Apple has finally lifted curtains off the much awaited iOS 8 at its much publicized World Wide Developer Conference (WWDC). As of now this is just a preview which has been thrown open to developers in the beta version and will get a final release in fall. The new iOS 8 would be compatible with many apple devices like iPhone 4S, 5, 5S , 5C, iPad 2, iPad Air, iPad with Retina display and iPad mini. What’s interesting is that most of the rumored features have actually been rolled out in new iOS 8 starting from Shazam integration with Siri, SmartHome App and a health related app as well.
Apple has taken home automation seriously by including HomeKit in iOS 8. HomeKit will allow companies to securely pair iPhone with some of your home devices and thus helping in activities like opening the door, unlocking your garage and controlling lighting and other gadgets over internet. Craig Federighi, senior vice president of Software Engineering at Apple claims that the pairing would be secure and hence no other person except you can have access to your home or gadgets.
Considering the fact the iOS 7 was a major change in comparison to iOS 6, its not at all surprising that iOS 8 didn’t bring much freshness in the user interface department. Instead we have some tweaks and gimmickry in place this time around. Messages have been updated with a predictive text software known as Quick Type. It is enhanced version of auto correct feature found on iOS 7 and will shoot off the most probable word you are about to type. That’s not all the prediction will be more personalized based on who you are chatting with – more formal phrases and words for your coworkers and more casual phrases and words for friends and family.
You can change your surroundings just with a single voice command! When you command Siri “get ready for bed” HomeKit will come into action thereby dimming the lights, closing your home door and garage and adjusting the air conditioning before you go to sleep.
Taking a lead from its competitor Google’s Android OS, iOS 8 will support third party keyboard apps like Swype and Swiftkey for the very first time. Similarly taking a lead from messaging giant WhatsApp, iOS 8 has enabled audio and video recording messages using the microphone button. These messages can then be sent to your contacts and will appear on their iPhone’s messaging screen. What’s more! if you find yourself stuck in an unending group chat then you can add or remove people in between chats. Apart from that, you can set the messaging app so that it doesn’t bother you with notifications on per message basis in those annoying group chats.
iOS 8 also lets you share your current location with your contacts in conversation and that’s not all, you get to decide how long they can have access to your location data. This feature is some kind of improvement over location sharing on WhatsApp.
iOS boasts of another cool feature known as “Family Sharing” , which lets you share your purchases with up to 5 family members and also get to see what they purchase. This features also makes sure your child does not have access to adult apps or content on App Store or iTunes, as each time child tries to purchase something a pop up will request them to ask parents permission for the same. Once the child taps on the pop up for permission his parents would receive a text message for granting permission for the purchase.
Apple has taken a cue from Android by including interactive notifications. Which essentially means you receive a text or email while doing something else you just need to swipe down the notification bar and reply and then head back to what you were doing earlier. This feature remains active even on the lock screen.
The Safari’s tab view will now be available on iPad as well. iOS 7 introduced the tab view of safari in iPhone. iOS 8 has sidebar menu which houses your shared links, bookmarks and reading list all under one place. Sidebar feature has most probably emerged from Apple’s latest Mac OS X Yosemite.
Apple’s iOS 8 also brings in host of fresh features to Mail as well. From now on you will be able to mark mails as unread, flagged or deleted with single gesture. You also don’t need to save your e-mails as draft any longer while trying to look up for information or reading that urgent e-mail. While writing an email you simply need to swipe the message down, go to inbox, read your message and then pull back the message you were writing before. Isn’t that great?
HealthKit app like many other health monitoring apps will keep a tab at metrics like number of steps taken and calories burned subsequently. Third party health apps like those from Nike can be downloaded as well. Stats from these apps can be accessed by your doctors allowing them to take informed decisions.
These days more and more people are using their smartphone camera as their primary and only photo capturing device. Keeping this in mind iOS 8 will upload all your pictures on to iCloud. Apple users will get free iCloud storage up to 5 GB, while same can be upgraded up to 20 GB for 99 cents/month or 200 GB for $3.99/month.
One of the most important update is the integration of music recognition app Shazam with Apple’s voice assistant Siri. This much hyped iOS 8 feature will let Siri identify the music being played around you and at the same time redirecting you to iTunes for purchasing that track.
Apple iPhone 5S users will be able to do more with their Touch ID fingerprint sensor as Apple has decided to open it up for third party developers. Apple has promised that the fingerprints will be stored locally on your iPhone 5s and hence will not be available to anyone.
In what can be said as the heavy influence of Google Play store, Apple’s App store will now support introductory videos in app listings so that users will be able to feel what they are about to download. A editor’s choice logo on the lines of Google Play store will be seen along with noteworthy apps. iOS 8 will allow developers to invite people to test apps in beta via a new feature known as “Test Flight”. Similar feature has for long existed on Android and has been named as “Beta Testing” by Google.
My Tech Update’s take on new iOS 8:
Well looking at the overall structure of Apple’s iOS 8 it seems to be heavily influenced by some of the Android features like widgets, interactive notification, beta app testing, preview app videos etc. We feel there was nothing revolutionary or refreshing from innovation point of view. Most of the new features have been borrowed from here and there. With iOS 8 Apple has become yet another technology company and not what it was under Steve Jobs. iOS 8 is great but not awe inspiring and path breaking we always expect from Apple. What do you think about the latest iOS 8? Please share your valuable opinion with us in comments section below.