It was just a year ago when Apple overhauled its iPhone operating system. Now we are once again at the threshold of another major revamp to the iOS platform. On Monday, June 2nd, Apple unveiled the iOS 8 for iPhone and iPad devices at the Worldwide Developers Conference in San Francisco. The new software builds on the positives of its predecessors and comes with a host of new features including the new developer hooks which will help app makers build new apps with more panache and creativity than before. Here is a look at some of the big features of iOS 8.
New in iOS 8
iMessaging gets some much needed improvements with the ability to name your group conversations, add or remove users in such conversations and place a Do Not Disturb sign if you want to be left alone for a while. You will also be able to tap to add voices to a conversation by touching the microphone to record the message and then swiping to send. You will also be able to send videos to friends at the tap of a button. Also, with iOS 8, you will be able to share your whereabouts with a map pointing to your exact location and be able to see where others are chatting from too.
If photos and videos are part of your conversations, you won’t have to scroll around looking for the attachments anymore. They will be easily available at the tap of a button.
If you have the habit of sharing multiple photos or videos while messaging, you can now do that by tapping the camera icon or the photo library, selecting the desired files and then hitting that Send button.
Although iOS 8 brings a smarter keyboard called QuickType to the iPhone, the interesting news is that for the first time, third party keyboards will become available for users. The new smarter keyboard’s predictive text engine will enable you to write whole sentences with taps rather than typing or swyping. As far as third party apps go, SwiftKey, Fleksy and Swype have already announced plans to bring their touch typing keyboards to the platform.
More and more smartphone users are becoming health conscious or so it appears as developers seem to be focusing on health related apps that can process and help you use health related data more effectively. iOS 8 offers a new tool for developers called HealthKit, which will enable all types of health and fitness apps to work together.
Most health apps will offer you a whole gambit of information such as your heart rate, calories burned, blood sugar levels, cholesterol data and such. iOS 8’s health app will put all that data into one neat little dashboard for you get all the information at a glance. Plus, you will be able to prepare an emergency card that holds important details such as your blood group, allergies and such, which will be available right from the Lock screen.
With the new health app, you will also be able to share your health data with people. For instance, you can automatically share your blood pressure data with your doctor, or you can have your fitness app to tell you how many calories you’ve consumed for the day.
With iOS 8, you can now take actions right from your Notification area. For instance, if you want to reply to a text message or email, accept a calendar invitation or take action on a to-do-item you can do that without navigating away from wherever you are – just by taking action from the notification banner.
iOS 8 now offers a clever shortcut to your favorite contacts. Double press the Home button to see the faces of people you’ve recently talked to, with a swipe to the right revealing your favorite contacts. A tap will obviously let you talk to or call the contact.
Improvements to your Inbox include swipe actions to mark an email as read, flag or follow it up. You can also shift between an email draft and your Inbox, in case you want to get more information for your reply. Plus your Mail will now be able to identify a reservation, flight confirmation, or phone number in an email and display it to you as a notification so you can take action right away by adding it to your calendar, contacts, or other apps as the case may need.
Enterprise Feature Improvements
iOS 8 will come with plenty of enterprise-focused features in security, productivity, and device management areas. Data protection is now expanded to apps with more control over mail encryption. iBooks, ePub, and PDF documents can now be automatically pushed to user devices using mobile device management (MDM) tools and can be removed remotely when no longer required.
You can also wirelessly connect your iPad, iPhone, or iPod touch to Apple TV without connecting to the company network so that you can present or share your work even if you’re offline.
Your iOS devices will now get a dedicated app for browsing through your iCloud, similar to cloud based managers like Dropbox.
Switching between devices such as your Mac and your iPad is now easier when you are signed in to the iCloud account. Handoffs will work with all your productivity apps to make that integration seamless and third party developers will also be able to build handoff into their apps. This feature is so cool that you can even answer a phone call or reply to texts from your Mac if your phone is out of reach.
With Family Sharing you can now share plenty of stuff together. For instance, there’s calendar information, reminders, iTunes, iBooks, and App Store purchases ( up to six members), photos and more. The ability to use a single credit card to purchase digital downloads should augur well for parents who wish to keep a check on kids spending on apps.
Improvements in the Spotlight search feature means that your device already knows what topics are hot, help you locate nearby places and movie shows, help you shop for music, movies, TV shows, and podcasts in iTunes, App Store, or iBooks stores.
iOS 8 is expected to be compatible with iPhone 4S devices and later, iPad 2 tablets and later, and iPod touch (5th generation) and later and will land into consumers hands later this fall.