iOS 8 is due to arrive this fall for nearly every iOS device currently on the market. It is full of new features designed to cater to every user ranging from a humble elementary school student to a boardroom executive.
This new version takes inspiration from other operating systems and adds the usual Apple flare. Additionally, it expands a concept that it first put into play back in iOS 6.
The integration of services and data between the Mac and iOS devices is swiftly becoming a trademark of the platform. With this new version, this integration goes beyond pictures and documents to include status updates and actual communication.
Here are fifteen features that will be making a splash in the digital community this fall.
Sharing with the Family
One of the great issues with iOS was the simple fact that it was impossible to share applications or media with multiple people. With iOS8, this has changed, allowing up to five different accounts to tie in to the same bank of media.
For lovers of Android, this will be a welcome sight indeed. Apple is expanding the notification system, allowing third party developers to create interactive widgets that will be available in the Notification Center.
Like in Yosemite, the new version of OS X, Spotlight is being expanded to include referencing outside networks, such as Wikipedia.
One of the banes of the modern era is the need to monitor your electronic devices power level. iOS 8 gives you a tool to help control how much electricity your device uses, by showing which apps are causing the greatest drain on your battery.
This will be a joy for users of recent Macs and iOS devices. Start a project in a compatible application, and an icon will appear on the other device. Touch it and then your work, be it a PowerPoint or an email, will show up on the device instantly. This requires devices with Bluetooth 4.0 built in.
Designed specifically for Mac users, you will now be able to send and receive phone calls and texts from your computer, as long as your phone is in range. Think of it as a good way to avoid having to pick up the phone when it is low on power and hooked up to the charger.
Third Party Keyboards
A feature common on Android devices since their inception, you can now utilize third party keyboards in all apps. Thanks to the Apple sandbox, you will not have to worry about any key loggers here, since these keyboards will be monitored by Apple and only hosted on their App Store.
Expansion of iMessage
You can now send audio and video messages seamlessly with iMessage. These are short lived, keeping your conversations secure and limiting the amount of space they take up on both your and your recipient’s devices. Additionally, you can now silence individual conversations if you wish.
Changes in the Weather App
Apple is switching from Yahoo to The Weather Channel for its weather data. While the information will still be the same, since Yahoo gets their data from The Weather Channel, this change does come with a longer forecast.
Siri is now a constant companion, running in the background. To access this service, all you need to do is say, “Hey, Siri.” At that point, it is the same as it was in iOS 7.
Apple is making a bold move into information integration with this version of iOS. The Health App serves as a common point where all of your fitness and health monitoring devices can share data, creating a holistic picture enabling you and your medical team to better grasp what is going on.
This is two solutions in one. The first is that this replaces the old iDrive that was a part of MobileMe. The second is that it enables different apps to share files now, making it possible to seamlessly share a document between Word and Pages on an iPad, for instance.
TouchID now can communicate with your keychain in all apps, helping to make your phone more secure.
New Camera Features
Two new features come to the camera app in iOS 8, a video time lapse mode and a three second timer for the camera. Both are simple enough additions, but add a great deal of value to this built in tool.
iCloud Photo Library
Tying in with the new Photos app that will be released next year, Apple is bringing high quality storage and manipulation technology to all of the photos you take.
Apple has a habit of taking the best of the world, and adding a special dash that drives consumers to it. Over the years, a pattern has emerged from this company. Its goal is to expand the integration of every piece of data that a person possession across all devices, while utilizing a smart mixture of online and offline applications to maximize the convenience and power available to the end users.
If your device is compatible, and most are, then it is a good idea to update as soon as possible. If you do not wish to use the new features, that is just fine, just remember that Apple is stingy on the security updates and that the only way to be secure is to be running the most recent version of iOS possible.