claiming that the iPad Pro 3 will use a new octa-core A11X Bionic chipset. That's an upgrade on the hexa-core A11 Bionic chipset in the iPhone X.

Apparently it will also be smaller, coming in at just 7nm, which could mean it's more efficient, and it will supposedly include a neural processing unit, which further points to the possible inclusion of Face ID, as that's largely powered by AI.

Of course, the iPad Pro 3 is also sure to run iOS 12, which is already available in beta. This brings iPhone-like gesture controls to the iPad, as well as adding Siri Shortcuts, grouped notifications, augmented reality improvements and more.

iPad Pro 3 other features

Hottest leaks:

  • Face ID
  • Four speakers

You won't hear Apple officially call its upcoming slate the 'modern iPad,' but that name has been found in iOS 11.3 code.

'Modern iPad' doesn't sound very meaningful, but the phrase 'modern iPhone' was used ahead of the iPhone X's release. The suggestion is that the term could refer to all those fancy new features, like Face ID and an almost bezel-free screen.

Indeed, the idea that the new iPad Pro for 2018 could allow you to unlock your tablet with your face rather than your finger is a rumor we've heard more than once.

In fact, a Face ID setup screen has even been found in the iOS 12 beta for iPad. The same beta also contains multiple user support for Face ID - a feature which would be more useful on a tablet than a phone.

Other existing features, such as the quad-speakers and the Smart Connector (all of which are pictured in leaked images) are also likely to return.

What we want to see

Great as the current iPad Pro models are they’re also very expensive, and still lack some key features or trail behind rivals in certain ways. With that in mind here’s a list of the things we most want to see from the iPad Pro 3.

1. Water resistance

Apple has added water resistance to its phones, but so far not its tablets, and while it’s less needed on a tablet since it’s too big to drop in a glass and unlikely to be used in the rain, it could still come in handy.

Drinks still spill and people use tablets when cooking or by the pool, so knowing that the iPad Pro 3 could survive a dunk would be reassuring, especially given how much these things cost.

2. Even better productivity skills

New iPad Pro 3

Apple is really pushing the productivity potential of the iPad Pro, yet in most cases it still can’t quite match up to a laptop.

iOS isn’t versatile enough even with iOS 11, and accessories such as the Smart Keyboard tend to be overpriced for what’s ultimately a mediocre experience.

Better, lower priced accessories would help, along with further changes to iOS, bringing it more in line with a desktop operating system. More full, desktop quality software, such as Photoshop, would help too. To some extent that’s out of Apple’s hands, but it could make deals with developers, or just make the platform more appealing to them.

3. A lower price

The iPad Pro is an expensive bit of kit, there’s no getting around that, whichever size or model you pick. Given the amount of tech packed in it’s not necessarily bad value, but it can be hard to justify the outlay, especially when there are cheaper tablets and it’s not a full laptop replacement.

So we’d like to see a price cut for the iPad Pro 2, or at the very least (and far more likely) the price remaining the same, while the tech and storage capacity improves.

4. A sharp OLED screen

New iPad Pro 3

The iPad Pro 2 in both its 10.5 and 12.9-inch sizes has a screen with a pixel density of 265 pixels per inch, which is fairly sharp, and the overall screen quality is high.

But there are sharper screens on tablets, laptops and phones, so we’d like to see Apple raise the resolution, especially as an iPad should be a prime candidate for 4K content.

And as well as a new resolution, we’d like to see a new display technology, namely OLED. Apple has now used this for the iPhone X, so it’s entirely possible that the iPad Pro 3 could benefit as well.

5. Face ID

Apple debuted Face ID on the iPhone X, letting you simply look at the phone to unlock it. That means no more home button, which in turn allows for a bigger screen in the same size shell. These are all good things, and things we’d like from the iPad Pro 3.

6. Better battery life

New iPad Pro 3

The iPad Pro 2 doesn’t have bad battery life, far from it if you’re using it mostly as a media device, but if you plan to use the thing as a full laptop replacement you’ll probably only get 6-7 hours out of it.

That’s still not bad, but an extra couple of hours would really help, so whether through a bigger battery or more efficient components and software, we’d like to see Apple eke extra life out of the iPad Pro 3.

7. A new look

The iPad Pro has a slim, light and stylish design, but it’s more or less the same one Apple’s been using for years, so we’d like a complete overhaul for the iPad Pro 3. Something new and exciting that could tempt those with older models to upgrade.

