Although Apple failed to announce any new hardware at WWDC14 on Monday, the announcement of iOS 8 was definitely a notable part of the event. As an operating system (OS) that is the successor to the largest overhaul iOS has ever seen – iOS 7 – there were questions as to where the improvements would be found. However, Apple still managed to find a way to blow away the audience and prove why Steve Jobs always described Apple products and services as “it just works”.
Beginning with the lock screen: all notifications, whether it be messages, events, social networking and more, now have the ability to be attended to directly in the lock screen. This carries over to the Notification Centre, giving users the ability to respond to messages or any notifications immediately and without leaving the app that they are in at that moment.
Since one of the most used parts of your phone is your keyboard, Apple have given users the chance to take advantage of their newly added “predictive text,” making typing significant easier. But, taking it a step further, your predictive text will vary in the words you use when moving between different people and different apps. Basically, your predictive text used when liaising with your boss is significantly more formal than the predictive text to your best friend. Thanks for that, Apple. With regard to the keyboard – Android users, listen up. Third-party keyboards will now be allowed use across the entire iOS 8 platform. Meaning, keyboards with the likes of SwiftKey and Swype will be taking advantage of this exciting new opportunity from Apple.
Another interesting feature is one where if you don’t want to be distracted by the groups in certain apps you can apply a “Do Not Disturb” on to those groups- essentially silencing the group for how ever long you would like. More features like location share and voice and video notes have been added for you to send messages without necessarily typing.
A neat feature which Apple didn’t have time to mention is the extended settings in “accessibility” allowing users to greyscale their phone’s entire user interface. Then, improvements on the “Zoom” setting allows users to adjust the magnification and size of the magnified area on their screen, something that allows a bit more customisation.
Cool additions to the camera app include”time-lapse” where a video can be recorded but will be played back at a faster rate than what it was recorded at. The ability to adjust the exposure levels from directly inside the camera app after choosing a point of focus is an added bonus. Also, don’t forget the 1, 3 and 10 second timer that is also included in the app.
Apps that I have not had the opportunity of checking out as of yet are the Notification Centre widgets, as no third-party apps have been built to support it. Apple’s long-awaited “HealthKit” seems promising but we don’t quite have the ability to use it yet.
Of course, there are some new features that have been overlooked but I believe the main features of iOS 8 are very impressive and most certainly a step in the right direction. I must say, being an owner of the iPhone 5, the performance of iOS 7 – all the way up to iOS 7.1.1 – was very average with constant lagging and freezing. iOS 8 beta 1 is already faster than iOS 7 ever was, which is great to see.