Apple unveils iOS 8

ios-8-logoYesterday Apple unveiled iOS 8 at its annual Worldwide Developers Conference and was described by Tim Cook as “a giant release”.

The new software, which will be available for iPhone and iPad later in the year, includes many new features and notable improvements. Here’s a summary of the best…

Interactive notifications

With iOS 8 you’ll be able to respond to a notification without exiting the app you’re in when you receive it. If your device is locked when the notification appears, you won’t even have to unlock it to process it.

iMessage

Apple has improved its messaging service in an effort to keep up with rival WhatsApp. New features include the ability to send voice and video clips, easily create and modify group messages, and send and receive text messages across all Apple devices. Another feature, reminiscent of another rival service, Snapchat, allows you to send a voice or video clip that will self destruct at a time of your choosing.

iCloud Drive

Apple takes on Dropbox and Google Drive with iCloud Drive, which allows users to save any type of file on its remote servers and access them through any iOS device, Mac or PC. The service is free up to 5GB, which is more than Dropbox’s 2GB limit, but less than Google Drive’s allowance of 15GB. Users are also able to send email attachments of up to 5GB. It also has new simpler photo editing tools.

Siri

Improvements to Siri include Shazam song recognition and a “Hey, Siri” command, similar to “Ok Google”, which activates it whenever you’re within earshot.

Email

A range of new features in iOS mail will make it much easier to use. One major improvement is the ability to swipe down an email mid-draft to allow you to consult other content on your device and swipe it up again when you’re ready to continue.

Predictive typing

iOS 8 will include a sophisticated version of predictive typing that is context aware.

Continuity

This great new feature integrates all your Apple devices so that tasks that have been started on one device can be continued on another.

Family sharing

iOS 8 now makes it possible for up to six family members to share the same iTunes account and you can even set it up to ensure that the main account holder is asked permission before any purchases are made.

Health

Apple introduced new software called HealthKit that works with third party wearable health devices, such as Fuelbands, to share health data with your iOS device via the Health app. The app will even contact your hospital directly if it notices irregularities.

HomeKit

HomeKit is a new hub from which users can control all of their smart home equipment. The idea is to integrate them all so that a simple Siri command such as “ready for bed” would turn off lights, heating and TV, and set your alarm.

Over to you…

What are your first impressions of iOS 8?

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