There was a lot to like in iOS 12 (including a lot of great secret features) but it also came with problems, including one embarrassing one which remains in iOS 12.0.1. Consequently, Apple AAPL -3.39% has now officially announced iOS 12.1 and it’s a big one…
In an official statement, Apple has confirmed iOS 12.1 will contain three major new features for iPhones and iPads as well as one crowd pleaser. It also contains some secrets Apple didn’t announce.
Here are the headliners:
Dual SIM – this is crucial to owners of the new iPhone XS (details), iPhone XS Max (details) and budget-friendly iPhone XR (details). It enables the phones to support a physical sim and eSIM simultaneously. This means owners can have home and work or home and travel numbers operating simultaneously. This feature was delayed when the new models launched.
Camera Depth Control – catching up with features added in both Samsung’s Galaxy range and Google’s new Pixel, this feature allows iPhones to adjust the depth of field (aka level of blur) in the background of Portrait shots. The early results look impressive.
New Emoji – another feature delayed from iOS 12, this brings over 70 new emoji to iPhone and iPad owners, including characters with red, gray, curly and even no hair. There are also new sports, animals and many of the most popular emojis have also been updated.
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Group FaceTime – will allow you to have video calls with up to a remarkable 32 people simultaneously. To avoid confusion, it will automatically highlight the current speaker and resize participant’s images depending on how active they are, ranking everything from speech duration and volume to physical motion.
One warning: Apple chose not to mention this, but Group FaceTime video calls will not be available on all iPhones and iPads. This is why.
There is also one notable hidden highlight: an end to the so-called BeautyGate. Apple quietly admitted its beautifying selfie camera problem last week and with iOS 12.1 users no longer look like they are made from plastic. Whether the option to re-enable this faux-beauty mode will be offered (some like it), remains to be seen.
When will Apple iOS 12.1 launch? No official timeframe was given, but I expect we will see tomorrow around 10 am Pacific Time with Apple also holding an event for new iPads as well.