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Though most of Apple’s just-released iOS 12 operating system is self-contained, some of its key enabling apps are being released today as standalone downloads so they can be separately updated as necessary. New versions of Apple TV Remote and Shortcuts are two of the most notable releases, but other updates can be expected throughout the day.

As a standalone app, Apple TV Remote enables iOS users to control Apple TV devices using a virtual version of the Siri Remote, complete with the same vector-sensitive touch surface and buttons. Version 2.0 of the app includes the ability to evoke most of the same features within iOS 12’s Control Center, along with a toggle to switch between multiple devices. It also features support for “new screen sizes,” most likely including the iPhone XS Max and iPhone XR displays.

Shortcuts 2.0 is actually the replacement for Workflow, an app Apple acquired as the primary front-end for iOS 12’s “Siri Shortcuts” feature — the way Apple’s AI assistant will learn to trigger actions in third-party apps, and custom actions within iOS. Though iOS 12 deeply integrates Siri Shortcuts into its undercarriage for developers and has a quick list of “Suggested Shortcuts” within its Settings app under Siri & Search, the Shortcuts app provides a means to create personalized Siri-evoking phrases and actions.

Sporting a new logo — though it still oddly preserves the Workflow name when searched in iOS 12’s Spotlight — Shortcuts uses the prior app’s simple interface for automating multi-step iOS actions, while adding a Gallery of easy-to-customize Siri-specific actions. Before today, the app was exclusively available in beta form to developers. Most of its features — apparently except one — are available across every iOS 12-supported device.

Both apps are available now for free download from the iOS App Store. Apple has also updated other first-party apps with less direct iOS 12 hooks, including Apple Support 2.4’s ability to easily add AppleCare+ extended warranties to eligible devices, and GarageBand 2.3.6’s addition of support for MIDI files and new Apple Loops.

Apple subsequently updated the iWork suite of applications (Keynote, Numbers, and Pages) with Siri Shortcuts support and additional features, as well. Most of the company’s apps are likely to be tweaked over the coming hours and days with iOS 12 functionality.


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