Mobile Technology

iOS8 – What’s new and what do our developers think?

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iOS7 brought with it a complete design overhaul and interface revamp that arguably was the most drastic update iOS has seen. By comparison at first glance, iOS8 may not seem all that different. So what does iOS8 entail? Read our blog to find out about some of the new features and what our developers think!

New home screen apps

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Perhaps the most obvious update is the addition of several new home screen apps. The most notable of which is the integrated ‘Health’ app. Unveiled at the WWDC in June the HealthKit app allows the integration of data from all your other health related apps on your phone. Therefore your calorie counter, run tracker and blood pressure apps will all feed their stats into the one central clearinghouse for fitness data. Another addition to this, which has been claimed to ‘maybe one day save your life’, is the use of the medical ID. The medical ID will display vital data such as allergies and blood type on your lock screen in case of emergencies. However, ironically the new Health Care app has been pronounced dead on arrival. Due to a major bug in the update, the highly anticipated app isn’t yet in working order and as such, is lying dormant on iPhones the world over.  Spokespersons from Apple have announced that they are working hard to ensure the HealthKit will be fully operational as soon as possible.

Other applications include apple’s own ‘Podcasts’ and ‘iBooks’, which are not new as such, but have been given an upgrade from optional download from the App Store to obligatory. There is also a new ‘Tips’ app, which, as the name suggests, compiles tips and tricks for using apple software.

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“I think it will only really be useful when the iWatch comes out. I’ll really look forward to seeing HealthKit in action then.” – Danielle 

Improved Features

As you would expect apple has enhanced certain elements of existing functions. These updates include alterations to messages, photos, spotlight and siri for example.

Perhaps the improvement that you’ll notice first are the alterations to messages. You’ll notice that autocorrect is no more, rendering funny autocorrect mistakes a thing of the past! Instead apple has introduced QuickType. QuickType presents the words it thinks you’re looking for. As you type, words will appear in the bar above your keyboard which you can then choose from. Once you have hit it, QuickType starts to predict what your next word would be. But that’s not all! QuickType is smart and not only begins to learn your vocabulary and what words you regularly use, but will differentiate between you talking to a friend or a work colleague, suggesting slang words appropriately.

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Rather than auto-correct, QuickType presents contextual predictions. As you type, words populate the bar above the keyboard based on what QuickType thinks you’ll want to enter next. See the one you want, hit it, the word is entered, and QuickType starts trying to predict the next one.

Large improvements have also been made to email, messages, calendar, photo library, the App Store, Spotlight and even Siri (who can now identify songs through Shazam and when plugged in will respond to voice commands).

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 “Swiftkey is great. I love the multi keyboard feature.” – Danielle

Working Together – Continuity

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Perhaps the overarching theme to many of these improvements is the emphasis on things working together. Most people own more than one Apple product and Apple thinks that moving from one device to another should be seamless and non interruptive to workflow. Rather, it should improve.

As a result Apple have introduced the continuity feature. The idea being that you can start an email on your Macbook and finish it via your iPhone as you leave the room. You can hear your iPhone buzz in the next room and reply to the message immediately via your iPad.

Unfortunately we’re waiting on OXS Yosemite update (which is still in beta) for Mac before we can see any of these features. But look out for our blog on Apple Continuity coming soon once it is released.

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“The fact that I can now reply to green bubble people via my laptop is really useful as it means I don’t then have to leave my laptop to get my phone.” – Danielle

Conclusion

This an extremely brief eye over the features of iOS8, but even with it’s brevity it’s clear that Apple have achieved a lot with this update. As with anything new and cutting edge – yes there are issues. There have been reports of battery drainage and lockscreen freezes. 8.0.1 was withdrawn just a week after the release of iOS8.

However with last years update transforming the look of iOS, this years is very much about whats going on under the bonnet. The two together result in a exciting leap forward.