iOS 8 has finally been unveiled and will be hitting Apple users everywhere from today (17th September). Here’s what the Apple press release tells us we can expect from iOS 8, including new Messages and Photos features, QuickType Keyboard, Extensibility, iCloud Drive and new Health App.
On September 9th 2014, Apple announced the release of iOS 8: the biggest release since the launch of the App Store. iPhone, iPad and iPod Touch users can download iOS 8 for free from today (17th September). iOS 8 delivers a simpler, faster and more intuitive user experience with new and updated features including:
– New Messages and Photos features.
– Predictive typing for Apple’s QuickType keyboard.
– Family sharing.
– The new Health app, giving you a clear overview of your health and fitness data.
– iCloud Drive, so you can store files and access them from anywhere.
Apple’s Senior vice president of Software Engineering, Craig Federighi had this to say: ‘We’re excited for hundreds of millions of users to begin experiencing iOS 8, with incredible features that offer new ways to use your iPhone, iPad or iPod touch, iOS 8 also creates an extraordinary environment for developers, providing them the ability to create amazing new apps like never before.’
New to Messages
Messages in iOS 8 makes conversations more immersive. Simply ‘Tap to Talk’ to share your voice. The same gesture also works for sharing photos and videos. Users can now share several photos and videos at once and easily browse through all of them within a conversation from one place. Group messaging gives you the ability to add and remove contacts, and the option not to be disturbed or to leave a conversation entirely. You can also choose to share your current location from within Messages for an hour, a day or longer.
New to Photos
In iOS 8, the Photos app brings powerful editing to your fingertips. Photos automatically straightens horizons, and with smart editing tools you can quickly adjust light and colour with a swipe. For deeper fine-tuning, you can access individual tools to adjust exposure, brightness, contrast, highlights, shadows and more. Developers can tap into the same robust framework as the built-in Photos app using PhotoKit, and with extensibility APIs, can make their own filters and editing tools available to users within the Photos app.
New predictive typing for Apple’s QuickType keyboard is smarter, more personalised and intelligently takes context into account, such as who the recipient is and in which app you’re typing. QuickType understands the way you communicate, suggesting favourite phrases, so you can write entire sentences with just a few taps. What the QuickType keyboard learns is kept private, encrypted on your device and never sent to the cloud. Third-party keyboards are also available, so developers can offer additional layouts and input methods system-wide, providing users more choice. Fingers crossed this is the end of embarrassing autocorrected text messages!
New Health app
The new Health app gathers the information you choose from your various health apps and fitness devices, and provides you with a clear and current overview in one place. HealthKit APIs offer developers the ability for health and fitness apps to communicate with each other. With your permission, each app can use specific information from other apps to provide a more comprehensive way to manage your health and fitness. Users will be able to gather and monitor their own fitness metrics using apps such as MyFitnessPal, RunKeeper and Strava.
HomeKit connects your home devices safely and seamlessly so you can better manage accessories like lights, thermostats, door locks and garage doors. By delivering a common protocol, HomeKit securely pairs and allows easy control over individual or groups of devices throughout the house. With Siri integration you can say, “Good morning,” and have the lights turn on in specific rooms, the thermostat adjust the temperature and the garage door open.
Family Sharing with iOS 8
Family Sharing with iOS 8 makes it easier than ever to communicate and share purchases. It automatically keeps everyone connected by creating a shared family photo stream and calendar, and provides an option to locate family members and their devices. Family members can now also browse and download each other’s eligible iTunes, iBooks or App Store purchases. Up to six family members can participate, each with their own Apple ID. Parents can create Apple IDs for children and, with Ask to Buy, require online parental permission for Family Sharing purchases.
iCloud Drive allows you to safely store, access and edit documents of any type. Make edits on one device and the most up-to-date version of your documents will be available across all devices, whether an iOS device, Mac, Windows PC or on www.icloud.com. iCloud Drive brings new collaboration between apps, providing seamless access and the ability to work on the same file across multiple apps.
Continuity features in iOS 8 and OS X Yosemite bring your Mac and iOS devices together like never before. When your iPhone or iPad is near your Mac, Handoff lets you start an activity on one device and pass it to the other. Instant Hotspot makes using your iPhone’s hotspot as easy as connecting to a Wi-Fi network. Now the SMS and MMS messages that previously only appeared on your iPhone appear in Messages on all your devices. You can even send SMS or MMS messages directly from your Mac and make or receive iPhone calls using your Mac as a speakerphone.
Additional iOS 8 features include:
– Expanded security and management improvements for Enterprise, with new productivity features, including an extended level of data protection for key built-in apps and support for configurable thread notifications in Mail. Improvements in the way users are informed of how their devices are configured and managed further support the new mobilised workforce IT model.
– Design enhancements that build on the stunning interface of iOS 7, bringing interactive notifications, quick access to key contacts, intelligent suggestions and the ability to quickly switch back and forth between the Inbox and Drafts in Mail.
– Spotlight suggestions beyond what’s on your device, including Wikipedia entries, places nearby and news articles.
iOS 8 SDK
The iOS 8 SDK, with over 4,000 new APIs, gives developers the ability to create amazing new apps like never before. The SDK delivers major iOS extensions, including new sharing options, widgets, custom actions and document APIs. Touch ID APIs enable developers to securely authenticate users within apps. Gaming on iOS 8 gets even better with Metal, a new graphics technology for game providers to bring console-class 3D games to mobile devices. iOS 8 includes CloudKit, offering developers a complete and scalable back-end solution, eliminating the need for writing server code and maintaining servers. Swift provides developers with a powerful, next-generation programming language for iOS and OS X that’s fast, modern, interactive and helps them write safer and more reliable code.
Don’t forget the App Store!
iPhone, iPad and iPod touch customers have access to the revolutionary App Store, which offers more than 1.3 million apps in 155 countries around the world. The App Store receives more than 300 million visitors each week.
Pricing and Availability
– iOS 8 will be available as a free software update starting Wednesday, 17th September here for iPhone 4s, iPhone 5, iPhone 5c, iPhone 5s, iPod touch 5th generation, iPad 2, iPad with Retina display, iPad Air, iPad mini and iPad mini with Retina display.
– New iCloud pricing includes 5GB free, 20GB £0.79/month, 200GB £2.99/month, 500GB £6.99/month and 1TB £14.99/month.
– Continuity features and iCloud Drive will be available on Macs running OS X Yosemite. In October, SMS Continuity will be available as a free update to iOS 8 and iCloud Photo Library will be available as a beta.
– Starting in October, with iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus, Apple Pay will be available in the US as a free update to iOS 8.
Check out the full Apple press release here.