That could take the form of a glass back, a curvy screen, zero bezels, or something else altogether. But if there’s one thing Apple’s almost always great at it’s design, so we’re sure it’s up to the task.

Read more »

iOS 12 release date, news and features
Posted by Matt Swider on 12 September 2018 08:30 PM

The official iOS 12 release date was announced by Apple today, and you can update your iPhone and iPad to the new software starting next week.

iOS 12 will come out on Monday, September 17, according to the company during its iPhone XS and Apple Watch 4 launch event. You won't need that big, but expensive iPhone XS Max or the cheaper iPhone XR to upgrade to the new software.

New features like Memoji, Group Notifications, and, importantly, better overall performance for older phones will help make your existing phone and tablet feel like new.

The release date makes sense. Apple has a habit of launching its new iOS update on the the week after its launch event. So the iOS 12 update release date is September 17, according to Apple's track record.

Of course, you can get the iOS 12 beta right now and it's already better than iOS 11. It also gives us preliminary insight into iPhone XS and Apple Watch 4.

Good news: We've tested features like the Measure app, Siri Shortcuts, and created a Memoji of ourselves and it's actually really good. Our older iPhones are also faster, while Grouped Notifications make the UI easier to navigate.

Bad news: Group FaceTime was delayed, and it won't launch as part of the software on September 17. Expect it in iOS 12.1, maybe sometimes in October when the iPhone XR launches.

Apple is making its mobile operating system reliable and competitive with Google's Android Pie and the Google Pixel 3 that's coming October 9. That much is obvious.

Here's what we know about iOS 12 based on your older iPhone and iPhone XS.

Update: Here are our first impressions of the iOS 12 beta after going hands-on!

iOS 12 release date

  • June 4 – Developer beta launched (to paid Apple Developers)
  • June 25 – iOS 12 public beta launched (it's free)
  • September 17 – the final iOS 12 software (still free)

Apple announced the iOS 12 release date today, though you could have actually tested it early (and still can), with three iOS 12 launch phases: one for developers, one for public beta testers, and one final version coming soon for everyone else.

The developer beta is available now and gets more frequent refreshes. But it's early software and you must be a registered Apple developer. That costs money: $99 for the annual membership. It's for people who like to tinker with software weekly, and so far Apple is on iOS 12 developer beta 12.

The iOS 12 public beta is the one most people will want to test out, and it's also now available to download. It launched on June 25 and is completely free. It's also likely to be less problematic than the developer beta. Expect more stable updates every two to three weeks. The downside? Apple's public betas are always one step behind what the developers have access to.

Both versions of the iOS 12 beta had been unfinished software, so we always advised proceeding with caution before deciding to install iOS 12 beta on your primary device. For example, the iOS 12 beta 1 was great for us, but we had minor reset problems with iOS 12 beta 2. Waiting for the final iOS 12 version is a safer choice if you rely on your iPhone daily.

What's the difference between the latest phones showcasing iOS? Watch our handy explainer to find out:

iOS 12 reliability

  • Apple's looking to put the problematic iOS 11 behind it
  • Older iPhones will be 40% to 70% faster at certain tasks

iOS 12 will focus on reliability and performance with this update, and support all of the same iPhones and iPads that iOS 11 worked with.

Apple called out the iPhone 6 Plus, specifically, saying iOS 12 makes this phone 40% faster at launching apps, 70% faster at launching the camera app, and 50% faster at displaying the keyboard. Keyboard typing and other routine features on older iPhones can slow down with every new iOS update, and Apple is looking to change these pain points with iOS 12.

This makes your existing iPhone and iPad more reliable, and your older devices can be used by family members or be sold now that they'll be more function with iOS 12. They don't have to sit in a draw because they're too slow.

Here's a concrete example already: for us, the public beta has been reliable enough to download. There's the occasional iPhone reset or hangups, but we actually found it to be more reliable than the problematic iOS 11 in some instances. So far, so good.

iOS 12 hints at Apple Watch 4

Apple is readying an Apple Watch 4, at least according to an iOS 12 developer beta 2 update that references Watch4,1, Watch4,2, Watch4,3 and Watch4,4.

That indicates two sizes and both LTE and non-LTE versions of the smartwatch. It's just like we saw from the Apple Watch 3, originally referenced as Watch3,1 to 3,4.

Apple Watch 4 rumors indicate a 15% larger screen (by reducing the bezel) and a larger battery, hopefully for sleep tracking and an always-on display.

