This is HUGE: iOS 8 adds extensions, including 3rd party keyboards, sharing, and widgets

This is HUGE: iOS 8 adds extensions, including 3rd party keyboards, sharing, and widgets
One of the big conversations around a new iOS release is always in regards to what features Apple will "borrow" from competing platforms. The idea is essentially that there are a basic set of features that all mobile platforms should have, but Apple always uses its own timeline in adding those features, meaning Android will likely have it first. Today, Apple announced one of the features that iOS users have long been hoping for: system-wide extensions.

This one is huge, because in one shot it adds a number of features that we've wanted to see in iOS for years, though the implementation is more like Windows Phone than Android. System-wide extensions (Apple uses the term "extensibility", but we'll stick with the more common terminology) in general allow apps to communicate with each other. Apple is doing this its own way by creating "live app sandboxes" to allow this communication, but the end result for users will be great features like being able to share items to any app, and not just those that Apple allows. This means sharing websites directly to Pinterest, or creating a document in Pages that saves directly to Dropbox. It also means that apps can share functionality. For example, you could use VSCO Cam filters directly inside Apple's Photos app, similar to WP's Lens feature. 

Extensions also means that iOS will now have widgets, though probably not in the sense that you would normally imagine. iOS 8 widgets will only live in the Today screen of the Notification Center, and not on the home screen. So, you will be able to add third-party widgets to add info to that Today screen, including those demoed like ESPN SportsCenter, and a live widget from eBay, where you can bid on items directly in the widget. Extensions won't stop there, though, because Safari in iOS 8 will allow for extensions as well. This could mean extensions like any of those you'd find in desktop versions of Chrome or Firefox, but the one that Apple showed off during the demo was an in-line translation extension from Bing. 

And, to top it all off, extensions means that iOS 8 will support third-party keyboards! As we have already covered, the stock keyboard for iOS 8 has gotten some nice improvements, but you'll also be able to ditch that keyboard completely in favor of an option like Swype. By default, the keyboards are not allowed Internet connectivity unless you allow it. 

That is a huge amount of functionality added in one move by Apple. It may not be anything new compared to the competition, but iOS users should be very excited for the iOS 8 update in the fall. 


image source: The Verge

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67 Comments

1. Tsoliades

Posts: 228; Member since: Dec 22, 2012

Welcome to 2009, Apple. Nice to see you.

9. PapaSmurf

Posts: 10457; Member since: May 14, 2012

Give Apple the credit they deserve. Look how far they've come since 2009.

25. hassoups

Posts: 473; Member since: Jun 06, 2013

i can actually take iOS seriously now (maybe).

28. Arte-8800

Posts: 4562; Member since: Mar 13, 2014

O look iOs has widgets know. NinetySix use to say: go play with your widgets. Know look, he will be using and playing with widget. Lmfao What will Apple next copy?

39. apple4never

Posts: 1064; Member since: May 08, 2013

what credit? for ripping off users, its a step in the right direction for sure and i may once again consider apple

44. Astoni

Posts: 649; Member since: Sep 28, 2013

Tbh its great that apple actually implemented these features but i cant really give them credit since they are a Simplified ripoff and will later claim that as their idea and sue other companys for it... that being said i'd really love to take a look at iOS 8 and the upcoming ip6.

10. Finalflash

Posts: 4063; Member since: Jul 23, 2013

Don't be that harsh, I would say some of that stuff might be 2010. I think they've almost caught up to ICS functionality wise, and then took a step back at the developer level.

33. Tom_Gjeka

Posts: 10; Member since: Jun 02, 2014

I remember once i had a galaxy mini and i used swype a lot 4 years later they call swype innovative. Now ios will start to lag due to new features that were optimized on android since 3 years

56. elitewolverine

Posts: 5192; Member since: Oct 28, 2013

optimized for droid? yes the king of known lag on most users systems compared to iOS. I hate ios but do love how easy they are to tech. I love droids, especially since my old Verizon phone sees life. Simple matter though. Being 'early' is not always best.

62. Scott93274

Posts: 6040; Member since: Aug 06, 2013

Being early isn't always best, but being last sucks and it's boring waiting for features other phones have had for half a decade.

40. wilsong17 unregistered

dont worry they going to have a lot of battery drain and lag now that these thing will run on the background with 2 cores.. also app adaption to 5.5 and 4.7 let the fun begin bro

46. Tom_Gjeka

Posts: 10; Member since: Jun 02, 2014

That's the point

47. EndesCot

Posts: 3; Member since: Jun 02, 2014

Because Apple is not being that original doesn't mean you have go creative with that comment! /sarcasm.

49. jroc74

Posts: 6023; Member since: Dec 30, 2010

What I wanna see is all the Apple, iPhone fans that claimed widgets suck....what they think now.

67. Droidrapist

Posts: 186; Member since: May 28, 2014

I think they still suck and good I won't have them on my home screen lol

52. InspectorGadget80 unregistered

Copy patent then sue.

2. Carlitos

Posts: 673; Member since: Oct 23, 2011

Calm down this is not huge. I was honestly excited for this. And I'm just seeing stuff that's been available on Android since its ancient days.

3. shead202

Posts: 52; Member since: Nov 02, 2013

Kit Kat iOS 8

6. PapaSmurf

Posts: 10457; Member since: May 14, 2012

I just lol'd.

20. The13thKing

Posts: 849; Member since: Feb 26, 2014

Kitkat? no man... It's a downgraded Gingerbread version.

53. InspectorGadget80 unregistered

I was bout to say didn't it started on gingerbread or before that? Next thing we see Apple patent then copies using multitask windows.

31. vuyonc

Posts: 1091; Member since: Feb 24, 2014

Cup Cake iOS 8. But progress is progress nonetheless.

36. suavemezie

Posts: 95; Member since: Jun 21, 2012

i will say Kitkat IOS8 with Windows8

4. PapaSmurf

Posts: 10457; Member since: May 14, 2012

I mean this sounds nice and everything, but if the new iPhone doesn't live up to the hype, I won't use iOS 8.

5. Doakie

Posts: 2478; Member since: May 06, 2009

COPYCAT FEATURES!!!

30. Arte-8800

Posts: 4562; Member since: Mar 13, 2014

Copycat copycats Apple sitting on the doormat.

45. tacarat

Posts: 854; Member since: Apr 22, 2013

Thank goodness the icons had rounded corners. I thought they were starting to make Android phones! Poor Steve. He must be iHaunting Cupertino pretty harshly right now.

7. CX3NT3_713

Posts: 2361; Member since: Apr 18, 2011

LOLOLOL @this is huge

8. ama3654

Posts: 295; Member since: Nov 27, 2012

iOS8 Gingerbread, welcome to 2011 iDevices users.

18. sip1995

Posts: 1771; Member since: Feb 07, 2014

Kit kat 4.4 and Windows Phone 8.1 are better than the "NEW" ios 8.

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