What’s new in iOS 8?

Exciting news – Apple have announced iOS 8 and there are a lot of great features to look forward to with its public release planned for the fall. Its release should coincide with the launch of the new iPhone 6, which is another thing to get excited about if you are a big Apple fan like us.

Here is a summary of some new features to look forward to.

Handoff

Along with iOS 8, the newest OS X was announced as well – OS X Yosemite. You will now be able to start a task on either your iPhone or iPad (with iOS 8 installed), and then continue that task on your Mac (with Yosemite installed). 

For example you may have written half of an email on your iPhone, and then when you sit at your desk, you can continue writing that email on your Mac. Or you may be browsing a website on your Mac, and then decide you would like to continue to browse the site on your iPad while lying on the couch. This all works through your iCloud account.

Handoff will work with native iOS apps such as Mail, Safari, Pages, Keynotes, Numbers, Messages, Reminders, Contacts and Calendar. Developers will also be able to integrate their third party apps with Handoff as well.

Cross Compatible AirDrop

A much awaited feature, the new version of AirDrop will now allow you to share files between different Apple devices over bluetooth. Great! No more having to email yourself an image to transfer it from your iPhone to your Mac.

Wi-Fi Calling

If this feature is activated with your mobile carrier, iPhone users will have the ability to make phone calls over Wi-Fi rather than cellular. This gives users a much more reliable phone call and improves audio quality. You can also take the phone call through your Mac as long as it’s on the same Wi-Fi network.

Messages

Have you ever been put into a group conversation on your phone that you really wish you could leave? Instead of asking your friends to start a new iMessage conversation without you, you can simply leave the group message at the tap of a button.

Other new features include being able to include your location on a text and sending video and audio messages.

Notification Centre

The notification banner now lets you quickly interact  with apps without having to open them up. For example if you receive a text message notification, you can tap on a field to quickly reply to the message without leaving the app you are looking at currently. This feature extends to emails, calendar invitations, reminders and even some third-party apps like Facebook.

Touch ID

Developers will now finally have access to Touch ID to integrate it with third party apps. This can mean improved security and faster navigation for users.

Camera and Photos

There will be a ‘time-lapse’ camera mode added to iOS 8, a great feature to get more creative with your videos.

When taking a photo, the focus and exposure controls will be separated, giving you more control over your picture. The editing tool in the Camera app has been improved and gives more access for the user to adjust parameters on their photos.

If you happen to accidentally delete your photo you will be able to recover it by going into the ‘recently deleted album’.

All photos and videos will be now be uploaded to your iCloud Photo Library, and any edits made on one device will be immediately visible on other devices.

Users will have up to 5GB of free storage and can pay for 20GB of storage for $0.99 per month or 200GB for $2.99 per month. You will also be able to quickly search through your photo library by date, time, location or album name.

Health

The new Health app will give users a ‘dashboard’ of their health and fitness data. Along with this will be a new framework for developers called ‘HealthKit’ which will be able to aggregate health metrics from a user and let different apps access this data easily.

The Health app will let you create your own ‘emergency medical card’ with information such as any medical conditions, allergies or medication you are currently taken. This information can be accessible from your lock screen in case of medical emergency situations.

HomeKit

This is quite an exciting new feature that could change the way people live their daily lives. ‘Smart Home’ tech has been growing in the market over the last year – things like networked lightbulbs, wireless power sockets and remote controlled locks.

HomeKit makes it easy to manage all of these different home automation accessories, rather than having a separate app or protocol for the various third party accessories available. With HomeKit you can establish different rooms in your home which contain your accessories  and group them into zones such as ‘upstairs’ and ‘downstairs’. Then with Siri you can give commands such as ‘Turn off the lights downstairs’.

You can also create ‘action sets’ to trigger a set of actions. A ‘Good Night’ action could turn off all the lights in your home, turn the thermostat down and lock all of the doors.

We’ll have to wait later in the year to see what manufacturers decide to integrate with HomeKit.

Family Sharing

Families can sync up all of the devices they use as a single family unit (this only works if the devices are tied to the same credit card). Between these devices families can share their iTunes, iBooks an App Store purchases, calendars and reminders.

Along with this will be the ‘Ask to Buy’ feature, meaning that if children try to make a purchase through an app, a notification will be sent to the parent requiring their approval for the purchase.

Siri

Instead of holding down the home button on your iPhone, you will be able activate Siri by simply saying ‘Hey Siri’. Siri will also have Shazam integration, so you can ask ‘What song is playing’ to identify music.

There will also be better voice recognition, the ability to ask Siri to download apps from the App Store and more language integration.

Safari

If users are conscious about their privacy, they can use DuckDuckGo as their default search option instead of Google. There will be an option to ‘Request Desktop Site’ if users do not want to see the mobile version of a website.

Quicktype

The keyboard will now auto-suggest words for you to help speed up your typing. Apparently it will be smart enough to know the context of the message you are writing. If you are writing a message to someone it considers to be your friend, it will suggest informal and colloquial words. On the other hand if you are writing to a professional contact it will suggest words with a formal vernacular.

Extras

In Settings you will be able to see an overview of what percentage of battery usage each app is using.

There will be a ‘send last location’ feature, meaning that when your phone goes completely flat it will send a GPS coordinate to your iCloud. This will help if you should ever lose your phone.

Image Source: Apple