(Photo Credit: 9to5Mac)

We've seen the first official-looking Apple Watch 4 photo leak (above), ahead of the big September 12 launch event, and sure enough, the larger screen is the highlight.

iOS 12 doesn't confirm these new features for the iPhone compatible smartwatch, but it does appear as if Apple actively tweaking its software for new Watch hardware.

iOS 12 is 200% less annoying on iPhone X

Here are two irksome features we hated about iOS 11 on the iPhone X that iOS 12 is going to fix. The final software is going to feel 200% less annoying when it launches.

Closing app windows in iOS 12 is now easier thanks to the fact that all you have to do is slide up on an open app to dismiss it from the multitasking menu. iOS 11 had us press down on the app until red close icons appeared over top of each app, and then to tap those little red icons to dismiss the app. That was unpleasant.

Second, whenever we picked up our phone, we'd always pressed the volume up and power button accidentally, which is the new 'take a screenshot' button combination. Apple has disabled this action whenever the phone screen is off. Our iOS 12 Photos app is no longer going to be filled with errant screenshots on the daily.

iOS 12 compatibility

  • Compatible with iPhone 5S, iPad mini2 and iPad Air and newer
  • 11 iPhones, 10 iPads, 1 iPod touch – the broadest iOS update yet 

iOS 12 will run on all devices that have its 64-bit chipset, including the iPhone XS, iPhone XR and iPhone XS Max, which was first introduced in 2013. It'll work on the iPhone 5S and newer, while the iPad Air and iPad mini 2 are the oldest iPads that are compatible with iOS 12. 

That's means this update is supporting 11 different iPhones, 10 different iPads and the sole iPod touch 6th generation still clinging to life. It’s the broadest support for a software update Apple has ever offered, and this is one of the biggest advantages Apple has over Android phones.

ARKit 2 and multiplayer gaming

  • ARKit 2 allows for 'shared experiences' (multiplayer potential)
  • LEGO, Fender, Adobe and Pixar are all working on AR with Apple

iOS 12 cements Apple as a leader in augmented reality (AR) with the arrival of groundbreaking multiplayer capabilities it calls Shared Experiences in ARKit 2.

These multi-user virtual environments are coming to ARKit, allowing for multiplayer gaming and experiences through iPhones and iPads. iOS 12 is going to create a more collaborative (and competitive) way of experiencing AR. 

LEGO demoed a four-player game, pledging that it was in when it came to Apple's “creative play possibilities.” Players were involved in building up an AR town. It was like The Sims was reimagined for the future.

ARKit 2 opens up AR to hundreds of millions of users, according to Apple, and that makes iOS 12 the broadest AR platform in the world. We got a taste of AR last year, but multi-user virtual environments bring more advanced tools and gameplay.

iOS 12 pinpoints 911 calls in the US

You won't have to worry about reciting your exact location when calling 911 in the US thanks to iOS 12. It'll pinpoint your whereabouts during emergency calls.

Apple says it'll "automatically and securely" share your iPhone location with first responders, but only with them and only during such emergencies. It's an effort to reduce response time, yet maintain your privacy.

New 'Measure' app and USDZ file format

  • New USDZ file type dedicated at augmented reality
  • Measure app for iOS 12 to replace your measuring tape

'Measure' is getting its own AR app. It uses the iPhone's and iPad's advanced sensors to measure objects in front of you, including suitcases, as shown in the first iOS 12 demo. All it takes it just tap-and-drag along the edges of the object on the screen. 

It can also automatically detect the approximate dimensions of a photo – we can imagine that will help when you go to buy a photo frame, but can't find the old-fashioned tape measure. iOS 12 to the rescue.

For AR developers, Apple has created a new file type called 'USDZ.' The company worked on USDZ with Pixar, and Adobe is supporting it, too. The file format can be shared across FIles, Mail, Messages and Safari. This is an important step forward for developers working on AR apps.

Camera app changes

Apple didn't announce big camera changes at its WWDC 2018 keynote, but later said that the default camera app will get tweaked with iOS 12.

The Portrait Lighting mode on newer iPhones with a dual-lens camera will look more natural. The software will be able to define crisper edges by more effectively separating a person from a background scene. Apple is also allowing third-party apps to use the software to separate the foreground and background.

It'll be the end of an era for our how to scan a QR code from your iPhone and iPad guide. The default camera in iOS 12 makes QR code reading automatic.

