At WWDC2014 today, Apple announced the next version of its mobile operating system, iOS 8. iOS 8 works extremely well in conjunction with OS X 10.10 Yosemite, Apple finally enabling AirDrop transfers between Macs and iOS devices and you can now handle SMS messages ( both iMessages and tradition messages ) and phone calls directly on your Mac. While browsing a webpage, if you see a phone number, you just need to click it and make the phone call directly from your Mac, not even touching your iOS 8 device.
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Just like on OS X 10.10, iCloud Drive file sharing service is also coming to iOS 8.
There’s another thing that Apple finally made available on iOS: widgets. Now, third-party apps are allowed to define interactive widgets in the Notification Center.
Apple has also introduced a new mobile app today, Health, that plugs into Apple’s new HealthKit. Health is a comprehensive health-tracking service that can pull data from third-party fitness apps and can be accessed by healthcare professionals.
Also introduced today, and new in iOS 8, was Family Sharing through which Apple is allowing for the first time sharing of iTunes purchases along with the sharing of calendars, group messages etc.
Notifications can now be handled directly on the lockscreen, Craig Federighi demonstrating on stage how you can accept a calendar invite without having to unlock your phone. You can do the same with third party apps like Facebook, where you can like a status without leaving the home screen.
iOS 8 also brings quick reply for text messages. When a notification for an SMS/iMessage pops-up, you can tap on it to reply without leaving the app you’re currently in. Finally!
Double-tapping the home button will bring up the task switcher, but now it also includes recent contacts.
Spotlight has also been updated, and now allows you to search for apps that are both on your device and ones that you don’t already have. The new spotlight also allows you to search through movies, news, Wikipedia entries and various other sources.
In Messages you can now title your threads, share your location for a defined period of time with the other members of your thread, mute the thread and leave the thread whenever you like. Audio and video messages can also be added to a conversation via a shortcut button in the app so you won’t have to leave to record your message. While the phone is locked and you receive an audio message, in order to listen to it all you have to do is raise your phone to your ear. To reply with an audio message, just raise it again and record your message. When you’re done, the audio message will be sent automatically.
In iOS 8, Apple added QuickType, a predictive keyboard and the option to install third-party keyboards. Finally!
Photos app was also updated in iOS 8, and you’re now able to instantly see and edit images across all devices. Meaning, you can open up a photo taken and initially edited on an iPhone and revert or add to the changes on your iPad.
One of the biggest news with iOS 8 was that, Apple is opening up Touch ID to the developers. So we can now use Touch ID to unlock third-party apps as well as the phone itself. There goes the jailbreaking scene.
Apple is partnering up with smart home services providers to turn your iPhone into a remote control for the home via its new HomeKit.
Just like Google Now, in iOS 8 Siri can be summoned with just a voice command of “Hey Siri”. The voice assistant will also integrate Shazam song recognition, allow you to make iTunes purchases and will include 22 new dictation languages.
Apple also updated the App Store, adding apps previews and allowing users to buy app bundles. Also introduced today was TestFlight, a new developer feature which allows them to recruit beta testers for apps before the final release.
iOS 8 will be available for free this fall and will be compatible with all new devices, the oldest supported devices being the iPhone 4s, fifth-generation iPod Touch and iPad 2.
Developers can get a first beta of iOS 8 today.