Earlier this month, Google announced that Android P is being developed with a focus on “digital wellbeing.” It will include a new user-facing Dashboard meant to give people an easy way to see how much time they’re spending on a device and inside individual apps. It’ll even show how many times they’ve unlocked their smartphone throughout the day.
It turns out that Apple is working on something very, very similar.
According to Bloomberg, as part of Apple’s iOS 12 reveal on Monday, the company will introduce a “Digital Health” area of the settings menu. Much like Google’s coming effort, it will include “a series of tools” that will outline how we’re spending our time on iPhones and iPads. There are already ways to do some of this today: for example, you can go into your iPhone’s battery settings and tap on apps to see how long they’ve been on-screen. But putting all of that data together in a central location is a better, more helpful experience for users.
Based on Apple’s usual schedule, iOS 12 will likely be released to consumers in September — just a few weeks after Android P rolls out to Google’s Pixel phones and other devices. So in the very same year, both companies behind today’s leading mobile operating systems are trying to help consumers strike a healthier balance between gadgets and life.
The company has been planning a new mode that would let users play AR games against each other in the same virtual environment. Another mode allows objects to be dropped into an area and virtually remain in place.
But elsewhere, iOS 12 will be an update that prioritizes stability, speed, and responsiveness over new features or major redesigns. Last year’s iOS 11 was saddled with negative feedback and complaints about buggy performance. Only this week did Apple finally get around to launching AirPlay 2 and Messages in iCloud. Both features were announced at last year’s WWDC but failed to ship until the release of iOS 11.4 on Tuesday. This time around, Bloomberg says we can expect “minor new features for snoozing notifications, tracking the stock market, making video calls, and sending Animojis.”
Back in January, Apple executives reportedly decided to push back major changes to iOS(including an overhauled home screen) to a later version and put more work into refining iOS 12. An internal memo from Apple warning employees to stop leaking sensitive information basically confirmed that plan, noting that the employee who leaked “details from an internal, confidential meeting about Apple’s software roadmap” had been fired.
Bloomberg notes that new hardware at WWDC is unlikely. New MacBooks and an iPad Pro with Face ID and edge-to-edge screen are in the works and could be released later this year, according to the report.