As with every June, Apple today unveiled its latest mobile operating system for their iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch. The company’s CEO Tim Cook unveiled iOS 8 during their WWDC 2014 keynote in in San Francisco, California. Unlike iOS 7 which brought a completely redesigned iOS, iOS 8 has the same design as iOS 7. iOS 8, however, has many new features, new apps, and tweaks and new tools for developers. The update will be available to iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch users this fall. Developers can download it right now. Here are the biggest new features and tweaks iOS 8 has:
- Quick Reply: iOS 8 features the ability to quickly respond to messages from Notification Center as well as the lock screen
- Favorite Contacts in Multitasking: Favorite contacts are now available in the multitasking view
- Safari for iPad has new tabs view: The same tabs view from Safari on iPhone is now available on iPad as well as OS X Yosemite’s sidebar
- Quick reply for third party apps: This includes apps like Facebook
- Mail gestures and management improvements: Similar to Mailbox, gesture based actions and deeper integration with Calendar and better multitasking within Mail
- Spotlight: Spotlight now has more advanced features on iOS similar to OS X Yosemite including in-line results from Wikipedia and music on iTunes. Spotlight is also built-in to Safari’s search field as an alternative to Google Search
- Quicktype: iOS 8 features a keyboard feature called Quicktype which is an alternative keyboard with suggestive typing with context awareness. Typing learning is private to the device so not shared or accessible by others; securely implemented.
- Continuity: Same continuity features demoed under Yosemite.
- Messages: Support for naming threads and group message management. This includes Do Not Disturb support per thread and the ability to leave the thread. Sharing is also made easier with the iOS 8 version of Messages including attachment management and voice, photo, and video sharing. Location sharing is also made much easier. Messaging is very similar to Facebook’s Messenger app in terms of sharing photos and videos quickly as well as voice. Audio and video messages are allowed to delete after a period of time to avoid large files clogging up storage similar to Snapchat and other message apps. Audio messages can be heard from the lock screen using a Raise to Hear feature.
- iCloud Drive: iCloud Drive allows users to work with documents across applications on iOS 8 using documents stored in iCloud.
- Enterprise: iOS 8 includes a new enrollment program making enterprise device usage much easier.
- HealthKit & Health: HealthKit is a feature that speaks with fitness and health apps to pull information from various apps into a single app called Health that centralizes results. The software features integration with the Mayo Clinic. It can present weight, activity, heart rate, and more.
- Family Sharing: This feature brings together family photo streams, calendars, reminders, Find My Friends, and even shared purchases up to six family members on iTunes, App Store, and iBooks. This is connected by the credit card.
- Photos: iCloud now stores all photos including more than what can fit on the device. Photos also includes advanced search features now with perimeters like time, location, and albums. Photos also now features advanced editing features within the app. Photos and videos are backed up to iCloud at full resolution, but requires iCloud storage space. New pricing and storage tiers will be available.
- Shazam: Siri will support Shazam for music recognition in iOS 8 as well as feature a hands-free mode with the Hey Siri command.
- Availability: iOS 8 will be available in beta today for developers and publicly this fall.