Apps

Apple focuses on speed and functionality rather than big features on iOS 12

That doesn’t mean there are no fun new features to play with, though

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We were already expecting Apple to unveil the latest version of their mobile operating system simply called iOS 12 at WWDC 2018. The rumors surrounding its new features were pretty quiet, so we didn’t really know what to look forward to.

As it turned out, Apple didn’t focus on making big changes to iOS, but instead made sure that it’ll work smoothly even on older iPhones and iPads. Although, that doesn’t mean there are no new features to be excited about.

iOS 12 may not have the grand change iOS 7 had years ago, but the new update does include some significant additions and improvements like Screen Time, Memoji, Group FaceTime, and grouped notifications.

Screen Time

This is similar to what Google introduced in Android P. Apple wants their uses to have a healthier balance with gadgets and life, so the Screen Time feature in iOS 12 will make sure you’ll get that. It details how much time you’re spending on your device and apps. It can break down app usage by category and also track which one is constantly bugging you with notifications.

You’ll be able to set limits for each app if they become too addictive. A “time’s up” message will display if your allotted time is over, but you can always ask for more if you still want to continue. Parental controls are also integrated in the app, giving parents great control over how often kids stare at their device’s screen.

Memoji and new Animoji

Memoji is probably the most popular of the announcements today. If Animoji lets us become our favorite emoji, Memoji will let you create a personalized character that you can animate. It’s pretty much like Samsung’s AR Emoji, but improved in a lot of aspects. Memoji let’s you have your own appearance, choose skin color, hairstyle, and accessories.

Animoji is not forgotten with a new roster of characters including a ghost, koala, tiger, and a tyrannosaurus rex (or simply T-Rex). Not only that, Animoji now has the ability to detect your tongue. If you stick it out, Animoji will be able to mimic that.

Group FaceTime

Apple’s built-in video chat app will soon be able to let friends have a video conference with up to 32 people. Like other popular video conferencing apps, group FaceTime sessions will have dynamic video windows that get larger when the user in that window is speaking. You might say it’s a boring update, but hold your horses.

If you don’t feel like showing your face in the call or wanna stir up some fun, you’ll be able to use Animoji and your Memoji character during calls. I can already imagine having a lively video conference even during work meetings.

Grouped notifications

At last! Grouped notifications is a long overdue fix to iOS’ messy notifications. In iOS 12, you’ll now be able to interact with or dismiss multiple notifications from the same app at once — just like how Android has been doing it for years. Aside from this, there are also new tweaks like individual setup of “Quiet” app notifications that will show up on your lock screen or not make a sound at all.

Better AR and a new Measure app

In iOS 12, augmented reality is still a focus feature. A more powerful AR experience is coming our way on Apple’s mobile devices along with a new Measure app. As the name suggests, the app is for measuring objects or distances around you. It’s practically an AR ruler similar to other third-party apps, but now made by Apple.

All about performance

As mentioned earlier, Apple is working to make iOS feel smoother and faster especially on older devices. Based on their test on a four-year-old iPhone 6, these are what they found about iOS 12’s performance: Apps launch 40 percent faster, the system keyboard shows up 50 percent faster, and the camera launches 70 percent faster.

“For iOS 12, we are doubling down on performance.” — Craig Federighi, Senior VP of Software Engineering for Apple

Apple focuses on what’s in the core to make sure the new update will not slow down older devices. This is probably to address the battery issues and intentional slow down fiasco. iOS 12 will be available for download later this year, but you can join the beta program to get ahead of everyone else. All devices running iOS 11 are eligible to get iOS 12 — nice!

Apps

Microsoft is ditching Edge for new Chromium-based browser for Windows

It’s time to let things go

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Are you one of the few users of the Edge browser? Since its debut on Windows 10 in 2015, the replacement for the once-popular Internet Explorer wasn’t able to become the go-to browser it was expected to be.

The Edge browser was built from the ground up with a new rendering engine called EdgeHTML. It was designed to be lightweight, fast, and secure. The browser had a rocky start and was not favored by both users and web developers. That’s why Microsoft is pulling the plug soon.

According to Windows Central‘s insider, the Redmond company is putting all these efforts aside and will create a new web browser powered by Chromium codenamed “Anaheim.” It’ll be similar to Google’s Chrome browser and will take advantage of the popular rendering engine Blink.

After all the pushy and in-your-face prompts to make Edge more popular among Windows 10 devices, this new browser will replace Edge as the default browser. It’s still unknown if Anaheim will use the Edge brand and user interface, but the inside report confirms EdgeHTML’s demise.

What’s in store for users when Microsoft goes full blast with Chromium? Websites will behave how they should, especially those that work best on Google Chrome.