And while not part of the camera app, RAW photos can be imported and managed on an iPhone and iPad, with the bonus ability of editing RAW photos on an iPad Pro.

Photos app is now smarter with iOS 12

  • Betters search and a new 'For you' tab
  • Suggestions on who to share photo collections with
  • Share back suggestions nudge friends to send their photos

The Photos app is expanding search in an effort to compete with Google Photos. It recognizes photos by event and indexes them accordingly. Apple says it takes into account over four million events, citing the Aspen Ideas Festival as a niche example. 

This lets you search by event without any thankless manual tagging. Searching by event joins other smart suggestions, including filtering by people, places, and relative dates (searching via Siri works with all of these and is quiet handy). 

The iOS 12 Photos search capabilities have also been broadened to let you use multiple search terms at once. Seeking "dog, animal" should weed out all of your gourmet hotdog results (this is a real problem we just tested on iOS 11).

A new tab 'For you' is coming to the iOS 12 Photos app, filled with personalized suggestions on how to improve and share your pictures. Sharing has gotten smarter, letting you share at full-resolution and suggesting who to share these photos with.

Share back suggestions is a neat feature that lets you send photos to a friend, and it uses machine learning to poke them to send photos they took to you. iOS 12’s photos sharing uses iMessage's end-to-end encryption.

iPad switches to iPhone-like gestures

It's confusing owning both an iPad and a new iPhone X right now because returning to the home screen and opening Control Center are executed by different gestures.

The iPad takes cues from the iPhone X with the iOS 12 update: swipe up from the bottom to return home and check Control Center by pulling down from the top right-hand corner.

This may be a prelude to the iPad Pro 2018 that's rumored to include Apple's True Depth camera for Face ID, Animoji and Memoji.

Siri Shortcuts can find your lost keys, more

  • Siri Shortcuts allows you to assign phrases to tasks
  • 'I lost my keys' can ring your Tile tracker to find keys
  • 'Heading home' sends ETA notification to roommate, sets thermostat and fan, and brings up the fastest route through Apple Maps
  • Gallery and library full of pre-configured Siri Shortcuts

Siri is getting smarter. It‘ll know that “I lost my keys” means to ring your Tile tracker. Tile is a handy gadget, but getting to the app is a pain, and having Siri integrated is a game-changer for both Tile and our peace of mind.

Siri is going to be filled with shortcuts, so much so that Apple is creating a shortcuts app for iOS 12. It’ll suggest coffee orders from the place you always order from and message contacts to tell them you're running late, and there's also Kayak-based flight information you can call up via voice. By pressing the add to Siri button, you can then say “Travel plans” and Siri will read back information such as your hotel address.

Right now, the IFTTT-like Siri Shortcuts app is in beta testing via Apple's TestFlight app and meant for selected third parties. It's one of the few features that hasn't made it to the iOS 12 beta for developers or for the public yet.

Siri translates new languages, learns motorsport scores

  • Siri can now translate over 40 language pairs
  • Motorsports scores, schedules and stats knowledge
  • Food and celebrity facts knowledge expanded upon
  • Password search not part of Siri's duties in iOS 12

Try asking Siri to translate something into Spanish. It works, and with iOS 12 it'll be even more robust with over 40 language pairs to aid your international travels.

We really hope Siri will be able to translate foreign words into English (that's not possible with iOS 11 at this time when asking Siri what 'hola' means in English).

Siri will also learn the language or motorsports, per se. Asking for Formula One and NASCAR information will have Siri recite live standings, schedule, roster and stat info.

Food knowledge and celebrity facts are also part the Siri update. Right now, asking "How healthy is fish" gives a smatter of search results and requires opening up Siri. In the future, a specific answers about food will come from the USDA database, citing calories, vitamins, and how healthy the food is overall.

Password hunting is now within Siri's grasp, letting you search any saved passwords, according to Apple. This applies to both apps and websites.

Apple News, Stocks, Voice Memos and CarPlay

  • Apple News: new Browse tab and sidebar navigation
  • Stocks: robust chart design and stock news integration
  • Voice memos: easier menus, iCloud support, on iPad (finally)
  • CarPlay: third-party app support, like Google News and Waze

Apps are indeed getting updates with iOS 12, starting with Apple News. There’s a new Browse tab and a sidebar for better navigation. Stocks is finally being rebuilt with a helpful news design, complete with charts and Apple news headline integrated into into stocks. The top stories will be business news curated by Apple News editors.

