Apple could be rethinking its release cycle for iOS and macOS

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According to a new report from Bloomberg, Apple is switching things up for this year’s major updates. Instead of meeting a tight deadline and ticking all the boxes on the checklist, development teams will be able to push back some features if they’re not polished enough.

Axios and Bloomberg previously reported that Apple was focusing on stability with iOS 12. You can still expect iOS 12 and macOS 10.14 this Fall (and probably new versions of watchOS and tvOS), but the WWDC keynote might be a bit shorter than in previous years.

Developers can now work on new features over two years. It should help when it comes to quality issues. iOS 11 hasn’t been perfect so far. Customers faced some weird bugs, such as autocorrect bugs, messages arriving out of order and the Calculator app not calculating properly.

So let’s look at some of the rumored features for iOS 12 and 13, macOS 10.14 and 10.15. First, Apple is going to fix some low-hanging fruits with nice-to-have features on iOS. According to Bloomberg, you can expect better parental controls with detailed stats for parents, more granular settings for ‘Do Not Disturb’, a new Stocks app and a way to invoke Siri in the iOS search bar.

When it comes to flashier additions, you can expect more Animojis for the iPhone X. And if the new iPad Pro gets a Face ID camera, Apple is also probably going to bring Animojis to the new iPad Pro.

In other (bigger) news, Apple is currently working on a FaceTime update that will finally let you call multiple people at once. Bloomberg says it might not be ready for iOS 12. You might be able to replace your face with an Animoji during a FaceTime call too.

You’ll also be able to share your augmented reality view with multiple users. For instance, you could imagine a board game that works with multiple iOS devices. After setting up the augmented reality board, all users could see the same virtual elements at the same place.

iPad users will have to wait until 2019 for big new features. There could be a way to run the same app in Split View. For example, you could run the Messages app twice side-by-side to interact with two threads at once. Beyond Split View, developers will be able to integrate tabs much more easily to switch between multiple documents and views.

And then, there’s the elephant in the room. Bloomberg says third-party developers will be able to release iPhone and iPad apps on macOS. Details on this front are still very thin. It’s unclear how it’s going to work and if users are going to see iOS interfaces on macOS.

It seems more likely that developers will be able to use iOS frameworks on macOS, such as UIKit. This way, iOS developers could port iOS apps to the Mac without having to recode big portions of the app.

Similarly, this rumor could indicate that Apple plans to merge the iOS and Mac App Stores so that users can buy an app once and run it on an iPhone, an iPad and a Mac. This wouldn’t be surprising given that Apple Watch and iMessage apps can also be downloaded from the iOS App Store.

If Apple is slowing down its release cycle, it could be a turning point for mobile operating system. iOS and Android have been updated at an incredible pace over the past ten years. It feels like those platforms are now nearly mature.

Customers don’t expect drastic changes with new major releases. At the same time, customers have become more demanding and now expect to have reliable phones.



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