Apple Refines its iPad, iPhone Operating System with iOS 8
June 2, 2014 2:00 PM
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It looks the same, but there are plenty of new features added
Apple is bringing iOS 8 to the forefront today, and it represents significant overall haul feature-wise compared to iOS 7. iOS brings actionable notifications that have already been available in Mavericks. So if you receive a test message or even a Facebook notification, you can swipe down and reply without actually going to the app.
QuickType learns how you type and provides word suggestions as you type (hello, SwiftKey). But the word suggestions are also context sensitive. In the demo, Craig Federighi received an iMessage asking if he wanted to go to a dinner or a movie. The word suggestions automatically had “A movie” and “Dinner” ready as responses to immediately send back.
QuickType in iOS 8
Likewise, word suggestions will adapt to provide quick responses based on how you talk with different contacts. So interacting with a co-worker may shows you more formal language, work-related responses, while interacting with your wife or friend could show more informal suggestions based on past conversations.
Federighi was quick to point out that your privacy is protected with word suggestions and they never leave the device.
As expected, Apple today its Health app. The Health app, used in conjunction with the HealthKit app, can gather information from all of the various fitness- and health-related apps and hardware devices made for iOS and store in a single, centralized location.
Family Sharing allows up to six family members to not only share calendar events and photo streams, but also purchases (books, apps, music). Parents can also be prompted when a child attempts to make a purchase – the parent can then either accept or deny the purchase.
Apple is really opening up iOS 8 to developers with Extensions. Thanks to extensions, third-party developers will now be able to provide widgets in Notification Center (better late then never). Extensions will also allow third-party apps to better communicate with each other (and with first-party Apple apps). That means that you can have also have widgets within Safari for things like word translation, and even third-party keyboards like Swype.
Cloud Drive in iOS 8
Apple is also spreading the wealth with Touch ID, as it is also being opened up to third-party developers.
reported earlier this month
, iOS 8 includes a new developer SDK for home automation. HomeKit will allows iOS users to control locks, lights, cameras, thermostats, and even switches via one single interface. That means, no more separate apps for each device — all of your smart devices will be able to communicate via HomeKit. In addition, Siri integration is included along with the ability to group activities into Scenes.
For example, you can tell Siri “Go to bed,” and all of the locks in your house could be activated, exterior lights could turn off, your garage door would be closed (if it wasn’t already), and your thermostat would be set to your desired temperature).
Apple already has a number of partners onboard with HomeKit, but interestingly Nest Labs (which was
acquired by Google earlier this year
) is nowhere to be seen on the list.
iOS 8 will be available to developers today, and to the general public this fall.
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6/3/2014 5:02:00 AM
Leaving aside the usual dross (‘Android already had - fill in the blank - Apple’s playing catchup again’) what were the big themes that were revealed at WWDC about the direction of Apple’s strategy?
The first is the obvious commitment Apple has to make iOS the best, most powerful and most sophisticated mobile platform. I am not going to argue that Apple have done that (although I think they pretty clearly have) but simple to state that it is clearly their intention. Apple wants iOS to be easier for developers, easier to make money on, easier to get stuff done on, more trustworthy, better for business, etc. The aim, of building a robust all singing, all dancing mobile platform is by it’s very nature accretive, it’s accomplished by a continuous process of small steps and the occasional big jumps. I think yesterday there were lots of small steps but also some big jumps (Metal and Swift obviously but also Homekit and Healthkit). And of course Apple’s trump card in relation mobile platform building is their ability to get people actually using the stuff they build, Android has nothing like the adoption rate that system upgrades on iOS have (iOS 7 is on 90% of iOS devices after less than a year).
The second strategic theme was that with the big new features announced yesterday iOS and OSX now work together even more seamlessly, that a user can move between appropriate devices, a phone, a table, a laptop, a desktop, without any friction, without any interruption of activity, without actually having to do anything to facilitate the movement from one device to another. Features like ‘Continuity’’, iCloud Drive’ and the new iMessage features are big new planks in this framework of seamless connectivity. Apple’s approach contrasts with Microsoft’s initial strategic decision to deal with issue of linking mobile and desktop which was via a single integrated OS, a strategy that I think everybody would agree was flawed.
It will be interesting to see what Apple hardware and devices come later in the year to sit on the software foundations that Apple just revealed.
Walt Mossbergt has a few interesting things to say on all this in an article entitled "What’s Apple Really Up To? Keeping You in Apple World' at the re/code website,
(DTs brain dead anti-spam system won't let me post the link - luckily I didn't want to talk about items worn on feet).
"Spreading the rumors, it's very easy because the people who write about Apple want that story, and you can claim its credible because you spoke to someone at Apple." -- Investment guru Jim Cramer
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