Apple announces iOS 8: features refined design, Health, third-party widgets and more…

Apple has announced its brand new mobile operating system, iOS 8 at WWDC 14!


With 130 new million customers joining iOS in the last year, 89% are now currently running iOS 7! Furthermore, 50% of new Chinese customers switched over from Android in the past year, with only 9% of all Android customers currently running its latest software. Tim Cook was happy to tear into Android, which now controls 99% of the mobile malware market. Nevertheless, iOS 8 is upon us!

iOS 8 builds on the design of iOS 7, with some great enhancements for both devices. Notifications centre has been refined, and there are new interactive notifications, with quick reply available for loads of your notifications, either in the drop down bar on your screen, or in your lock screen.

Apple’s double-tap feature for multitasking also takes you to your most frequented contacts, as well as your open apps. Safari has some great new features, such as a new tab overview and a sidebar, reminiscent of OS X Yosemite.

Mail has some awesome new features, such as some new control gestures. Composing messages can now be put on hold, swiping down to allow access to the rest of your mail, without interrupting your composition. WWDC demos showed off  the brand new quick reply, which works for Facebook and other third party apps, allowing you to Like and Comment on Facebook notifications simply by swiping down on your notifications drop down. Mail also works better with Calendar, which can be used inside Mail to update your schedule without leaving the Mail. Gestures allow quick flagging of messages, and even quicker deleting. All in all, these initial refinements look like a great start to updating iOS.

Spotlight on iOS has also been updated, making suggestions, showing points of interest, directions, news and different apps, songs, nearby movies and content that can be purchased and stream, again reminiscent of OS X Yosemite.

Composing messages and typing is now improved with Quicktype, which has an improved recommendation engine that claims to be context-sensitive, gone are the days of telling trespassers to “Get the duck off your lawn”. Quicktype makes suggestions based on how you normally speak with a particular person, perhaps making distinctions between more professional and more casual messages, learned behaviour is stored on your device to protect your privacy. Group messaging has also been updated, allowing you to name threads, adding and removing people. You can also set Do not disturb options on a thread-to-thread basis, with access to all the media shared in that thread available in one place.  There’s also an iMessage tap-to-talk feature, which allows you to send voice and video messages directly from messages to a recipient.

iOS has a couple of great features to make using your Mac and your iDevices even smoother. For example, if you edit a Keynote on your Mac, and then bring your iPad into proximity with your Mac, you can simply swipe upwards to continue to working on that Keynote using your iPad. Likewise, typing an email on your phone, you can continue that email on your Mac seamlessly. Macs can also use your iOS device to create an instant hotspot. You can also answer phone calls on your iPad or your iPhone, and you can even see SMS messages on your Mac or your iPad. For more information on Apple’s continuity feature, check out Mallorie’s piece here!

Now to Health. Apple’s brand new Health app brings revolutionary health monitoring. It features sleep tracking, calorie monitoring and great integration with third party apps and health care. Apple’s developer tools, Healthkit, can be integrated with all manner of third part apps, such as Nike and the Mayo Clinic. The latter allows users to upload patient data to an app, so that doctors can get real-time patient information from patients, providing more timely care on the go.

Apple’s new Family Sharing allows you to share all of your Apple purchases with up to 6 family members (on one credit card), as well as your calendar dates and more. This also includes notifications for parents when children try to make purchases on the App Store, so no more unwanted Plants vs Zombies bills.

There’s improvements to be found in iPhotos, which syncs all of your photos across all of your devices, with full access across iOS. Now, your device can access more storage space in the cloud than is available on your device. There’s also some new sorting features, and a search feature to help you find the photos you want with ease. There’s new smart editing controls for light, color and auto-straightening, which should make basic photo editing and management a whole lot simpler. Demos of Apple’s new photo editing showed off some impressive awareness and analysis to make some great changes to shots with real ease.

Changes have been made to Siri, which will respond to your voice whilst plugged into a car, and brand new Shazam song recognition built into Siri, which will recognise songs and offer purchases options within Siri!

Finally, we have third-party widgets! This allows you to place Widgets from all your favourite apps inside your notifications centre, with hundreds of possibilities, including eBay bidding inside of your notifications centre! There are also some new Safari extensions, such as Bing translation, this will allow users to install Safari extensions on iOS, enhancing their browsing experience.

iOS 8 also supports third-party keyboards, so finally, Swype and friends will be available on iOS!

iOS 8 will be available for Beta testing today, and for consumer release in the fall!







