Apple has finally unveiled the much anticipated iOS 8, their latest version of their mobile software. They have claimed it as the biggest iOS release ever, and for good reason, in particular for developers.
In their official press release, Apple named three major features as the biggest changes for the software. These were the new health app, the iCloud Photo Library, and updates to iMessage. While these are sure to impress consumers, developers have a lot more to look forward to when it comes to working with the new iOS.
Feature Updates and Introductions
Obviously what makes this such a big deal isn’t just the fact that it is a new update for existing devices. The iPhone 6 is being manufactured as we speak, and just like every other Apple device, it is a huge draw in the tech world.
HomeKit is going to be included for development, and that has tongue wagging. Apple’s smart home platform is still brand spankin’ new, and they aren’t waiting to give it over to third parties like they may have in the past. It is a clear signal that they are looking for innovation from outside of the company in that regard, as they take on leading competitor Nest.
Also up for use is TouchID, and keyboard builders. Both are sure to spark a wave of related apps in the iTunes store by the time the iPhone 6 is released, but probably well before to be back compatible with other devices (mostly the iPhone 5 and 5s, but the iPhone 4 and 4s may possibly be supported).
But enough about developers, what about users? They are going to find some definite improvements this time around.
This new file system will allow you to upload photos and videos automatically, and then sync them to all connected devices for pretty much unlimited storage. So you won’t have to worry about that 1,000 photo iPhone gallery limit any longer, or have to move and send files to and from devices or computers.
Editing will be possible right on the devices themselves, which them auto syncs across each so the file changes without reupload. Filters and effects can also be added, which is a nice touch since it won’t be done through a separate app.
All photos and videos can be searched for within the gallery, through the entire cloud. That makes organization easier. It will have a suggestion area that looks at recently opened, edited or saved files. But how well that works probably depends on how many files you have stored.
iMessages has become more advanced. You can add your voice to conversations by tapping the screen, record and quickly send videos, and add and remove contacts for group messaging. Plus, you can add media and then search through it quickly to find photos and videos shared between you and those contacts.
Productivity seems to have been a concern when creating the interface. The shortcuts are helpful, as they add quick icons to get to the people you most frequently communicate with.
You can respond to notifications, such as text messages and social media updates, from the notification itself. It keeps you in your current app, which is a huge plus for smartphone users who are used to being bumped out of programs.
There is a new email feature that makes it faster to respond to, read and flag messages. It will provide notifications for messages from recognized addresses or events. Though that one doesn’t seem much better than most integrated mobile email applications, such as Gmail for Android.
For the new keyboard system, they are claiming that their auto complete is better than ever. But it will probably be as aggravating as any other auto complete/correct feature on any other device. It is too easy to get into trouble with those kinds of things.
Finally, we have the Health app, which is exactly what it is called. But it may be better described as a ‘section’ than an actual application. Health allows medical providers, insurance, third party apps and yourself plug into the back to provide a central dashboard for all of your health needs. For example, it tracks calories burned in activities, allows for fitness and food trackers, and store medical information, track your sleep, and potentially a lot more.
It’s a cool update. Apple’s iOS 8 isn’t perhaps as innovative as they claim, as you can see many of the same feature as before, along with many that come from other brands (like Samsung with the health focus). However, seeing it all together this way, and in such an intuitive and smooth looking operating system, is a treat.
This will be even better when we see it in action on the iPhone 6, which will have the hardware to back it up.