Now that iOS 8 has been introduced and is in the hands of developers, let’s take a look at how many of our wishes have been fulfilled. Since it’s still in development, we don’t yet know all the features. But so far it appears that we got some of the most-requested features, but no joy on some of the others.
Notification Center, which was introduced in iOS 5 and expanded in iOS 7 with several tabbed views (Today, All, and Missed), will now be greatly enhanced in iOS 8, with new customization features including the ability to add third-party widgets to the Today view. In the current beta, the default in the Today view is Today, Traffic Conditions, Calendar, Reminders, Stocks, and Tomorrow Summary. A new Edit button lets you somewhat rearrange this list and also hide items. Developers of apps can now also develop widgets associated with their apps that you can choose to display on your Today screen. You'll be able to add widgets such as weather, sports scores, and current eBay auctions.
Apple's Photos app and the approach to storage are among the biggest changes you can look forward to in iOS 8. The new iCloud Photo Library gives you the option of replacing the confusing Photo Stream, which is limited to your most recent 1,000 photos. All your photos and videos will now automatically live in the cloud if you enable this feature. Photo Stream is free, but with iCloud Photo Library you'll need to pay for this storage if you exceed the 5GB of free space. iCloud storage, though, will now be much cheaper, at just $0.99 per month for an additional 20GB and $3.99 per month for an additional 200GB.
The blogosphere was buzzing with rumors about the so-called iWatch on Friday, with a news report on Nikkei Asian Review saying Apple was planning to come out with a wearable device and a report on Re/Code saying Apple's tentative launch date for the device will be October. In addition, the Nikkei report, citing industry sources, also said that Apple is confident in the market for the device and is planning to manufacture 3–5 million units per month. The design is currently being finalized and it will likely have a curved LED display. Plus, it's expected to have a focus on health, and will be able to track things such as calorie consumption, sleep activity, blood glucose, and blood oxygen levels.
Apple's Messages app will be getting many great new features in iOS 8, and it's likely the app that will see the most significant changes. One of the most requested features for Messages had been the ability to respond to alerts of incoming text messages from the lock screen or from within other apps, rather than having to open the Messages app. iOS 8 will now offer that feature.
Even if you had the opportunity to watch the Worldwide Developers Conference keynote in Monday, you may be interested in watching selected segments again. You can now do that, as Apple has posted the video both on the Apple website and on their official YouTube channel.
Now that iOS 8 is in the hands of developers, we'll likely be getting a lot more detail. Apple was able to give only a very cursory overview during the keynote. Macworld has posted an article on 20 features that Apple didn't talk about during the keynote. Some of these are pretty cool, such as time-lapse mode for the camera, private browsing tabs in Safari, battery usage by app, and more. The article covers detail related to features of Camera, iBooks, Siri, Safari, Settings, and Calling.
If there was a common theme for WWDC 2014, Tim Cook articulated it at the end. He said what's great about Apple products is that their operating system, devices, and services work together in harmony, creating a seamless experience for users. And that seamless experience was expanded in dramatic fashion today, with the announcement of new technologies such as HomeKit, HealthKit, iCloud Drive, and Continuity. Apple also announced a ton of new features for built-in apps in iOS 8 such as Mail, Messages, Photos, and Safari.
Touch ID has been very successful on the iPhone 5s, increasing both security and convenience. It's rumored that Touch ID will now be on all new iOS devices, including the forthcoming iPads.
Apple made two significant announcements related to the iOS keyboard today. One is predictive capability, called QuickType. Depending on context, iOS is now smart enough to predict words as you type.