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Apple iOS 8, the biggest update since the App Store roll-out, has arrived: here's all you need to know

Apple’s WWDC 2014 is off to a blazing start with the official introduction of iOS 8, the biggest update to Apple’s mobile operating system since the company launched the App Store in 2008.

Apple’s iOS 8 is indeed a huge update that stands out with being as much about end users, as it is about developers. Ordinary users will notice new features like the new Health hub application, Siri’s expanded functionality, the added support for custom keyboards, for widgets (limited, but still… widgets on iOS!), interactive “actionable” notifications… Developers, on the other hand, will have to master the new Swift coding language, work on embedding TouchID where appropriate, and so much more.

Apple iOS 8: all-around improvements, no changes in looks

Apple’s iOS 8 is all about functionality improvements: starting from the way favorite contact appear subtly, but handily in the multitasking menu, and going through cool new convergence features with the Mac.

Apple adds a sprinkle of coolness with a new camera feature that - we bet - is among the favorites of many camera buffs: you’d be able to shoot time-lapse videos on an iOS 8-enabled device.

Third-party keyboards, and SwiftKey is already hard at work...

How many times have you heard Android converts lavish praise to the endless opportunities of Google's operating system, and one thing in particular - the possibility to install custom replacement keyboards with all varieties of input options?! Not once, or twice, we'd guess. Now, Apple hands you a shield against all such accusations of iOS being limited by introducing official custom third-party keyboard support in iOS 8. SwiftKey, the maker of the extremely popular gesture-enabled keyboard on Android, has already announced it's hard at work, and we can only hope the results appear sooner rather than later.

Health, Siri, Touch ID: Apple is opening up

Apple did not surprise us with the new Health hub and dedicated SDK that allows third-party accessory makers to tap into iOS devices capabilities - after all, we’ve seen it all in rumors before. It all came true to the tee, and so did the rumored Siri polish with new features like the built-in song recognition, powered by Shazam.

One of our favorite iOS 8 features is that Apple also opened up Touch ID to all app developers. Imagine the possibilities - you can have your banking app authorize your payments without the need to type in lengthy and hard-to-remember passwords, and that browser history might finally be totally safe.

Apple iOS 8 release date and compatible devices

Apple’s iOS 8 will arrive to end users this Fall, and that’s when we expect Apple’s new devices (hello, iPhone 6!) to start arriving on store shelves. However, developers can get an early taste of iOS 8 with the betas that start becoming available right away (here's how to get iOS 8 right now). Apple’s iOS 8 is compatible with iPhone 4s and later, iPod touch 5th gen, iPad 2nd and later, as well as the iPad mini and iPad mini with Retina display.


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