June 2nd 2014
By Mike Flaminio
Along with OS X Yosemite, Apple kicked off iOS 8. I might actually be a little more interested in the Mac update, but there are some solid new user-facing features. The most interesting parts of iOS 8 may be new stuff for developers that we'll eventually get to see in our favorite apps.
Feature wise, Apple is giving the keyboard finally some attention. A new QuickType aims to improve typing speed and accuracy using predictive text. It's supposed to be contextual aware, so if you ask someone if they want pizza or pasta for dinner, iOS will be expecting one of those two as an answer. Also it should learn how you talk as you use it. Also there will be support for new system-wide keyboards.
Handoff features with Yosemite are again probably my favorite feature. This will be some pretty powerful stuff. You'll be able to answer/make phone calls on your iPad via your iPhone. Neat.
Messages get some nice controls for multi-thread conversations. You can add/remove people mid thread also a thread-level mute option to stop your phone from blowing up. A new audio and video message option is available. It seems like if someone sends you an audio text while the phone is locked it ail auto play when put up to your hear. Also you should be able to respond similarly. Seems neat. Sort of a middle ground of a nonintrusive text, but personal and detailed message without having to call for voice mail or a conversation.
As mentioned in the OS X update, AirDrop will finally talk to Macs and iCloud Drive looks to get more serious as a real cloud storage solution.
HealthKit got a lot of buzz in rumors leading up to WWDC, but it was kind of understated. Basically it looks to be a central profile for activity and health info. Apple has its own Health app and it will be available to third party developers. I think people are just assuming there's another shoe to drop here with some new Apple hardware.
Family Sharing is nifty. The coolest feature is parents can control purchases by notification/request on their phone. So, if Jr. wants to buy something on his iPod touch, parents will be prompted on their iPhone. Otherwise it looks to basically streamline location and photo sharing between devices. Another nifty feature is multiple iTunes accounts on the same family credit card will be able to share all iTunes purchases.
iPhotos will have a new iCloud storage option. Apple needs to do a lot of work in this area, and now they're providing a way to store all your photos and videos. Of course, you'll have to pay for the iCloud space, but Apple is offering lower rates and new tiers up to 1 TB.
The big cool feature for developers is extensions. This could be big. This will allow apps to plug into OS-level functions. So, like if you want to share something using the iOS share widget, apps can be added there. I'm hoping to see 1Password soon for mobile Safair. Please.
Also TouchID will be expanded to third-party apps. And Apple rolled out support for home automations with HomeKit. Goal in to offer a common network protocol for various devices to be controlled by iOS rather than independent apps. They will also have Siri integration.
So, lots of interesting stuff there. I installed the beta because I'm stupid, so we'll see how that goes. For everyone else, expect to see iOS 8 later this fall.