iOS 8 is now official, marks a decisive step forward towards a more open Apple


San Francisco is on fire, at least as far as the mobile industry is concerned, for the folks behind Apple are at it once again. Just hours ago, the company went ahead with the announcement of the latest major software update of their mobile operating system in iOS 8. Now, quite some new stuff has been added, and we'll have quite some time to talk about these in detail, but for the time being, we'll all have to settle for a quick overview and the promise of a more insightful, in-depth look at the new OS.

The notification bar received quite some love



Building upon iOS 7, which gave us the long-awaited Control Center, the new update will improve on a similar, very essential aspect: notifications. Now, notifications have obviously been around for a while, but new in iOS 8 is the ability to action those right from your notification bar. Put simply, you can swipe down on most any notification (including from third-party apps) and perform an action -- like reply to a text message, or comment/like a new Facebook post. This will also work right from your lockscreen where a simple horizontal swipe will unlock the app-specific options set. 

On an even more exciting note, widgets will also (finally) make an appearance with iOS 8. These won't work quite like on Android, though, and will be limited to the Today tab on the notifications bar and nowhere else. Apple demo'd a few examples, like the ability to watch game scores in real time, or even bid on an item off eBay, again -- in real time.

Multitasking gets a nudge


Another important, and long-requested change are the few enhancements to multitasking. For example, the multitask menu will provide you with a quick access to your recent and favorite contacts, not to mention that these will also be actionable -- you can call, text, or initiate a FaceTime talk from that very menu. 

Another handy addition is multitasking during e-mail composition -- you can now swipe down said message and continue accessing content already in your mailbox, and even add assets from another mail. Just as important, and quite relevant to multitasking, Apple is extending its "continuity" philosophy to its iOS devices. We'll have to wait out and see how far exactly will this continuity go, but so far Apple demo'd the ability to pick up incoming calls to your iPhone right from your iPad, along with messages and email. 

Apple is opening up


Text messaging, and the general typing experience, have also been improved with iOS 8. Looking at the former, additions include the option for group texting -- you can create, name and leave groups at your whim, and the overall feature-set of the enhanced Messaging app is very reminiscent of popular third-party apps like Viber. For example, you can now share your location with the people in your group, send voice and video messages, and even access a centralized gallery of all the images that were sent during the course of a given chat, instead of having to dig through your gallery, or -- worse -- scroll indefinitely. 

Going back to messaging, a very major component of it is accurate typing, which is something of a feat on a small-screened device with a software keyboard. To battle this, Apple's improved QuickType keyboard will offer predictive word suggestions, much alike to the growing crop of currently-available Android custom keyboard apps. Instead of just learning from your typing habits and intelligently providing you with word suggestions, however, QuickType actually analyzes messages sent to you, and adapts accordingly. For example, if you get a text from your wife, asking you to choose between grabbing dinner or going for a movie, the enhanced keyboard will instantly provide you with a quick word suggestions -- "A movie", "Dinner", or "Not sure".

Perhaps as impressively, the QuickType keyboard will analyze previous interactions with your contacts, and change the vocabulary set accordingly. With that in mind, don't be surprised if fancy, formal words are mostly suggested to you when communicating with a coworker, or, the very opposite when having a casual chat with your best mate. 


Not impressed? Then rejoice -- Apple is finally allowing third-party developers to offer their own takes on the keyboard format through the iTunes store, though these won't be as free as on Android, and will be unable to connect to a network to provide extra services. Still, that's a major step forward, and one not typical of Apple.

Speaking of untypical, Apple surprised quite a few people with the changes it is making to TouchID, which is now open to third-party developers for use in their apps. All of that information will again be stored within the A7 chip, and while apps will be able to work with the fingerprint scanner now, they still won't have access to your actual fingerprint.

The new Health app wants you to be well


As expected, Apple is also making a decisive step forward as far as the fitness & wellness tracking category is concerned. Unlike what we expected, however, the hub that will attempt to grab and curate all of relevant information is called just Health, not HealthBook. 

Developed in conjunction with the Mayo Clinic, the app will centralize all of your health and fitness stats from the various third-party wearables (yes, no iWatch just yet), down to procedure info provided by your local physician. Measured stats that we know of so far include heart rate, blood pressure, sleep data, and, of course, calories burnt. Health will store all of that information (including illness progress) over time in order to provide at-a-glance view to your physician, and not just yourself.

Say "Hello, Siri!"


Siri, the personal digital assistant that calls iOS home, has also received some welcome upgrades. Most importantly perhaps, you can now call on it by simply saying "Hello, Siri!", much alike to how Google Now has been working for a while on a few Android devices. 