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  • De’Marcus Kourage Winbush

    Is it just me or is ios 8 a joke?! I’m not excited at all. Show me the devices! None. Not a single Mac or even a new Apple TV. Apple is losing and Samsung wiped a little sweat from their forehead. iPhone 6 better be great or Apple will lose us iPhone users.

    • Anthony

      Do you even understand what WWDC stands for? It’s not a hardware event, it’s a software event! And apple has made some HUGE software leaps that will drag people into the apple ecosystem even harder then before.

      • De’Marcus Kourage Winbush

        Previous iPhones were announced in the past and devices were talked about. I understand the software but IOS 8 is not impressive. They could have did something better with notification center and multitasking is not even improved. I would be lying to myself if I said I was happy about ios 8.

        • David Jacobs

          What more do you want?

        • donnybee

          In the past, and we’re talking a few years ago, devices were announced. They’ve made the change to a separate hardware announcement further along in the year.

          What would you like to see from notification center? You also have to remember that we haven’t seen all the fine changes they’ve made to iOS 8.. But for starters, we’ve got easy access to respond to messages and events. Pretty much any notification for that matter. So no need to open apps to directly interact with updates. Also, we now have widgets. That increases the use of the notification center ten-fold because now you don’t need to visit separate apps to look up the most important things. What else can be done with a notification center?

          And remember that both of those developments play a huge part in multitasking. Plus, don’t forget all the new extensions. You can interact with apps during different tasks like filtering your photos.. no need to keep switching apps. The possibilities are endless here. I’m sure the only thing you’re referring to is the lack of support to split the screen like on Samsung devices. But you also have to remember why they need to let you do that on Samsung devices.. It’s because you don’t have in depth communication from app to app like the new iOS will have. The future won’t be like the PC days of standalone apps and lots of windows open. Things can be done much more efficiently and it’s time for Apple to change the market again.

          Your vague complaints aren’t saying where Apple has dropped the ball in your court. Apple is doing stuff no other platform is doing.

    • donnybee

      So, you watched an event that you know nothing about apparently. This isn’t when they showcase new hardware. It’s for developers.

      See, Apple actually cares about developers. That’s why they’ve had a conference JUST for them. The fun doesn’t stop there, this is just the beginning. Hardware is later in the year. But this new software is going to destroy any reasonable doubt as to why iOS devices are the ones to own. I suggest you rewatch the conference and read up on the purpose of the conference.. Then tell me what Android is doing to support developers and solidify their place in this market, other than to just take up space.

      • De’Marcus Kourage Winbush

        They really went quickly through the presentation. I will watch it again but hopefully it will help with whatever Apple is “hiding” for the fall.

      • Bill Thomas

        i agree i didnt think iOS 8 would be that good but i was blown away today with that Apple has in store for us this fall and its going to do very well like it always does and android has to be sweating a little… i guess my big question is how how the widgets is going to affect the battery life on the iPhone on android it ate my battery up and will the widgets just be on the notification center or will they also be on the lock screen?

        • donnybee

          That’s a good question! I don’t think they’ll be on the lock screen because it would be so cluttered and it’s nice to just see your new notifications there. BUT, remember that you can access your notification center in the lock screen. And it’s on the “Today” view. So if you’re like me, and you only allow the “Today” view to show up when the phone is locked, you can still see your widgets.

    • Stephen Warwick

      Apple has never announced an iOS product at WWDC, this is a software event for developers. At best, Apple has given us an updated Macbook, no one was expecting any hardware today. Personally, I think iOS 8 is a great update, brand new coding language and graphics capabilities mean that future iOS gaming and video rendering will be on par with the last generation of consoles, arguably better.

      • Gnashy

        False. Apple announced iOS products at WWDC in the past (iPhone 4 at 2010 WWDC).

        • De’Marcus Kourage Winbush

          This is what I was referring to but that was because Jobs was still alive. Tim Cook made the iPhone 4s announcement in September 2011.

  • Jubilian

    I could see in the photo that says a call can be answered via Mac or iPad, the full screen caller ID is shown. Is that feature coming back too?

  • Guest

    Here is the pic

  • David Jacobs

    Got to admit though,it was disappointing that there was no surprise hardware announced.

  • james braselton

    hi there yeah widgets in ios 8