Apple has unveiled iOS 8 at its annual Worldwide Developers Conference. The new version of iOS, which will come to iPhones and iPads in the fall, includes many new features. iOS 8 brings Interactive Notifications, giving users the ability to respond to a notification without launching the app it comes from, just by pulling down on the alert.
Apple is also bringing an enhancement to the multi-tasking app screen, accessible by double-clicking the Home button. In addition to showing all apps running, the screen will show a scrolling strip of your most recent contacts, identified by photos, along the top of the screen. Tap one, and you’ll be able to call, message or FaceTime the contact.
Apple added some enterprise features in iOS 8. Users can subscribe to specific message threads called VIP threads, calendars can share “busy” information with an organization, and iCloud can work with third-party storage providers like Box and OneDrive.
The keyboard in iOS brings an upgrade that Android users will find familiar: predictive typing. Suggestions for what you might be typing next appear above the keyboard. The suggestions can adapt depending on who you’re talking to. For example, the sentence, “The meeting was…” could get suggestions like “rescheduled/cancelled” for one contact and “epic/awesome” for another.
Messages have a set of upgrades, including location sharing, the ability to use the iPhone’s Do Not Disturb feature to mute notifications from a specific thread, and a new feature called Tap to Talk, which lets you speak and send an audio message the recipient can play back (but doesn’t convert the speech to text). Details of the contacts you are talking to within a conversation are a tap away in the new “Details” button in the top right of any screen.
iOS 8 has a larger emphasis on fitness through an app simply called Health. It’s supported by a service called HealthKit, which lets gives health and fitness app developers a centralized place on the iPhone to integrate their software with. Apple is also working with health providers to get the most out of the service.
iOS 8 also includes Family Sharing, which finally adds a long-requested feature: linking Apple IDs. With family sharing, up to six family members can share any iTunes content that any of them has purchased, and if one family member tries to buy an app or in-app purchase, the credit-card holder will get a notification, allowing them to grant or deny the request. Read more…