If you are a true Apple fan you will probably have read pages upon pages of information about the new iOS 8 already, so instead I’ve tried to keep this short and sweet; a quick guide to the new iOS 8 for those that are curious but limited on time.
Design and compatibility
First of all, this is not a redesigned iOS version, so if you are currently running iOS 7 the overall look and feel will be the same. The new iOS 8 supports all current version of iOS devices on the market, including the iPad 2.
Continuity between all Apple devices
This is probably the biggest update of them all in iOS 8, a feature that allows a lot of different functions on your iOS device and your OS X device to be synced with eachother, giving you the ability to switch working between devices fluently. All you have to do to get continuity working is to pair up the devices and the compatible apps can transfer actions between them.
Some of the apps that will support continuity includes email, imessage, pages and more. You can even access iPhone features such as placing and answering calls using facetime, as well as sending text messages from the messages app on your OS X macbook, a feature that previously only covered iMessages.
This also means that AirDrop now works seamlessly between iOS 8 and OS X devices.
iOS 8 cares about your health
Apple’s all new Health app is built to pull together all health related data from a wide range of other health apps and accessories that sync up with your iOS device to give you data on your training habits, heartrate etc. such as the Nike+ and NikeFuel apps.
Data can be attributed across 7 major categories, including Fitness, Diagnostics, Medication, Nutrition, Sleep and more. Some data can be also be manually added to improve the accuracy of the Health app and to act as a Medical ID so to speak.
While Apple has not announced any health related accessories themselves yet, there are plenty of third party health accessories to choose from. It is however widely expected that Apple will be releasing some advanced medical/health related accessories in the near future. It’s also likely that Apple will tie in with medical professionals to allow data from the Health app to be shared with your GP should you so choose, or even allow you to share specific aspects of information with your personal trainer etc.
Share your media and app store content
There are many Apple families out there, and until now there’s been no easy way to share iTunes media and App Store content between those devices that have separate Apple iDs. Family sharing now means that up to 6 Apple iDs can share the content, making things like songs, movies, photos, calendars shareable from a ‘primary’ account.
Setting up family sharing is done by one person setting up sharing and inviting the others in. This also means that all new purchases are made from the primary account and its associated payment method. This is clearly meant for families, hence Apple has made it so connected Apple iDs of people under the age of 19 automatically require approval from the primary account holder/adult. This is done through push messaging.
Setting up the Family Sharing functionality might seem like a great idea to share media content, but bear in mind that it also results in a single shared calendar and a single family photo stream, so be careful what photos you take!
Apple has expanded the iCloud storage functionality with iOS 8 and OS X, now allowing you to store pretty much any file type in the iCloud, and easily access it again from your Apple device. This is seen as Apple’s way of competing with popular services such as Google Drive and Dropbox, while keeping it very Apple-centric of course.
Camera gets Time Lapse video
Apple has updated the camera app in iOS 8 as well, which is always a popular feature, adding Time Lapse video capabilities. For those not familiar with time lapse video, its a feature that allows you to shoot a sequence of photos over time which is then stitched together to form a video.
Other improvements to camera app includes a self-time feature for 3 or 10 seconds delay, and panoramic support for at least some iPad models.
Home automation with HomeKit
Homekit, the new single app home automation system from Apple is what the health app is to monitoring your health. Once again it allows for control of other third party home automation devices to be controlled from a single app, even potentially using Siri to give it commands.
Depending on what compatible automation devices you have at home, you could in the future ask Siri to dim the lights, turn off the heating, lock the doors, and set the timer on your coffee machine for your morning coffee. Exciting times ahead.
It looks like AirPlay will be going P2P with iOS 8, which means you no longer need to have both AirPlay devices connected to the same network to have them communicate with each other. This is great news for the many AirPlay fans out there, and will hopefully bring us a wider range of AirPlay based streaming devices.
With iOS 8 connected AirPlay speakers etc. will also be able to access your devices media playback to look at information such as what song is coming up next, skipping to a specific point in a song, and “Play all tracks”.
Also read! Latest and best AirPlay speakers
Keyboards and accessabilty
iOS 8 brings improvements, such as the ability for third party developers to develop new keyboard options to be used as default keyboard across the device. From an accessibility view they have also added support for six-dot braille keyboards and improved zoom functionality with up to 15X zoom.
More messages functionality
From the messages app on iOS 8 you can now send voice recordings using the microphone icon, and you can also use the camera icon to record and send video messages.
Want to see what attachments a specific contact has sent you? This can now be done by tapping on ‘details’ for the contact.
There’s also improved functionality for adding people to group conversations.
We will continue to update this guide with the latest information and features from iOS 8. It’s currently available in beta for developers and will become available for all later in the year.