iOS 12.1 has been available in beta form since September, and Apple is now confirming its final release on October 30 — the same day as its “More in the Making” event in Brooklyn. As expected, the first point release for iOS 12 will include a small number of new features for iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch users.
Group FaceTime, originally promised for iOS 12.0, arrives with the ability to support up to 32-person simultaneous chat sessions. While the feature won’t work fully on the oldest devices supporting iOS 12, recent-generation iPhones and iPads will be able to have massive video or audio chats, complete with live video images coming simultaneously from multiple devices.
Apple says that FaceTime will use AI to identify the most prominent speakers on the call, sizing each person’s image based on their activity in the conversation. It will also be able to bring new callers into group conversations with visual rather than auditory notifications, avoiding disruption, and integrate directly within the Messages app for easy access.
Additionally, 70 new previously announced emoji will be added to the iOS devices’ keyboards. Apple is also adding real-time depth controls to the portrait cameras on certain iPhones, and adding support for dual-SIM support to the iPhone XS, XS Max, and XR, enabling these devices to use embedded digital eSIMs alongside their existing nano-SIMs.
iOS 12.1 will roll out at some point tomorrow, most likely following the Brooklyn event. It will be available for free download directly from supported iPhones and iPads.