2019 Mazda3 Sport

2019 Mazda MX-5 RF

2019 Chevrolet Spark

2019 Mazda CX-5

Amazon Kindle Oasis

2019 GMC Terrain Denali

Google Pixel 3a

Dyson Hot+Cool purifying fan and heater

Microsoft Surface Go with LTE Advanced

Google Pixel Slate

ABox Raspberry Pi 3 B+ Starter kit

BlackBerry KEY2 LE

2018 MacBook Air

ViewSonic M1 portable projector

Huawei Mate 20 Pro

Waze navigation app on Apple CarPlay

Apple iPhone XR

Apple Watch Series 4

Apple iPhone XS Max

Google Pixel 3 XL

Fitbit Charge 3

Rowenta Intense Air Pure Purifier

iOS 12

Bissell CrossWave PetPro Multi-Surface Cleaner

Casper Dog Bed

Samsung Galaxy Note 9

Samsung Galaxy Tab S4

MacBook Pro 13 (2018)

2018 Hyundai Ioniq Electric Plus PHEV Driver

Dyson Pure Cool HEPA Air Purifier and Fan

BlackBerry Key 2

Sonos Beam

Huawei P20 Pro

Apple HomePod

Google Home Max 

Motorola Moto G6

Fitbit Versa

Sennheiser Ambeo Smart headset

Amazon Echo Spot

Apple iPad (2018)

Spectre x360 13 2-in-1

Samsung Galaxy S9

Acer Windows Mixed Reality Headset and Controller

ScoopFree Original Self Cleaning Litter Box

Kindle Oasis (2017) - The Perfect eBook reader

Azio's Retro Classic Mechanical Keyboard

Google Pixel Buds

Jaybird Run wireless bluetooth headphones

BlackBerry Motion

Apple iPhone X

Microsoft Xbox One X

Miele Blizzard CX1 Hardfloor PowerLine

Google Pixel 2 and Pixel 2 XL

Sonos One Smart Speaker

Windows 10 Fall Creators Update

Anki Overdrive - Fast and Furious Edition

Apple TV 4K

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Review: iOS 12

By Gadjo Cardenas Sevilla

This year’s iOS update brings new life to older iPhones and iPads while it adds smarter usage monitoring in its new Screen Time feature as well as the introduction of group FaceTime as well as Memoji functionality (limited to iPhone X class devices).

Leading up to iOS 12, Apple’s mobile OS hasn’t had the smoothest year. With various bugs like battery throttling and shutdowns on older iPhones, as well as a litany of quirks that disabled mics, broke touch screen functionality as well led to crashing of various apps and services on various models.

iOS 12 solves most of these issues and it should be considered more than just a service pack for Apple’s iOS devices. Installing iOS 12 on a recent iPhone 8 or iPhone X model may not quickly reveal all the speed and efficiency features. Installing the update on older devices, however, kicks up performance on a palpable level. This instantly counters the perception that older devices are made to feel slower by Apple’s updated iOS versions.

Speed and performance updates are expected in each new iOS release, but iOS 12 stands out as one of the best examples of software improving the overall experience even on older hardware. Even iPhone 6 and SE models will feel more responsive and quicker after an iOS overhaul.

Apple has kicked up the speed on the most-used iOS features. The company says that accessing the camera is now 70% faster and getting the software keyboard to pop-up is now 50% faster, while most apps will launch 2X faster, which is remarkable.

Bolstering popular features and apps

iOS 12 focuses on the iPhone and iPad’s most used features and services. Messages has gained a lot of powers in the past years with the ability to alter text, send animations, gifs and even send money. For iOS 12 the Memoji feature, which allows you to create a cartoonish avatar of yourself, is the key new feature.

While Memoji feels like a minor update to the earlier Animoji and a copy of Samsung’s somewhat creepier AR Emoji, it is the type of feature that is fun to play around with for a few weeks before it is forgotten once the novelty wears off.

That said, I like how inclusive the Memoji feature is. You can create avatars of various genders, ages and racial background.

There’s also a prodigious range of eyewear, facial hair and hats to choose which makes the feature one of the deepest in terms of customization.

One pro tip is to save whatever Memoji you have created before leaving the sub app within Messages, because whatever you have worked on disappears before you save it.

Facetime for groups

Another lynchpin feature for iOS and for Apple is FaceTime, and it gets a major functionality upgrade thanks to the ability to have group conversations.

Being able to have two, three, or even four people on a Facetime call is quite awesome, Apple’s dialed it up and will allow up to 32 people on a single call, bandwidth permitting.

While it is rare to expect to max out the number of Facetime users, getting multiple people on the same Facetime call is great for families, small groups and situations where getting everyone onboard at the same time is ideal.

I expect this feature to be one that continues to sell iPhones in family settings, even if there are half a dozen apps that already offer this functionality.

Photos app is more personalized

The Photos app has become the catch-all basin for finding, editing and sharing photos taken by the iPhone or iPad. Apple has made Photos smarter and more personalized. There are now ‘For You’ suggestions as well as sharing suggestions. The app even digs through the archive of photos and pulls out some great gems under memories or locations.

It’s a slick and fun update that you would expect from a cloud-heavy company like Google, but Apple has shown it can dispense some machine learning and AI muscle to dig through gigs of photos and present them in new and very shareable buckets.

Since the Photos app can recognize people in the photos, it also generates useful lists of folks you might want to share the photos with. Conversely, if a friend sends you photos from an event you both attended, the Photos app will search for photos you might want to share in return.

Keeping notifications in check

Notifications are the savior and bane of our busy lives. When used properly, they can keep us apprised of important updates, allow us to respond quickly, and make us feel like we’re on top of things.

When unregulated, they can be a stressful and steady stream of distraction, leaving us jittery and raw when we feel we need to read and respond to each and every alert.

iOS 12 addresses this through expanded Notification management features. There are various ways to reduce interruptions as well as the ability to manage notifications in real time.

Siri also gets involved and makes intelligent suggestions about alerts based on your usage and interaction. Message threads are also grouped together for easier at-a-glance access.

These are some of the outstanding features of iOS 12, which is available to iPhone and iPad users for free.

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