Voice Memos is coming to iPad (as well as macOS), and it’ll get iCloud support, long overdue changes. Now you won't have to AirDrop conversations between devices in order to listen back. It'll also be easier to assign names to voice clips thanks to an overhauled Voice Memos redesign.

Apple Books is the new name for iBooks, allowing you to pick up reading where you left off and a new store interface to browse buy ebooks and audio books.

CarPlay is going to support third-party applications, with Waze and Google Maps appearing on-screen. Apple didn’t call out the Google-owned apps by name, but they were there on the screen. This was a major highlight of iOS 12.

Using your iPhone less

  • Do Not Disturb during bedtime to hide visual display of notifications
  • Instant tuning to send future notifications silently or turn them off
  • Reports give a weekly activity summary on how you use iOS 12
  • Breakdown: ranks app usage, highest phone pick up times (and what app draws you in first), and apps that send you the most notifications
  • Set self-imposed time limits via reminders and temporary app blocking
  • Limit kids time in apps by category or individual apps via Family Sharing

Apple is expanding its Do Not Disturb capabilities with a cleaner 'Do Not Disturb During Bedtime' mode. It'll silence not just the notification delivery sounds, but also the visual notifications clutter that can distract you when you're trying to sleep. 

The lockscreen remains clear until you unlock your iPhone in the morning. You can allow certain apps to break through, just like with DND mode right now. Apple refers to these as critical alerts, and they're opt-in.

Do Not Disturb options aren't one-size-fits all, either. It can now automatically end in an hour, at the end of the day, when you leave a certain location, or at the end of a meeting in your calendar. iOS 12 even makes the DND moon icon in Control Center have 3D Touch support to act as a shortcut to all of these options.

Instant Tuning is an iOS 12 feature you'll love if you've ever gotten a notification from an app you always seem to dismiss (HQ trivia, breaking news alerts, etc), but don't have time to turn off future notifications in the many submenus of Settings. Apple is allowing you to control individual app notification profiles right from the lockscreen, without making you leave what you're doing.

Deliver Quietly is an option within Instant Tuning, and it'll allow you to choose to have notifications delivered silently Notification Center by default so you’re not interrupted by alerts on the lockscreen. It's a nice in between option.

Siri can help clean up your messy lockscreen with notification delivery suggestions based on how you interact with notifications. Siri will understand which notifications it should deliver prominently and which ones to send to Notification Center. It's like IOS 12's version of 'clean up your desktop' system nudges.

Screen time is Apple's take on limiting your iPhone use – how much time you're spending on apps, which apps you use the most, and which apps are sending you the most notifications. 

To give you a little extra help, Apple has created app limits. You can set your own limit, with a notification letting you know when time is almost up. A 'Time is up' message will display when you've reached your self-imposed-Siri-assisted limit.

Parents can create limits for kids with Allowances, time-of-day-based downtime controls, and category controls. Education and essential message apps can also be green lit thanks to an always-allowed settings. 

The best part? Setting limits for your kids uses Family Sharing, so you can manage it all remotely from your parental device – no need to get hold of your 12-year-old kid's phone to execute on these new iOS 12 controls.

 Thinking of buying the iPhone X? Watch our overview video below:

iOS 12 grouped notifications

  • Grouped notification on iOS 12 to clean up individual notifications mess
  • Smartly grouped by app, topic, thread. Tap in to look at a particular group
  • Can clear a whole group of notifications with a single swipe

Grouped notifications are coming to iOS 12. This is a small, but important update (maybe the most important iOS 12 update) announced at the Apple WWDC keynote. 

It binds together notifications by message threads and topics, making it easier to see everything at a glance. Right now, individual notifications in the morning are a big pain to check as they pile up.

Animoji changes and new Memoji

  • Tongue and wink detection for iOS 12 Animoji
  • Four new Animoji masks: Ghost, Koala, Tiger and T-Rex
  • Personalized 'Memoji' to look like you or 'the real you'
  • Animoji and Memoji clips last 30 seconds (up to 10 seconds)

Animoji is expanded, not just with new masks, but with tongue detection (as seen on stage) and wink detection (not announced, but confirmed for iOS 12 afterward). Ghost Koala, Tiger and T-Rex will be joining the cast of Animoji masks.

Memoji is a thing, too. It's a customizable mask that can look like you – or the real you, according to Apple. It still resides in Messages. You can select hairstyles, eye color and accessories like earrings and sunglasses. Like Animoji, this is an iPhone X only feature due to requiring Apple's True Depth front-facing camera.

