Apple’s Worldwide Developer Conference (WWDC) 2014 has kicked off in style, with the Cupertino-giant unveiling it’s upcoming mobile operating system dubbed as iOS 8. While the design is almost the same as iOS 7 except a few new animations, Apple has introduced many new features and enhancements to make the OS better than its predecessor. If you missed the Apple keynote yesterday, here’s everything you need to know about the upcoming iOS 8:
Apple has a history of providing support for old devices. When iOS 7 came it out last year, it came with support for the good old iPhone 4 as well. And, this year, the latest iOS 8 will be compatible with iPhone 4S as above — sorry iPhone 4 owners, but you’ll not get iOS 8. The complete list of devices include, iPhone 4S/5/5S/5C, iPad Mini, iPad Mini with Retina, iPad Air, iPad 2, iPad with Retina and iPod 5th generation. This is a handsome list of devices, meaning that all popular iOS devices will get the update.
2. Health and Fitness Dashboard
As rumored before, the new iOS 8 comes with a Health dashboard which give users the ability to measure fitness-related metrics, such as calories burnt, heart rate, cholesterol level, sleeping patterns, and more. What’s even more interesting is the way the data is collected. Some of it comes from wearables such as Nike bands, while others come from apps and third-party sources such as Mayo Clinic. It also let users create an emergency card, which is displayed on the lockscreen for emergency purposes.
3. Improved Notification Center and Multitasking
The new iOS 8 brought some much needed improvements. One of the most notable ones is the interactive notifications, a new feature which give users the ability to respond to notifications from the Notification Center. This means you can reply to your emails, messages or texts without leaving the app you’re using. You can even comment or like Facebook posts from the notification center.
In addition, the new operating system adds more content to the multitasking screen. Along with the opened applications, the multitasking screen on the device now shows your favorite contacts so you can contact them from the multitasking window.
There are some new features for the messaging app as well. Now, you can send voice notes, images, and even create groups where you can multiple contacts and get in touch with them — send images, voice notes, video clips and make calls. You can even share your location with the group of friends, to let them know where you are, or if you’re waiting to meet them.
5. QuickType Keyboard
The new OS also comes with an improved version of the keyboard, which they call it QuickType. Personally, I feel like the existing iOS keyboard is already very good, but the new one makes it even better. The new keyboard suggests words periodically to complete the sentences — the prediction capabilities demoed during WWDC keynote looked pretty good. It even recognizes whether you’re writing in the Mail or Messages app. At the moment, the predictive text is optimized for 14 countries, including US, UK, Canada,
6. Family Sharing
This is another interesting feature which give family members the ability to share their iTunes content, such as app purchases and iBooks with other members of the family. Once enabled, you can even access content from other family members. You can even set up a family photo stream where images taken by your family members on all devices. It’s not just sharing content, you can even find out where you family members are on a map, which is similar to the Find My iPhone app.
7. iCloud Drive
iCloud Drive is a cloud storage service which lets users save their files, documents and other media files online, and access them on any iOS device you own. It’s not just iOS devices, you can even view and work with the files on your Mac or PC.
The new Handoff feature is another notable one introduced in the iOS 8. The new feature connects iOS devices together so you can work in conjunction. This means you can start writing an email on your iPhone, and continue where you left off on your iOS device and vice versa. It even lets you check and reply to messages from your Mac, and you can even answer calls on your Mac or iPad, provided its running the latest OS X Yosemite and iOS 8, respectively. No need to find out where your smartphone is when you are working.
Spotlight is the new iOS search feature, which let users search for anything, such as their installed apps, iTunes content, and much more. It will show you everything, even from third-party sources such as Wikipedia or any news related to the searched query.
10. Touch ID And New APIs
This is another interesting access Apple is giving to third-party developers. Previously, Touch ID was only accessible for security purposes to unlock your device or to make iTunes purchases. But, with iOS 8, developers can create apps which can make use of the sensor. It’s not just the Touch ID access, the new SDK comes with 4,000 new APIs for developers to explore the capabilities of the OS.
11. Release Date
The developer preview of iOS 8 is already available for registered developers so they can test their apps, and explore the new APIs for their apps, to make full use of the operating system. For consumers, the operating system will launch this fall, and possibly with the new iPhone. Apple is rumored to be working on two new iPhones which are expected to see the light of the day this fall, possibly with a bigger screen.
There you go folks. I think Apple has done a commendable job with the latest iOS 8 operating system, adding new features and enhancements, and much more. What do you think about iOS 8? Let us know using the comments below.
Hammad is a full time writer who worked for many popular websites in the past. He loves to write about smartphones and gadgets. When he is not writing, he can be found playing Clash of Clans on his iPhone or looking for a good place to eat.