The best features of iOS 8
MANILA, Philippines – Apple showed off its upcoming operating system iOS 8 at the start of its annual WorldWide Developers Conference (WWDC) in San Francisco.
The update – expected this fall – spells out a big change for Apple. The company looks to be a little less uptight, more open, and more willing to give users the power to customize their devices.
The changes are the most exciting we’ve seen from Apple in recent years but in many respects only brings the mobile OS at par with Google’s Android.
Here’s what to expect:
Compared to Android, iOS notifications have been very discreet, dropping down from the top of the screen and taking up just about a tenth of the display. Picking one over the other is a matter of form vs function (iOS = prettier, Android = more useful).
With iOS 8 a quick swipe down on a notification lets users interact with notifications as they come in, like respond to text messages or like a Facebook post. This also works with notifications on the Lock Screen.
Since its beginnings, iOS has been basic and devoid of any form of openness. Third-party app integration was pretty much non-existent unless initiated by Apple like the system-wide Twitter and Facebook integration that arrived in iOS 5 & 6, respectively.
With extensibility, third party apps can finally integrate with system services. This makes possible features like third party app widgets on the Notification Center, photo filters from the likes of VSCO Cam right from the default Photo app, and sharing to third party services like Pinterest.
The first thing I do when I set up a new Android phone is install a third party keyboard. While default keyboards (on iOS, Android and Windows Phone) have gotten better and better there’s still nothing like the Swift Key on Android.
On iOS 8, Apple introduces QuickType with predictive typing that suggests succeeding words before you type them. Suggestions are contextual based on who you are speaking to. For example, if you’re messaging with your boss it might suggest more formal words, but if you’re speaking with friends, it can suggest more informal language – depending on how you previously communicated.
Apple’s built-in search tool for both iOS and Mac OS can search beyond what’s available on your device. For example, it can now display Wikipedia entries, directions, movie showtimes, and apps on the iTunes Store if they aren’t already installed on your device.
A family of 6 with the same credit card on file can set up Family Sharing that allows you to share calendars, reminders and photos across all your devices. But the best part is sharing iTunes-purchased music, movies, books, and apps purchased by one member of the family. Parents can also set it up so they are prompted for approval before their children purchase apps.
Apple takes on group messaging apps like WhatsApp and Line with improved group functionality. You can now name threads, mute noisy threads, share your location and see where others are on a map from inside the app, and view all the photos exchanged within the group. Messaging also adds SnapChat like audio, photo, and video messages that self destruct after a specific time.
Following competition from Window Phone’s Cortana, Siri gets a few upgrades, including Shazam integration, so you can identify music that’s playing in the background and immediately purchase new music from iTunes.
But the most exciting new feature is being able to summon Siri without having to touch your device, now a simple “Hey Siri” will bring up the virtual assistant – similar to “Google Now” whose active listing functionality is a godsend.
Improvements to default apps
The default email app is slightly improved getting Mailbox App-like gestures for flagging and marking emails as read. You can also now swipe an email draft dow, while composing, and access the rest of your inbox without having to abandon the email completely. The camera app also adds an exposure compensation slider so you can manually set a photo's exposure.
Apple also announced two development kits so developers can tightly integrate health tracking and home devices.
Health Kit works to consolidate health data acquired by third party apps that measure activity, heart rates, weight, blood pressure and sugar levels. The information collected by third party apps is consolidated in the health app and works in conjunction with other Health apps, including the new Mayo Clinic app for users in the United States.
Apple is also working on the Smart Home Framework where soon users will be able to speak to Siri to have her lock the doors or turn off the lights.
When it is released, iOS 8 will support the iPhone 4s, 5, 5c, 5s; iPod touch 5th generation; iPad 2, iPad with Retina display, iPad Air, iPad mini and iPad mini with Retina display. – Rappler.com
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