Group FaceTime (now launching later)

  • Group FaceTime for up to 32 people with dynamic UI
  • Can use Animoji and Memoji in FaceTime
  • Won't launch with the final software on day one

Group FaceTime is coming to iOS 12 with up to 32 participants, and you go directly from a group chat to a group FaceTime in the Messages app.

Update: Apple has delayed the launch of iOS 12 Group Notifications, indicating in the latest iOS 12 beta release notes that it'll come out this 'fall'. To us, that sounds like an iOS 12.1 launch – like Apple Pay, Apple Cash, AirPlay 2 and other features didn't make it live on day one in previous operating system updates.

People can drop in and drop out at any time. The interface is filled with tiles that can expand, and 'the roster' along the bottom for everyone else in the Group FaceTime chat. When people start to speak, their window gets bigger, even if they're in the bottom roster of participants. It works on iPhone, iPad and Mac, and you can even answer on the Apple Watch and HomePod with just audio.

Animoji is coming to FaceTime and Group FaceTime. You'll of course need to update to iOS 12 and an iPhone X to make that magic happen.

That's a wrap for new iOS 12 features at Apple's WWDC. The two biggest highlights were Grouped notifications and Group FaceTime with Memoji. We'll test out the iOS 12 beta and report back when it becomes available to the public.

Previous reporting...

Apple's iOS 12 update for your existing iPhone and iPad will be announced today at 10am PT at the company's WWDC 2018 keynote. We're here reporting on it live.

You'll be able to test it early, too, as there will likely be three iOS 12 release dates: one for developers, one for beta testers, and one final version for everyone else.

None of this should surprise you by now. Apple launches its software updates at the same time every year. It'll run through all the iOS 12 changes in about 24 minutes, according to past Apple keynote history.

What should surprise you are the features. iOS 12 has become a big mystery, with Apple reportedly pulling back front-facing features in order to fix iOS 11 problems.

Don't worry, you can still anticipate at least some groundbreaking ideas and design adjustments due to the launch of iPhone X last year and theoretical iPhone X2 and iPhone 9 release date later in 2018.

Apple has a chance to make meaningful changes as it adapts to all-screen displays. Here's our list of what we expect from iOS 12, according to rumors and leaks.

Cut to the chase

  • What is iOS 12? Apple's next big iPhone and iPad software update 
  • When is the iOS 12 release date? Announcement next week, June 4 with a subsequent beta,  September launch 
  • How much will iOS 12 cost? Nothing. iOS 12 will remain free.

iOS 12 release date and beta schedule

iOS 12 to fix what was wrong with iOS 11

"iOS 12 just works," may be Apple's big message about its next iPhone update, as it's reportedly focusing on reliability and shelving many exciting features.

It's okay to be torn about this news if you were looking forward to iOS 12 with a fresh face. Then again, it's hard to argue with experiencing fewer bug-filled random resets on your iPhone.

Apple's iOS 12 plans are going to be a godsend if you've been experiencing issues with iOS 11 – even the iOS 11.4 update has new, ongoing problems. It's been bad PR for Apple.

Which features won't be in iOS 12?

Apple was reportedly planned, but delayed:

  • A home screen redesign
  • Refreshed camera app
  • Updated Mail app
  • Refined Photos app

Those may have to wait until iOS 13, if you are to believe the rumors about the Apple teams new mission. It's all in an effort to make iOS 12 stabilization impeccable.

iOS 12 and macOS cross-platform apps

Apple is thought to be bringing first and third-party iOS apps to your Mac, making one of the biggest iOS 12 features for your computer instead of your phone.

It's a long-overdue upgrade. We've always asked: Why can't you control your smart home with the Home app via that all-powerful iMac Pro? You can't do it today. It's a ridiculous notion.

Apple is rumored to be allowing developers to expand their app ecosystem to the forthcoming macOS 10.14 update. Apple's own apps, like Home, are also said to be finally making the jump, according to recent reports.

Don't get too excited. This feature may also be saved for iOS 13 and macOS 11.5 in 2019, says a new report. It's supposedly being worked on, but how quickly it comes to the table may leaving you waiting for a while.

We're giving this one a good shot at being at WWDC on our speculation scale – we're at least expecting Apple to lay the groundwork for such a feature in 2018.

More Animoji (in more places)

Animoji – whether you demanded it or vehemently opposed it, Apple is due to bring more Animoji to iOS 12 for use with the iPhone X Face ID camera. iOS 11.3 just gave us four new Animoji faces to play with, but why stop there?