It’s worth noting that the Edge browser app on iOS and Android are already using rendering engines native to their platforms, so the shift to Chromium will be more beneficial to Windows 10 users. We could see Anaheim come to life by 2019.

SEE ALSO: Windows 10 will soon go full white with a light theme

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These are Apple’s top apps and games for 2018

Did your favorite app make the list?

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Apple likes to keep track of the apps you download and games you play on their devices. They like it so much that they now have a list of the top apps and games for 2018. The list features all categories in the App Store globally and locally.

From a global perspective, self-care apps became a revelation in the App Store. Apps such as Fabulous, Headspace, and 10% Happier made self-care and wellness more accessible to anyone. For gaming apps, battle royale-style games like PUBG Mobile and Fortnite took over. Both games feature fast-paced, last-man-standing action, with Fortnite even adding bases to the mix.

However, editorial picks reflect something different. Across the iPhone and iPad, editors picked education and creativity apps like Procreate Pocket and Froggipedia as their top choices. Procreate Pocket is a creativity app for artists to draw, sketch, and paint on the go. Froggipedia, on the other hand, is an interactive education app for children to teach them about frogs and their life cycles.

For gaming, the same theme follows as the editors picked Donut County and Gorogoa. Donut County is an education game that mixes puzzles with concepts in physics, while Gorogoa introduces hand-drawn stories to the puzzle genre. The selection goes against the findings of dominance across battle royale games globally.

Within Southeast Asia, particularly Singapore, photography and video streaming apps became the talk of the town. For iPhones, photography apps like kirakira+ and TouchRetouch topped the list, as users can play around with filters for their pictures and videos. Streaming apps like TikTok and Viu opened the door for people to share their videos on a global platform.

Battle royale and multiplayer games, such as PUBG Mobile and Mobile Legends: Bang Bang, dominated the App Store in Singapore. Despite the success of these games, people also took notice of locally produced games. Cat Quest, an action role-playing game, became part of the top paid games for the iPhone for 2018. 

To know more about the lists, you can check them out in the App Store through the Today tab.

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Accessories

Gift ideas for the important people in your life

Make a list and check it twice

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Making Christmas lists can be daunting. One minute you think you already thought of the perfect gift for the people on your nice list, but next thing you know, they already have it or you doubt they’ll ever use it. So, you drop the idea and go back to square one. Other times, you come up with the most generic lists just so you have something to give: belt for dad, purse for mom, a pair of socks for the brother, a scarf for the best friend.

Sometimes, all you need are fresh ideas. Here are some to jump-start your holiday shopping this year!

1. For the one who travels for work

Productivity and portability rarely go hand in hand, but there are devices and accessories that help maximize remote work for anyone whose jobs allow it. Creatives could use a stylus, while writers and entrepreneurs could use a keyboard case. You can even get a nice backpack or sleeve to house it all in!

2. For the one who embraces a minimalist lifestyle

There are those who dream of having a walk-in closet, and those who try to keep their belongings to a minimum. That said, minimalist people are probably the toughest to buy material things for, but that doesn’t mean they don’t appreciate a thoughtful gift. If you know that they have something that needs replacing, help them find out if they can have it recycled or traded in for a new one. Apps for mindfulness and meditation, learning a new language, or even an Audible subscription would also be great!

3. For the one who works out a lot

Gym rats almost always have everything they already need for their workouts, yet some of them haven’t invested in a smartwatch or a fitness band. If they have, you can give them new straps or cases so they can sport their wearables outside the gym and continue tracking their activities. Subscriptions to coaching, music streaming, or meal planning apps are also something they’d appreciate.

4. For the one who needs a pop of color

We all have that one person in our lives who wears neutral colors all the time or have had a pretty lackluster year — at least I know I do. Whether a guy or girl, everyone could use something bold once in a while: a pair of shoes in red, a wool coat in yellow, or even a phone in coral. More than making a statement, colors have the power to change moods and brighten up one’s day.

5. For the one who dresses to kill

She’s all about making an impression and takes dressing up seriously. She’s the woman in your life who takes a little bit longer to get ready in the morning putting an outfit together. A daring red lipstick, a pair of sexy pumps, jewelry, or a designer watch are all great options. Even better: a smartwatch in a bold color that is a statement on its own.

While they don’t always have to be material things, there’s something to be said for getting gifts for family and friends, no matter how small or cheap. Gift giving during the holidays is a way to give back to the important people who made your year merrier. The more thought and effort you put into it, the more meaningful and fitting it is for the person you’re getting it for. There’s no better feeling than knowing you made a difference in someone’s life through a gift — whether that’s in making them more efficient with their work, in their road to fitness, or in simply making them feel good about themselves.

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