When the new iPhones-XS, XS Max and XR-went on sale recently, many new, significant features such as the dual-SIM support, real-time depth control for portrait mode, new emoji, Group FaceTime and more, were missing from it. Apple has now finally rolled out the first significant software update that finally introduces these new features in the iPhones. Along with bringing the new updates, the company also claims to have fixed bugs in the phones.
Dual SIM support:
Dual SIM support with eSIM was one of the much talked about features of the new iPhone but wasn’t supported by the unit until now. After updating the iPhone XS to iOS 12.1, a new option of ‘add data plan’ appears under the ‘mobile data’ option, using which an eSIM can be configured. This could be done by scanning the AR code from the carrier or by entering the details manually. While entering details manually, it asks for details such as SM-DP + address and activation code. We tried setting up the data plan for an existing Airtel Postpaid connection but didn’t succeed. Currently, the eSIM technology is supported by Airtel and Jio in the Indian region. We have approached both the operators to understand the procedure for the same.
Interestingly, the eSIM is not just restricted to one number. Apple says, “You can store more than one eSIM in your iPhone, but you can use only one at a time. You can switch eSIMs by tapping on settings > cellular > cellular plans and tapping the plan you want to use. Then by tapping ‘turn on this line.’
Depth Control in Portrait Mode:
Apple isn’t the first one to introduce depth control for portrait mode in smartphones. Huawei has been doing it since the day one, much before Apple popularised dual camera setup with the iPhone 7. Most of the brands, including Samsung, Honor, Vivo, and many others have been offering these features too. And as it seemed Apple was missing out, the company now has introduced this feature in its new range of iPhones. We were able to adjust the background blur while editing an image shot on portrait mode on the new iPhones running on iOS 12. But to adjust depth control while capturing an image has been introduced with iOS 12.1 update. The ‘f’ icon appears on the top right of the camera app, which when turned on, shows a depth control slider just above the shutter button. Apple offers an aperture range between f/1.4 to f/16, where the former blurs the background completely and the latter keeps everything in focus. Thankfully, depth control isn’t restricted to just the rear camera and works with the front camera as well.
Another new feature is the support for video and audio calls with up to 32 participants simultaneously. A Group FaceTime call can be started right from a group message conversation or one can join an active call at any time. The feature can be ideal for staying connected with family members and friends, who are on iOS platform. Apple claims that the conversations are encrypted end to end, keeping them private.
After the addition of four new Animoji and customisable Memoji features with iOS 12, the new update introduces many new emojis such as red heads, bald people and more.
There are some improvements in iOS 12.1 too. It adds the ability for ‘battery health’ to inform users that it is unable to verify if a genuine Apple Battery is in iPhone XS, iPhone XS Max and iPhone XR. It brings improvements to mobile connectivity for the new iPhones. Parents will be now able to change or reset the child’s screen time passcode using face ID or touch ID. It also adds a performance management feature to prevent the device from unexpectedly shutting down, including the option to disable this feature if an unexpected shutdown occurs.
Along with these new features, Apple has also fixed a few bugs. To start with, it fixes an issue where the sharpest reference frame was not always selected in front-facing photos for the new iPhones. Apple also claims to have resolved an issue that caused messages to be merged into one thread when two users were signed in with the same Apple ID on multiple iPhones. It also resolves an issue in the phone app that could cause phone numbers to appear without their corresponding contact name. It addresses issues that could prevent ‘screen time’ from reporting specific websites in the activity report, adding and removing family members from ‘family sharing’, mislabelling of air quality descriptions and more.