The navigation of these animated character masks should get easier, too, according to Bloomberg. That's important, because to get better use, they need to break out of their Apple Messages confines, where Animoji are currently buried.

Apple's Animoji character may make two jumps in 2018. First, the natural jump to FaceTime for video chats behind a virtual panda, robot, and poop mask. 

Second to what may be a new iPad Pro 2018 with a TrueDepth camera for Face ID and Animoji. We've seen evidence of an updated iPad recently, beyond the cheap new iPad 2018. But we don't foresee new iPad Pros until later this year.

Way better autocorrect

Maybe we could have lumped this iOS 12 change under fixes, but it deserves its own mention. Everyone wants better autocorrect from the built-in iOS keyboard.

Currently, it can be downright terrible. Why? It may be due to Apple's commendable stance on privacy, with all of the smarts happening on the device itself or masked so that individuals aren't identifiable.

Apple says it's not mining your data like you may find on some Android phones. But we also want a smarter keyboard that doesn't autocap and autocorrect randomly. 

iOS 12 is Apple's perfect opportunity to balance differential privacy with our typings needs. With the focus on reliability this should be near the very top of the list.

Flexible Face ID

Face ID isn't better than Touch ID. There. We said it. It's a neat party trick and makes the iPhone X feel like it's from the future, but we're typing our passcode multiple times a day whenever Face ID fails. That's unacceptable. 

iOS 12 will fix Face ID so that it works when your device in landscape orientation, rather than only in portrait, according to Macotakara's supply chain source. This change should go a long way to fixing our biggest Face ID problems.

We'd also like to see a "try again" button when Face ID fails the first time. Having to put the iPhone X to sleep and wake it up again just to re-engage Face ID is annoying and design nonsense. Apps that use Face ID for passwords, like our banking app, have this "try again" feature. Expect to see this in iOS 12.

The better Face ID is with the iOS 12 update, the sooner we'll forget that we miss the Touch ID fingerprint sensor that's likely to have had its last hurrah in the iPhone 8 and iPhone 8 Plus.

More iOS 12 features we want to see

While nothing is known for sure about iOS 12 yet we have a clear idea of some of the things we want to see, such as the following.

System-wide password manager

We'd also like to see a system-wide password manager built into iOS 12, not just username and password saving in Safari. That's not helpful if you apps on iOS.

With Face Unlock and Touch ID securing our phones, there's little fear in relying on a password manager on mobile devices. And remembering passwords to so many different apps seems like a wasteful second layer of security.

Always-on display hints?

Look out for tiny always-on display hints in iOS 12, as Apple could easily squeeze this useful feature into the iPhone X2 OLED screen in September. The software may have hidden hooks for an always-on screen in the iOS 12 beta code. 

OLED essentially 'turns off' black parts of the screen in an effort not display the bare minimum without eating up battery life. Phones like the Samsung Galaxy S9, the Google Pixel 2 and even the rumored LG G7 have shown off this idea to great effect.

Apple does have a raise-to-wake feature that's been a big hit among new iPhones. But a true always-on display would help differentiate the iPhone X2 OLED from the rumored iPhone 9 LCD.

New iOS 12 wallpaper

Every new version of iOS seems to get new wallpaper, and we expect iOS 12 to be no different in 2018. It should allow Apple to further exhibit its iPhone X OLED screen.

Specifically, we could see more dynamic wallpapers from Apple. iOS 12 needs more moving backgrounds besides a bunch of moving bubbles in various colors. 

New iOS 12 concept videos show the iconic Earth wallpaper spinning, for example. Right now, that's a flat image, and that doesn't put OLEDs to full use at all.

Grouped notifications

iOS 12 may finally bring a fix to having so many notifications in chronological order. Every morning, our iPhone is littered with so many ungrouped alerts.

Grouping notifications together would make life easier, as long as it's not differently than what we had in iOS 9 with lots of spacing between important alerts. Android Oreo does this nicely, and iOS 12 could easily lift this feature.

We've seen iOS 12 concepts include grouped notifications and also small notification icons on the lockscreen for things like weather and activity ring progress. That would take up less space and provide data at a glance right under the time and date.

Group FaceTime

Speaking of grouped things, we're keen on opening up the FaceTime party to more than just 1:1 chats. iOS 12 should welcome group FaceTime to iPhones and iPads.

