Apple has pulled the covers off this year’s major OS update for iOS at WWDC 2014 with the new iOS 8.
The new update brings dozens incremental, as well as several features build from the ground up.
Apple has announced that the number of iOS users has reached 800 million, with 130 million of those getting pulled in just last year. IPhone sales have reached 500 million overall, with the iPad and iPod Touch touching 200 and 100 million figures respectively.
We couldn’t be happier with the momentum of iOS.
Tim Cook also bragged about an industry-leading 97% satisfaction rate for iOS, as well as an 89% conversion rate to iOS 7, compared to just 9% on KitKat. 99% of malware is also found on Android, Apple maintained.
Number of titles in the App Store has reached 1.2 million while total downloads have now passed 75 billion.
On to the features now and the new iOS 8 comes with new interactive notifications, meaning that you’ll be able to carry out an action as soon as you receive an alert, straight from the task bar.
For instance, upon receiving a text message, you’ll be able to reply straight from the task bar, while in case of a Facebook notification, you’ll be able to like or comment on the new post instantly. This feature works from the lock screen too.
Apple’s much despised keyboard has also seen a new predictive text input with the new QuickType feature. The system keeps learning all time and also suggests appropriate, contextual replies based on the given scenario.
Finally, you also get the choice of installing a third-party keyboard. Steve would not have allowed that though.
Handoff is the successor to the AirDrop feature on iOS, which allows you to control your iPhone via your MacBook but with greater control now, as well as the usual real-time editing.
You’ll get call notifications on you Mac, as well as the ability to type text messages or even receive phone calls. The new features are to be found as a part of OS X Yosemite, which will be made available this fall.
Siri can now start up just by calling “Hey Siri”. (Google would like to have a word here.) It also comes with Shazam Integration, allowing you to get the name of the song playing in your background faster than ever. We understand that a lot of you secretly wanted that.
iOS 8 has finally seen the inclusion of the much-awaited Health and Fitness app, Health. The app monitors a large number of metrics, either it be your workout habits or sleep. It already has partners such as Nike who monitor and put all of your data in one place.
The integrated M7 chip in the iPhone 5S helps in the collection of all this data. Apple has also partnered with a few hospitals to provide doctors with all the detailed reports they need of their patients.
We’re also seeing the inclusion of a central framework for a smart and connected home. The company has worked with a wide range of companies on this service.
Firstly, HomeKit will allow users to control their appliances, light bulbs and the lot using their iPhones. Secondly, they’ll also be able to get better security, with the ability to lock or unlock using your iOS device. The system will allow you to group your devices, meaning that a single command will allow you to dim the lights of a single floor of your home, and more.
iCloud Drive is Apple’s answer to DropBox and the lot. And it’s a lot more sophisticated. Starting with the usual stuff, the you’ll be able to start PDFs, spreadsheets etc. on a single device and continue them on the other seamlessly, without the need to stop.
Apps are also more intelligent due to this constant syncing. Since apps also share their data with the other apps on your iOS device, you can start your work through a single app and carry from the other with no hassle whatsoever.
The new photo app allows you to make changes to a single image across all your devices. For instance, you can edit an image on your iPad and get the final version across all your devices.
Double-tapping on the home button also brings up your recent contacts now in the form of small circles at the top of the screen. Widgets are also making an entrance, though they’ll still be seen only on the notification center and not on the homescreen.
TouchID, Apple’s famed fingerprint scanner, will finally be available to third-party apps. A new feature, Family Sharing, will allow six members of a family to share their iTunes purchases. They’ll have to use a single credit card for this to work.
Email client is updated and made faster, having got the ability to dismiss unimportant emails with a swipe. Spotlight is also given a boost, and is much more functional and deeper than before.
Lastly, there is a lot more potential for app developers to show their spark in iOS 8. The new OS version doesn’t only give them much more control and penetrating power, with features like SceneKit, SpriteKit and Metal (which brings a 10x performance boost) they’ll be able to further fill the void between console gaming and mobile applications. An example of this was shown in a breathtaking demo by Epic Games.
iOS 8 will be available in a wide range of devices, starting from the iPad 2, iPad Mini and the iPhone 4S to the latest iPhone 5s and the iPad Air. As usual, it will hit devices this fall.
While its true that for the most part, Apple has tried to catch up with the competition, users most-probably will welcome these changes.