Apple didn't stop there, though, and Siri's extended feature set includes options like embedded song recognition (developed in partnership with the devs behind the popular Shazam app), make iTunes purchases by simply following your commands, and even control smart-connected parts of your home that have the new HomeKit API on board. Last, but not least, Siri now speaks and understands 22 additional languages, though the Cupertino folk didn't clarify which ones.

Header image courtesy of iMore.com

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67 Comments

1. TheNeighbor

Posts: 370; Member since: Nov 15, 2013

Hehe, right. Just like Android.

2. AfterShock

Posts: 4146; Member since: Nov 02, 2012

But it's worth copying.

7. Finalflash

Posts: 4063; Member since: Jul 23, 2013

Now we wait to see the bugs and security flaws this stuff will introduce. Android went through this phase half a decade ago and has gotten over it. When iOS 7 was released half the bugs centered around using control center to get past the security and this will add to that fire.

11. oldhamletman

Posts: 72; Member since: Sep 03, 2011

all this stuff has been on Windows Phone from the beginning and totally sandboxed, so no security threat

18. Finalflash

Posts: 4063; Member since: Jul 23, 2013

That is just because of the "Mac OSX" effect (I coined that just now). Basically since no one is using that OS no one is trying to find or is able to find the vulnerabilities and essentially they gain the "no virus" status. Not down playing WP, but that is how it works in real life (Apple didn't see the control center bugs in beta either because a small group is still limited).

45. sgodsell

Posts: 7211; Member since: Mar 16, 2013

With WP you only have one keyboard and that is it. You can't even change it on the latest WP8.1.

20. buccob

Posts: 2963; Member since: Jun 19, 2012

So iOS users will soon have their devices making decisions for themselves... and answer accordingly... QuickType... soon QuickThink

12. Sauce unregistered

Just perfected.

32. PapaSmurf

Posts: 10457; Member since: May 14, 2012

Lol I don't think so. I usually agree with you, but damn you're wrong here.

54. darkkjedii

Posts: 30966; Member since: Feb 05, 2011

What's your iOS 8 thoughts Smurf?

58. PapaSmurf

Posts: 10457; Member since: May 14, 2012

Android...

59. sriuslywtf

Posts: 297; Member since: Jul 09, 2013

Well said..

60. T.Law

Posts: 423; Member since: May 10, 2014

LMAO!

62. Arte-8800

Posts: 4562; Member since: Mar 13, 2014

Lmfao to

14. Ashoaib

Posts: 3276; Member since: Nov 15, 2013

So how many features apple copied from android? Wow thats called an innovation...

37. Arte-8800

Posts: 4562; Member since: Mar 13, 2014

What innovation? Apple has never innovated, more like copycats.

63. eldyagustius

Posts: 182; Member since: Oct 30, 2013

installing third party keyboard in android is an usual thing. installing third party keyboard in ios is an extraordinary thing. appreciate it guy! LOL

64. Droidrapist

Posts: 186; Member since: May 28, 2014

LOL your butthurt cracks me up!!

42. wilsong17 unregistered

i love how apple fan be like gs5 is all color but this is not colofour

61. Kjayhawk

Posts: 294; Member since: Oct 07, 2010

Really this update is no greater than the last 6. iOS 7 was just a sucky upgrade that no one liked.

65. Droidrapist

Posts: 186; Member since: May 28, 2014

I love it lol !!!

3. Anshulonweb

Posts: 468; Member since: Feb 07, 2014

worst ios update ever..... no fresh and new features.... it seems like more of ios 7.2 ...

25. shuaibhere

Posts: 1986; Member since: Jul 07, 2012

ios 7.2??? doesn't sound good.. Why can't they name it ios 7s?? Fits perfectly with their name scheme..

40. Arte-8800

Posts: 4562; Member since: Mar 13, 2014

Who cares, let it remain how it is. The good news will be, they will be jumping ships. Apple should've been gone years ago.

4. jb4674

Posts: 145; Member since: Apr 05, 2013

Another useless feature that will suck the battery from the iPhone.

5. The13thKing

Posts: 849; Member since: Feb 26, 2014

lmao. INNOVATION. I just would like to see how many idi0ts would consider this innovation. I spend my day making fun of apple people and I'd have even more fun talking about the INNOVATIONS.

10. givemespecs unregistered

Stop your hating hater

28. The13thKing

Posts: 849; Member since: Feb 26, 2014

lmao hating? h*ll yeah I hate apple. and I feel sorry for c0neheads like you. in ios 7 you could switch off the wifi easily and access the CALCULATOR in a blink. lmao now you can type quicker in messages lmao. #FreakinDinosaurs

34. ArtSim98

Posts: 3535; Member since: Dec 21, 2012

Omg wow. I just gave a +1 to The13thKing's post!

43. Arte-8800

Posts: 4562; Member since: Mar 13, 2014

So did I to.

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