Earlier this month Apple unveiled iOS 8, it was billed as “The biggest release since the Launch of the App Store” and compared with its predecessor it comes with a great range of new features, offers increased performance speeds and an array of further enhancements that allow for a greater intuitive user experience.
For both developers and everyday users exciting new offerings come in many forms including Apple’s new Health app which allows you to collate and manage information from fitness devices and various health applications. Apple have created HealthKit to provide developers with the technology to facilitate communication between apps, trainers and even your doctor allowing users to monitor, manage and improve both their fitness and health together with an easy to read dashboard covering everything from heart rate and blood sugar levels to calories burned and cholesterol. Health app also includes the facility to create an emergency card with details of medications, allergies and medical notes accessible from the Lock Screen.
Improvements to the iCloud Photo Library and Apple’s Photo app gives users powerful tools for editing and fine tuning images for a highly professional end result which can be stored, organised, accessed and shared regardless of location, with updates and edits automatically enabled across their range of devices. Sending multiple videos and photos at the same time couldn’t be easier with Tap to select the images to share and send either from your Camera Roll or Photo Library.
Tap to Talk is another feature of iOS 8, taking conversations in Messages to another level and allowing a user’s voice, a sound or a song to become part of the conversation, all via the touch of a button to record and a single swipe to send. With the ability to share what you are seeing sending video is now quicker and easier than ever, as is the use of Group Messages including those who need to see the message and omitting those that don’t. A Do Not Disturb function as well as the ability to “leave a conversation” has also been added, and being able to “name a conversation” means that you can catch up with the latest developments at a time that suits you best.
Even more time is saved with Messages on iOS 8, as the attachments from the conversation threads can be browsed separately without the need to scroll through the entire contents of the message.
iOS 8 keyboard is smarter than ever and can suggest ways in which you can complete your sentences based on passed conversation tones and your vocabulary choice. Incredibly the technology recognises whether you are in Mail or Messages and will adapt the style of phrasing – opting for a more formal or informal tone based on the person you are communicating with. All data gathered is privately stored on your device with the predictive text functionality offered in a range of languages. iOS 8 also offers keyboard options for those who would rather type than swipe and adopts third party keyboard support for your preferred choice of input – another first.
Time saving also comes in the form of interactive notification banners which allow you to respond and action as necessary without leaving the app you are currently working in. The new multitasking interface displays the faces of those you have recently called and a further swipe results in your favourite contacts also displayed – just one tap is then needed to call or text.
Mail enhancements from iOS 8 include notification generation when new a phone number, reservation or flight confirmation appears which can then be quickly added by a tap to your contacts list or as an update to your calendar. iOS 8 also makes it easier and faster to jump between inbox and drafts saving time when cutting and pasting detail as you compose new messages.
iOS 8 really focusses on making life easier and for accessibility and delivery to be more natural than ever before, striving to give us more helpful features that we didn’t know we needed and yet will quickly become reliant upon – it’s all in the detail for iOS 8. A big feature is the Family Sharing options that this release provides with the ability for 6 people to share everything from App Store purchases, iTunes, iBooks and movies without sharing accounts and Apple ID passwords, as well as keeping everyone up to date with calendar events and photos. Those all important parental control limits can remain in place with the added advantage that parents can approve purchases or grant permission from anywhere via the notification request they receive. As well as the handy tool that automatically shares the map locations of the family sharing group with each other, this technology can also locate lost devices with the Find My iPhone feature.
The technology that iOS 8 provides enables users to connect their devices and work seamlessly on tasks across any of them once signed into iCloud. The HandOff functionality lets you begin a message on one device and then move to continue the task in hand on another, from browsing links that you begin to explore on a Mac to automatically continuing your search on your iPad the technology is set to open up endless opportunities in a variety of applications from Mail, Messages and Reminders to Keynotes and Maps – if your iPhone has iOS 8 you can even make and receive call on your Mac or iPad as long as the same Wi-Fi network is used, no set up is required as all the information is already on the iPhone. SMS and MMS can also be sent and received using these devices, with Instant Hotspot ensuring they can be used even when Wi-Fi range is an issue.
The successor to iOS 7 is set to be released to Manufacturing in Autumn 2014, so not long to wait until we can all explore and enjoy the many new and exciting features that Apple have developed.