iOS 7 was the biggest overhaul to what iOS looked like ever, but iOS 8 wasn’t expected to be as huge, and on the top it definitely wasn’t, but it’s when you read the pages that you see how big an update this really is. It includes a handful of new features, functionality, and developer options.
– Interactive Notifications – Notifications on iOS are good, and now they’ve gotten even better. Starting in iOS 8 you can interact with notifications directly from the notification panel and lock screen. Messaging is a huge part of mobile device and now you can respond to them much easier in iOS 8. When receiving a new message you can reply to a message without leaving the app you are in. You can also reply to messages straight from the lock screen. This feature can also be used for other apps including Facebook and more.
Along with this comes the addition of widgets in the notification tray. These widgets provide an interactive area users can access relevant info and interact with certain apps. Two apps that Apple showed off during the presentation included ESPN’s SportsCenter and eBay. Their apps give sports scores and the ability to see bids and watch list information respectively.
– “Birds Eye View” Tab View In Safari For iPad – Previously found on Safari for iPhone, tab view now comes to the iPad in iOS 8. This new view is called “Birds Eye View” and combines what we see on the iPhone version of Safari with the version found on the Mac.
– Favorite Contacts In Multitasking – The multitasking view in iOS 7 saw a huge overhaul and in iOS 8 it’s seeing a minor update. Now rather than just seeing recent apps, users can also access a list of recent contacts.
– Keyboard Improvements – Apple’s own keyboard is seeing a major update called QuickType which adds predictive typing to the keyboard. The predictive results are also contextually aware to messages and surrounding text to give accurate predictions. Along with that the keyboard can be replaced with a third-party keyboard, a first for the OS. Some developers such as the developers of Swype are already working to bring this functionality to users.
– Messaging Improvements – There are numerous improvements in iOS 8 to messaging. These include features such as audio and video messages, do not disturb mode in group threads, and more. Location sharing is also made easier. Audio and video messages also delete themselves after time to save storage space.
– HealthKit & Health – Health monitoring is an increasingly popular use for smartphones and Apple is including some new improvements for the health-minded in iOS 8. These improvements include a new app that centralizes results from various health apps into one place. It also features integration with the Mayo Clinic.
– Family Sharing – This feature helps integrate the photos, calendars, reminders, and even apps between family members. iTunes and iBooks purchases are shared as well. The feature is accomplished through a credit card.
– Siri – Siri was not a huge focus of Apple’s announcements today but we did see a couple major new features highlighted. That feature was Shazam integration. Now Siri can identify a song using Shazam and give you relavent information and the option to purchase the song on iTunes. Siri also now gets a hands-free mode when it is in the car using the command “Hey Siri”.
– Compatibility – iOS 8 is available for the following devices:
- iPhone 4S
- iPhone 5
- iPhone 5C
- iPhone 5S
- iPod Touch 5th Generation
- iPad 2
- iPad With Retina Display
- iPad Air
- iPad Mini
- iPad Mini With Retina Display
iOS 8 also includes many improvements under-the-hood for developers including the new programming language Swift, which brings a new improved coding option for app development, and many new APIs. iOS 8 will be available this fall to the public and is available now in beta for developers. Stay tuned for more information regarding iOS 8 and OS X Yosemite in the near future.