Apple has unveiled iOS 8, which the company says is the biggest release since the launch of the App Apple App Store,
New features include: iCloud Photo Library, allowing you to enjoy your photos and videos more easily across your devices; new Messages features to share voice, video or photos with just a swipe; and a new Health app that gives you am overview of your health and fitness data all in one place. iOS 8 also includes: predictive typing for Apple’s QuickType keyboard; Family Sharing, a way to share purchases, photos and calendars within the same household; and iCloud Drive, so you can store files and access them from anywhere.
“iOS 8 offers simpler, faster and more intuitive ways to use your device with incredible new features like iCloud Photo Library, a new Messages app, the QuickType keyboard and an entirely new Health app,” says Craig Federighi, Apple’s senior vice president of Software Engineering. “We’re also giving developers amazing new tools to make managing your health and your home from your devices an integrated, simple and secure experience.”
In iOS 8, the Photos app and iCloud Photo Library give you access to all of your photos and videos anytime, anywhere. Your photos are easy to find and are organized consistently across your enabled devices, says Federighi. The Photos app can automatically straighten horizons and with smart editing tools; you can adjust light and color or access individual tools for deeper fine-tuning. With iCloud Photo Library, every adjustment and effect is automatically updated across your devices.
Conversations in Messages are becoming more immersive with the ability to communicate with just a swipe. Tap to Talk allows you to share your voice and the same gesture also works for sharing videos and photos within Messages. Group messaging now gives you the ability to add and remove contacts, leave a conversation and the option to not be disturbed. Users can browse through all of the photos and videos within a conversation and share multiple photos and videos at once. You can choose to share your current location from within Messages for an hour, a day or longer.
The new Health app gathers the information you choose from your various health apps and fitness devices, and provides you with a current overview in one place. iOS 8 offers 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. For example, the Nike+ apps using NikeFuel will be able to pull in other key HealthKit metrics such as sleep and nutrition to build a custom user profile and improve athletic performance.
New predictive typing for Apple’s QuickType keyboard is smarter and more personalized, and intelligently takes context into account, such as who the recipient is and in which app you’re typing, says Federighi. QuickType understands the way you communicate, suggesting favorite phrases, so you can write entire sentences with just a few taps, he adds. However, what the keyboard learns is encrypted on your device and never sent to the cloud.
iOS 8 introduces Family Sharing, making it easier to communicate and share purchases, photos and calendars within the same household. Family members can browse and download each other’s iTunes, iBooks or App Store purchases. Up to six members can participate, each with their own Apple ID.
Parents can create Apple IDs for children, which includes Ask to Buy, requiring parental permission for purchases. Family Sharing automatically keeps everyone connected by creating a shared family photo stream, shared calendar and provides an option for locating family members and their devices, says Federighi.
With iCloud Drive, documents of any type can be stored, accessed and edited across your devices. 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 iCloud. iCloud Drive lets you work on the same file across multiple apps.
Federighi says that, for the enterprise, iOS 8 builds on the new IT model for a mobilized workforce by improving the way users are informed of how their devices are configured, managed or restricted. iOS 8 offers expanded security and management improvements as well as new productivity features, including an expanded level of data protection for key built-in apps, the ability to set your out of office response, see your colleague’s availability when scheduling a meeting and support for configurable Thread Notifications in Mail.
Additional iOS 8 features include:
° Design enhancements that build off the interface of iOS 7, bringing interactive notifications, quick access to key contacts, the ability to quickly switch back and forth between the inbox and drafts in Mail, as well as intelligent suggestions;
° Extended Spotlight capabilities that give you results beyond what’s on your device, including articles from Wikipedia, findings from the news and results from places nearby;
° Greater continuity between the iPhone, iPad and Mac, including Handoff to start an activity on one device and finish on another, along with Instant Hotspot and the ability to make and receive calls and send SMS and MMS messages from your Mac or iPad.
The iOS 8 beta software and SDK are available immediately for iOS Developer Program members at developer.apple.com. iOS 8 will be available this fall as a free software update 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. iCloud Photo Library and iCloud Drive use your iCloud storage with the first 5GB free. Features are subject to change. Some features may not be available in all regions or all languages.