We've had 1:1 video chats long enough 

Conference call software, from Hangouts to Skype, can already do this, so it's natural to expect Apple to open up FaceTime to groups eventually. iOS 12 may be it. 

Sound familiar? This was supposed to already be a feature in the current version of iOS, but it didn't actually happen last year. Either that rumor was wrong or was shelved until iOS 12. We'll find out more in June.

Camera controls in the camera app

File this under: Why is this still a problem? Apple's camera app is very barebones compared to its competitions, to the point that you can't change video resolutions within the camera app. It has to be done through Settings > Photo & Camera > Record Video. All of this requires exiting the camera app. That's very unhelpful.

We'd also like to see other settings become easier to use. Android phones do a good job at letting you switch between the rear- and front-facing camera with a swipe up or down on the screen, and the white Timer numbers (3s, 10s) can be hard to see in landscape mode when you're focusing on a subject that's white.

While some app redesigned have been shelved for iOS 13, we're hoping these small tweaks make it into the iOS 12 beta this month.

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5 things you may have missed during the iPhone XS and iPhone XR launch
Posted by Carrie Marshall on 12 September 2018 08:27 PM

Apple launches don’t contain many surprises these days thanks to the endless wave of pre-event leaks, but that doesn’t mean they aren’t interesting. 

In addition to the usual spray of superlatives and the obligatory videos featuring the disembodied voice of Jonathan Ive, there were some fascinating moments and moves during the iPhone XS, iPhone XS Max, iPhone XR and Apple Watch 4 launch event. 

It’s clear that the Apple Watch remains a really big deal to Apple, and that Apple’s own chip-mongers are doing some truly amazing things with implications for more than just iPhones. 

1. Tim Cook trolled everyone on Twitter

Shortly before the keynote, Tim Cook tweeted the message: “No. Who can get it here quickly?” No sooner had he posted it than he deleted it, although of course some eagle-eyed Twitter users screen grabbed it first (like us). 

The keynote then began with a video showing an Apple employee racing to the Steve Jobs theatre to deliver a mystery briefcase – which turned out to contain the clicker Tim Cook uses on stage, the “it” he was referring to in his tweet. 

Personally, we would have loved the reveal to be the much-delayed AirPower but it’s an Easter egg of marketing: if you spotted it, you’d appreciate the video a whole lot more.

2. Apple’s ambition: to save your life

Apple wants the Apple Watch to be “an intelligent guardian for your health,” a phrase used three times during the keynote. Fall detection with automatic SOS is going to appeal to the baby boomer market – the Apple II and early Mac buyers are well into their grey years now – while low heart rate detection and the ability to take an ECG massively expand its medical monitoring capabilities. 

The engineering effort that’s gone into the improved accelerometer and the dual-core, 64-bit S4 processor shows Apple sees the Watch as a long term investment.

3. Apple isn’t giving up on the ten thing

After a year of trying and failing to persuade the world that the 'X' in 'iPhone X' is pronounced “ten”, Apple isn’t giving up: the iPhone XS is, apparently, pronounced “ten ess”, which is of course going to end up as “tennis”. Which means the XR is the “tenner”, or “tena” if you want to make jokes about incontinence pants, and the bigger XS is the ten ess max. 

We think it’s a doomed undertaking: try as we might, we can’t persuade our brains that “XS” says anything other than “XS”. It’s Prince’s squiggle all over again.

4. Apple chips are coming to the Mac

It’s clearly not a case of if Apple’s going to replace Intel processors in its computers. It’s just a matter of when. The engineering that’s gone into the A12 Bionic system is extraordinary. Compared to last year’s model it’s up from 600 billion operations per second to 1.5 trillion; its performance cores are 15% faster with 40% lower power consumption and it’s the industry’s first seven-nanometre chip. 

The A11 was already fast enough to deliver desktop-class performance; the A12 is even more impressive. Imagine how fast the A14 and A15 will be.

5. The iPhone range is really big, and a bit confusing

The iPhone XR may be pitched as the entry level of today’s three phones, but it’s not the entry level iPhone: that role falls to the iPhone 7, which is on sale at $449. 

The iPhone 8 and iPhone 8 Plus are still in the line-up too at $599 and $699 respectively. 

We can’t imagine they’ll sell in huge numbers, though: the iPhone 8 Plus looks pretty redundant when the iPhone XR has a bigger display and a much better camera system for not much more.

To help you figure out what the difference is between the three new iPhones, we've put together a handy explainer video:

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