I missed out on iMore's WWDC live blog, so I'm just getting caught up on it all now. As expected, Apple went ahead and announced iOS 8 which promises to bring a ton of changes to the platform for both customers and developers and, like always with Apple, it's being touted as 'the biggest iOS release ever' — but Apple never had time to talk about them all. Only the key features were brought up on stage but thanks to our friends at iMore, we have a list of many of those key features. Let's take a look at what Apple came up with, borrowed and re-invented for iOS 8.
- AirDrop and Handoff tie together sharing between OS X and iOS - AirDrop now works between iOS devices and Macs, letting you send items back and forth between the two platforms. Handoff lets you pick up on one device where you left off on another, like beginning an email on iOS and finishing it on OS X.
This is cool, never understood why AirDrop never worked between iOS and Macs anyway, nice to see Apple actually took it further though.
- iPhone will be able to hand off phone calls and text messages to Mac - As part of Handoff, your phone calls and non-iMessage text messages can come through your Mac running OS X Yosemite.
Apple seems to have trouble with getting iMessages onto my Mac already, now they want to transfer calls and non-iMessage texts? Hope it actually works unlike iMessage half the time.
- Notification Center in iOS 8 offers quick replies, actionable items - Notifications now give you the ability to quick reply and take action, from the lockscreen, from notifications themselves, and inside Notification Center. Notification Center also adds support for widgets from third-party apps.
Sounds a lot like BlackBerry's instant actions and Android's notifications, what took you so long Apple?
- iOS 8 introduces new Spotlight search - Spotlight search is getting a major upgrade in iOS 8. Much like Siri Spotlight will now recommend restaurants, movie theaters, Wikipedia results, and web searches. You can also find items on the iTunes Music and App Stores.
So universal search found on other platforms, alright then. Creative.
- Apple debuts QuickType in iOS 8 keyboard at WWDC - iOS 8 is bringing a number of enhancements to the keyboard, most notably predictive word suggestions based on the context of your conversation. The new QuickType row will appear above the keyboard with its suggested words, letting you tap to place the word in your message. QuickType will support fourteen regions at launch.
We prefer swiping words into place, tapping is for suckers.
- Messages get beefed up on iOS 8 - Messages will receive several enhancements. Swipe can now generate specific actions, individual message threads can be set to Do Not Disturb, and photos can be viewed at a glance on a special page. There's now also support for voice messages.
This is actually a nice enhancement to messages, especially leaving a group and the Do Not Disturb options.
- Family Share for iOS 8 will let you share apps, pictures, and calendars - Family Share lets up to six users easily share calendars, reminders, media, and apps. Find My iPhone can be used with anyone in this group, great for family members that have a habit of losing their devices.
I like this addition, although some of the sharing features are available on BBM Groups and such, Apple took it to the next level especially with the media section.
- Siri features hands-free activation, Shazam integration in iOS 8 - Siri got it's rumored Shazam functionality, along with some useful other features. You can also now activate Siri hands-free when your device is plugged in.
Siri enhancements are welcome, I've been trying to get BlackBerry to implement Soundhound into their media player for months now to no avail. Hands-free stuff, nice but nothing that hasn't been available in Google Now and it doesn't require your device to be plugged in. That seems a bit silly.
- Photos in iOS 8 adds smart suggestions, location matching and new editing tools - Photo tools in iOS 8 are getting major improvements. Your photos will be instantly synced across your iOS devices via iCloud. This syncing includes editing, and you can use new smart controls to edit light, color, and the straightness of a photo. Brightness, contrast, exposure, and shadows will all change together intelligently.
Syncing across iCloud is cool, BlackBerry does need some cloud services in that area. Google has plenty already with the Google+ integration, instant backup and auto-awesome stuff.
- iOS 8 provides support for third-party keyboards - iOS 8 will allow developers to create, and users to install, third-party keyboards system-wide. When installed, these keyboards will be sandboxed, and things like network access will only be unlocked when the user has given their explicit permission.
Nice to see them open this up finally, considering Android has had it forever.
- TestFlight to enable App Store beta testing - Apple will be rolling out the TestFlight beta testing service to developers soon. Apple acquired TestFlight back in February, and has apparently wasted no time in integrating the service into iOS.
So Apple bought their own BlackBerry Beta Zone? Innovative.
- Touch ID authentication coming to third-party apps - Developers will now be able to integrate Touch ID into their apps for authentication.
This was bound to happen eventually, so glad to see it has arrived. I still hate Touch ID but I appear to be in the minority there. Is this something BlackBerry should borrow from Apple?
- iOS 8 adds third-party access to camera data via an API - Developers will be able to access an iOS device's camera at a deeper level with iOS 8. Apps can now handle manual control of exposure, white balance, and more.
The iPhone arguably offers one of the best cameras on mobile devices, so it's nice to see they've opened up the API a bit more for developers.
- HomeKit lets your iPhone phone home - Apple is stepping into home automation, introducing HomeKit to connect to equipment from a number of manufacturers. HomeKit creates a unified interface to control different smart appliances.
With HomeKit Apple enters the home automation sector in a bigger way. iOS apps have helped in the home automation area since things started really heating up, so hopefully BlackBerry will get into this in a bigger way as well though as it stands, they've had some issues thus far as most apps are simply designed for iOS and Android. Maybe Project Ion can help here.
- New Health Services - iOS 8 offers developers the ability for health and fitness apps to communicate with each other. With your permission, each app can use specific information from other apps to provide a more comprehensive way to manage your health and fitness. For example, the Nike+ apps using NikeFuel will be able to pull in other key HealthKit metrics such as sleep and nutrition to build a custom user profile and improve athletic performance.
Another one of those areas where BlackBerry can work harder given most of the fitness stuff is designed again for Android and iOS.
That's honestly just a small sampling of some of the stuff iOS 8 is bringing to the table. Again, Apple only talked about what they consider to be the BIG changes during the keynote and toss the rest on a list and move on. This time around, that list contained over 32 things they didn't care to highlight such as WiFi calling (welcome to 2007), DuckDuckGo support in Safari, Panoramic photos on iPad (Yes, just what the world needs! More idiots using iPads to take photos), 24 new dictation languages, Battery usage by app and more.
Some of the stuff has arguably been lifted from other OS' and while I'm not really in the game of pointing those things out, some of them are pretty obvious and to be fair, it's not surprising. These days everyone borrows a few things from each other and the argument can always be made that Apple is never really first to things, instead they opt to sit back and find out what people did wrong and then improve upon it.
I'm sure the comments section will fill up with anger about this even being posted here but it's good to keep an eye on what Apple is doing, after all no matter how much some folks hate it, they're among the market leaders and what they do is relevant to all of us. So, with that being said, what do you folks think about iOS 8? I know, it's a bit of a silly question but there's some things there I certainly wouldn't mind BlackBerry borrowing because it SURE seems like Apple has ZERO issues with borrowing other people's stuff.
Bonus - A funny video for you to watch, in case I bored you with all the iOS 8 talk.
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