iOS 12.1 to release today: Group FaceTime, new emojis, and more coming to iPhone, iPad

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apple, Group FaceTime, iPhones, iPads, apple emoji, FaceTime, FaceTime chat, iPhone XS, iPhone XS Max, iPhone XR, industry newsGroup FaceTime is integrated into the Messages app, making it easy to start a Group FaceTime right from a group iMessage chat. (Reuters)
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Apple has brought Group FaceTime with up to 32 people simultaneously and over 70 new emoji to iPhones and iPads via iOS 12.1. FaceTime changed the way people communicate and share important moments and “now with Group FaceTime, it’s easy to chat with more people than ever before, from two to 32 people”, Apple said in a statement late Monday. iOS 12.1 also brings Depth Control in real-time preview and Dual SIM support to iPhone XS, iPhone XS Max and iPhone XR customers.

Group FaceTime is integrated into the Messages app, making it easy to start a Group FaceTime right from a group iMessage chat. “If people in a conversation have already started a FaceTime session, Messages shows the active call in the conversation list and inside your conversations,” said Apple. FaceTime now uses on-device intelligence to display the most prominent speakers on the call, automatically highlighting the current speaker by bringing them to the forefront.

It automatically sizes each person’s image depending upon how active they are in the conversation, based on duration of speech, volume and even motion. “Participants who are not active will appear at the bottom of the screen until they speak. A simple tap also brings a participant front and centre,” Apple added.

When calling more than one person, FaceTime displays a notification that lets you instantly join a call without being disruptive. More than 70 new emoji have come to iPhone and iPad with iOS 12.1. New emoji will also be available on Apple Watch and Mac with a free software update. With iOS 12.1, iPhone XS, iPhone XS Max and iPhone XR gain Dual SIM support, featuring a nano-SIM and digital eSIM.

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