WWDC Keynote Roundup Part 2: iOS 8

We are rounding up WWDC on a platform wise basis, telling you which of our predictions (and rumours) came out to be true. So, this will be a three-part series: Mac OS X, iOS, Developers’ stuff.

The day before yesterday morning (or night if you are on this side of the globe) Apple kicked off its WWDC 2014 event with its keynote.

Along side OS X Yosemite, Apple also announced an update to its mobile operating system , the iOS 8.

This was again started off by a few facts from Tim Cook and was then handled by Apple SVP Craig Federighi, just like he did it for OS X Yosemite.

Apple has sold about 800 million iOS devices last year. According to Tim Cook, iOS 7 has the highest overall satisfaction of 97% of its user base.

Also, he compared the installed user base of iOS 7 with Android’s latest version KitKat (below).

Screen Shot 2014-06-02 at 11.18.46 PM

 

He even quoted Adrian Kingsley-Hughes of ZDNet:

Android fragmentation is turning devices into a toxic hell stew of vulnerabilities.

After this he handed the presentation clicker (baton) back to Apple’s SVP of Software Engineering, Craig Federighi for explaining all the new features of iOS 8.

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First up , there’s Interactive Notification, the same kind which appeared in OS X Mavericks last year. You can respond directly to messages from the Notifications View and lock screen, no longer forced to go into the full Messages app. This useful functionality expands beyond Apple’s own apps, letting you “Like” Facebook posts or bid on eBay items directly from Notifications and the lock screen, as well.

ios-notification-widgets

Notification Center has also been updated with Widgets like weather,etc.. Third parties will also be able to install widgets such as sports scores or eBay auction updates, giving you the opportunity to interact with these widgets without launching the full apps. As visible above, the “Missed” tab within the Notification Center has also been removed in iOS 8.

The App Switcher/ multi-tasking interface has also been updated to feature listing both recent contacts and favourite contacts, making it easier to initiate a phone or FaceTime call.

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You can also, now, leave and/or rename Group Conversations. Another new mode in Messages, “Do Not Disturb,” lets users mute group conversations whenever necessary. You can also share your Location for a specific period of time via a new “Send My Current Location” button, and a new attachments section displays all of the photos and videos that have been exchanged in a specific group conversation.

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Recorded Audio/Video can now be sent, via a microphone button, in the app. It’s also now possible to send multiple photos or videos in a single message instead of creating a separate message for each photo.

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Described as Apple’s “smartest keyboard ever,” QuickType has been designed to offer word suggestions while typing. As a user is typing, the keyboard will provide words and phrases that a user based on the context of the text you or your contacts just wrote, as well as on your full typing history, even taking into account the different writing styles a person might use in different apps like Mail and Messages.This new feature can even answer questions for you. Apple says it does this by “learning” your typing habits and does so while respecting your privacy.

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Also, finally bowing to years of requests, Apple now lets you install and use third-party keyboards by default across your iOS devices. This will give users systemwide access to popular keyboards like Swipe and Fleksy.

Just like in OS X Yosemite, Spotlight’s search powers have been drastically expanded beyond the apps and contacts you already have on your iOS device. It will now show you everything from movies and songs available on iTunes (with corresponding ratings), to movie showtimes at nearby theaters, to Wikipedia articles and Maps entries.

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iOS 8 includes HealthKit, an app for tracking personal health and fitness data. HealthKit provides an easy-to-access hub where iPhone owners can monitor important health metrics on a daily basis, and also step back to examine their fitness trends over a longer period of time. HealthKit will integrate with third-party apps and institutions including Nike and the Mayo Clinic.

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Apple has also introduced a new “Health” app, which functions as a dashboard that aggregates data collected from various health and fitness apps.

Like Yosemite, iCloud Drive is fully integrated into iOS 8, allowing you to open documents from one app inside another compatible app. You’ll also be able to access files from your Mac that have been saved and synced through iCloud.

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Apple is finally “trying to free your photos from their silos inside each device you own.” The new Photos app in iOS 8 lets you view and edit images across your various iPhones and iPads, preserving the latest edits from one device to the other. The photos are stored in your iCloud account, and Apple gives you 5 GB free of charge to start. But beyond that, you will have to subscribe for access: 20 GB for 99 cents per month, 200 GB for $3.99 per month. Apple said it would provide up to a terabyte of storage at a higher cost. Unfortunately, the same functionality won’t make its way to the desktop until at least 2015.

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Apple has also implemented smarter search within the Photos app, making it easier to search through thousands of photos. Searches can be conducted via date, time, location, or album name, with smart suggestions for Nearby, One Year Ago, Favorites, and more.

Family Sharing is a new feature that will allow up to six members of a family share iTunes purchases, across devices, as long as each account is linked to the same credit card. This new feature also enables the sharing of calendars, reminders, photos, and Find My Friends locations across devices. Also, it lets parents approve or deny purchases made on their childrens’ iDevices, making it more difficult for them to run up large bills from in-app purchases.

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Siri has been supercharged officially by adding the ability to go hands-free i.e it can now be activated with the voice command “Hey Siri,” just like the “OK, Google” command on Android. It is also integrated with Shazam allowing it to identify any song playing nearby. It also supports streaming voice recognition, is able to purchase iTunes content, and features 22 new dictation languages. Another feature is the introduction of HomeKit (discussed in the upcoming Part 3 of the Roundup) into Siri allowing it to turn up your thermostat or dim your lights.

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And that’s it for iOS 8 in the WWDC Roundup.

 


Also, Check out WWDC Keynote Roundup Part 1: Mac OS X 10.10 “Yosemite”

Tell us which feature do you like the most in iOS 8 and are looking forward to!

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Shaminder Pal Singh

I am a student by day and tech blogger by night. I try to bring to the public the latest and greatest news from the tech world!

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