Forget the improved photo-sharing, new Animoji and Memoji which recognise when your tongue is sticking out – what does iOS 12 mean for business users?
On Monday 4th June, Apple unveiled its new features for iPads and iPhones at its developer conference WWDC in California. The update is now available and we review what this will mean for iOS users in a business context.
Broadly, the changes announced at WWDC earlier this year centre around improving the user experience, with improvements to security and a performance boost, rather than making any significant changes to the user interface.
Productivity improvements in iOS 12
Speed and battery improvements
Unlike previous updates, Apple says that iOS 12 will deliver sizeable speed improvements – even for older smartphones. Apple says apps will launch up to 40% faster, the keyboard will launch 50% faster, and the camera will be 70% faster. Indeed, everything should be at least a little quicker, especially on older smartphones.
Following last year’s controversy over battery degradation and performance, Apple has also worked to improve the information about battery usage and health that is available to users. This information should make it easier for businesses to track performance and care in order to improve productivity and prolong the life of machines – whether by timely replacement or promoting better battery care.
Business User Benefit: Hopefully, this will lessen demands to replace aging tech and extend the lifetime of devices – and deliver associated cost and environmental benefits. Electronic waste is a major environmental problem and if businesses can help to alleviate it by extending device lifetimes, they aren’t only aiding our planet, but their own reputations too.
The most important productivity improvement should come from the new Screen Time feature. Screen Time creates weekly reports which show users how much time they are spending on mobile apps – and allows users to set limits on the amount of time they spend on them.
Business User Benefit: There aren’t many users who wouldn’t be surprised when the time they spend on social media is revealed to them – many of us would probably be horrified. This tool makes it clear how we spend our time and encourages us to limit time on productivity-draining activities.
There will also be significant improvements to Apple’s FaceTime. There is a newly designed interface, plus an important new group call feature. Instead of calls being limited to two parties, users will be able to make group calls for up to 32 parties.
Business User Benefit: Great for conference calling; eliminating the need for (and cost of) additional third-party apps.
Work-life balance improvements in iOS 12
Do not disturb during bedtime
iOS 12 also delivers a new feature called “Do Not Disturb During Bedtime” which hides notifications until the morning – so users can relax in the evenings without being disturbed by email notifications.
This is part of a wider improvement to notifications from iOS 12, which offers users more choice and control about how they are displayed. For example, notifications can be grouped by app, so you don’t see multiple notifications for the same app on the lock screen. It is also possible to force lower priority apps and services to deliver their notifications without making a sound or vibration or appearing on the lock screen, while still recording them in the notification centre.
Business User Benefit: Helping staff to switch off has positive implications for wellbeing and mental health, but it will help businesses too. Evidence clearly shows that less-stressed and happier employees are more productive.
Security improvements in iOS 12
Time out feature
iOS 12 sees the new USB time out feature that is currently available in the iOS 11.4.1 beta being rolled out. This feature limits what can be done via the Lightning port after the phone has been inactive for an hour. USB accessories will only stay connected for a short while if they are not being used – making lost or stolen iPhones far more secure from data theft via hacking.
Business User Benefit: Increased peace of mind for anyone with sensitive data stored locally.
There is also a handy new feature for two-factor SMS code copying – with two-factor codes appearing as an AutoFill option once the text message arrives. iOS 12 also brings improvements to the way passwords are stored securely through the Password Manager.
Business User Benefit: Taking the pain of cut and pasting these codes away from users can only help users adopt a new security regime.
Privacy improvements in iOS 12
Some of the biggest excitement around the announcements about iOS 12 – and the macOS Mojave update – was generated as a result of the privacy improvements Apple announced which were widely seen as a direct challenge to Facebook.
With both iOS 12 and macOS Mojave, Safari blocks Facebook’s Like and Share buttons, and other social widgets and advertisers from tracking you without permission.
Safari also prevents fingerprinting, i.e. the ability of apps like Facebook and Google to track individual users by identifying them through their personal set of browser configurations, plugins, etc. Safari users will all appear to have the default settings, making their browser fingerprints identical and, therefore, much less trackable on an individual basis.
Compatibility for iOS 12
There is also exciting news about augmented reality compatibility, as Apple seeks to extend AR beyond stand-alone AR apps and into Safari, Messages and Mail using a new digital object format, USDZ. USDZ will also be supported in Adobe’s Creative Cloud suite.
Business User Benefit: The immediate benefits of this development will be limited to those businesses already actively pursuing AR. However, it does bring the technology one step closer to the rest of us, and this change will definitely become more significant over time.
Bridge between iOS and macOS
Perhaps the biggest iOS news on compatibility that emerged from WWDC2018, however, is the changes that Apple announced concerning a bridge between iOS and macOS. While ruling out a hybrid iOS-macOS operating system, Apple did announce plans for its UIKit whereby iOS UIKit frameworks have been adapted and added to macOS. This will enable iOS apps to run on Macs, and possibly open the door for some Mac apps, including the Mac’s range of productivity apps, to become available on iOS.
Business User Benefits: This sounds like great news for businesses that use Macs and iOS devices and opens up interesting potential. However, unfortunately users will have to wait until 2019 before these developments become available.
As of iOS 12, Apple’s in-car connectivity system, Car Play, will no longer be limited to navigation via Apple Maps. Users will be able to access third-party navigation apps, including Google Maps.
A new addition to Siri’s capabilities should also bring productivity improvements. Siri shortcuts allows users to create custom commands which prompt Apple’s automated assistant to perform a certain function or set of functions, such as launching an app.
Business User Benefit: These two enhancements remove a couple of significant niggles and should help improve productivity.
When can you get your hands on iOS 12?
iOS 12 is now available for any device currently running iOS 11. This means it will be suitable for any iPad from the iPad mini 2 and the iPad Air onwards, and any Apple smartphone from the iPhone 5S onwards. Check your device for compatibility here.
To learn more about how technology can aid productivity read our article The new office 365 business features that will make your job easier or get in touch today to talk about how we can help make your IT more secure and lead to increased productivity.