Everything You Need To Know About iOS 8

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The WWDC or World Wide Developer Congress is an annual conference held by Apple to showcase its new software and technologies for developers.

During WWDC 2014, Apple presented iOS 8. The new version of the iOS adds many new features for your iPhone and iPad. Let’s go through them below.

Healthkit

health-kit

Healthkit is a new API that lets developers link apps to a central database that houses your personal health data.

This isn’t just for apps. It also let’s professional medical applications and platforms access that information. For example, say you get a checkup in a hospital and get your bloodwork done. Through the Healthkit API, your iPhone will receive a secure notification with this data. It’s privately stored, and you can share this information with other doctors and hospitals as long as their equipment supports it.

Camera and Photos

cameras-photos

The camera software for iOS is getting a lot of new features as well. Time Lapse photography will now be available for iOS 8. For the developers, a new camera app programming kit will now allow third-party app developers to have a more extensive access the camera hardware. This wasn’t available before, so we hope to see developers take more advantage of the iPhone’s already impressive camera.

The built-in Photos app also now includes new editing capabilities. The features seem similar to the iOS version of iPhoto, only with a simpler interface.

Airdrop

Airdrop now works between iOS devices and Macs. Just drag and drop a file from your Mac to your iPhone or iPad using Wifi.

Handoff

Let’s say you’re working on an email using the Mail app in a Mac and you have to step away from it for a bit. You can now use your iPad or iPhone to pick up where you left off and continue working on it. An icon on the lower left corner of your iOS device’s lock screen will appear. Clicking on that icon will let you continue what you were working on.

Text Message Integration

The iPhone now integrates your text messages with your Mac. The iPhone will relay your text messages, including those sent by non-iOS devices, into iMessages for your Mac. The text messages are synced, and you can send and receive messages from any device – your iPhone or your Mac.

Call Integration

Similar to the Text Message Integration, you can also use your Mac to receive calls from your iPhone, or use your Mac to call through your iPhone.

Notification Improvements

We also get enhancements to notifications. You can now now respond to notifications without leaving your app or having to unlock your phone.

Favorite People

When you double tap the home button, it’s no longer just for multitasking. You can now access your favorite contacts as well. The most contacted people will show up as a line of icons in the top row of the screen. Clicking on a contact will show you the ways you can contact them.

Mail App

The new mail app adds more gesture based actions. Swiping to the left will allow you to delete a flag or reply to a message. Swipe all the way to the left and you can delete a message. It’s a lot like the Mailbox app, which uses similar gestures.

Spotlight

spotlight

Spotlight is now accessible from the lock screen and everywhere else in iOS by swiping down on the the screen. It also now gives you results for items not stored in your device, like news, wikipedia articles, suggested websites, iTunes downloads, etc.

Keyboard Enhancement

keyboard

The keyboard now supports context-sensitive predictive typing. A row of words above the keyboard will now appear, that you can use to make typing a lot faster. You can also now install third party keyboards like Swype, which is a welcome surprise from Apple.

iMessage

text-messaging

iMessage now lets you mute conversations. There’s also the ability to share your location on a conversation by conversation basis, and for limited times. You can also send audio and video messages in iMessages as well. And you can set them to self-destruct like in Snapchat. There’s also the ability to listen to an audio iMessage from the home screen just by putting your phone to your ear. To reply, just speak out your audio message. No need to touch the screen.

Siri

Siri now listens in constantly. You can just say “Hey Siri” and she’ll be there to greet you automatically. No need to touch the home button.

Shazam – the music recognition app – is now integrated with Siri and lets her recognize songs without opening the app. You can also buy a new song from the results.

Extensions

One of the best new features of iOS 8. Developers are now able to use extensions to provide services that other applications can use. An app can now call on other apps to use their features. For example, letting one photo app use another’s filters or editing software. Even Safari can have extensions, letting you, say, integrate Bing Translate within Safari.

All these extensions run, according to Apple, with a lot of security layers so the user is always in control and no software can grab any information without permission.

Widgets

Apps can now offer interactive widgets too. Apps can have widgets added to the notification center where you can interact directly with the apps without having to open them. Pretty handy when you’re playing a mobile slots app that you need to access quickly.

Touch ID

You can now use Touch ID for any app, not just for unlocking your phone. Apps can now use it for authorization. One example would be for using it with a banking app to access your account via your fingerprints.

Apart from the announced features of iOS 8, developers who have downloaded the beta are reporting of other features not covered in WWDC 2014. Here’s a couple of them:

Battery Usage by App

App-specific battery usage can now be tracked. This can be useful when you’re running low on battery, you can now see how much power is being used by any app.

Focus and Exposure in the Camera App

Instead of having to pick one object for your focus and exposure, you can now set them independently. Just pick your where you want the focus, and then slide your finger up and down on the screen to tweak your exposure manually.

According to Apple, iOS is set for release this fall. We’ll probably see the new iPhone or iPad by then as well.

For more info on iOS 8, head over to Apple’s iOS 8 preview site: https://www.apple.com/ios/ios8/

Image Credit: Apple.com, uswitch.com

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