iOS 8: What We Got. And What We Didn’t

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.

What brought joy

Health app — As expected, we got the health-based app everyone was expecting. But Apple didn’t spend much time on it. Still, it’s clear that the new app and HealthKit platform are a major new direction for Apple.

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Touch ID for third-party apps — Yippee, this one came true. You’ll now be able to use Touch ID to log into accounts, such as banking, if developers add that feature to their apps.

Interactive notifications — This, too, brought joy to iOS users. You’ll now be able to respond to notifications such as text messages from the lock screen or from within other apps without having to open up the relevant app, such as Messages.

Third-party keyboards — This oft-requested feature will now be part of iOS 8, so you’ll be able to use alternative keyboards such as Swype and Swift.

What we didn’t get

New version of Maps app — Most were expecting a new version of the Maps app that would include public transit directions. The keynote came and went with no mention of this. Rumor has it that it’s not yet ready due to internal politics at Apple. Possibly it will be ready by fall when iOS 8 arrives for users, or we may not see it until a later iteration.

Siri offline, Clear all notifications, Kill all apps — It may be that some of these are still coming, but so far there’s no indication that these hoped-for features will arrive with iOS 8. Some users were hoping that iOS 8 would come with the option similar to the Macintosh that lets you download an 800MB file that lets Siri work offline for things such as dictation and setting an alarm. Others were hoping for an easy way to clear all notifications at once and kill all apps with a single tap. No luck.

Default apps, Guest mode — If you prefer third-party apps instead of Apple’s for mail or browsing the Internet, it would be nice if your preferred apps could be set as the default. Doesn’t look like it’ll be possible with iOS 8. Some were also hoping for a guest mode that can be quickly invoked so that if someone borrows your iPhone, he or she doesn’t have access to all your personal information. Maybe in the future, but not in iOS 8.

iPad hits and misses — The iPad gets a lot of respect in iOS 8, primarily a number of new features in Safari, such as a new tab view similar to that on the iPhone and a new sidebar that slides out to show your bookmarks, reading list, and shared links. But we apparently still won’t be getting an iPad version of Apple’s Weather and Stock apps.

So that’s the score. I’m not complaining, though, because Apple is giving us much more in iOS 8 than anyone expected. Most users seem pretty happy with what’s coming.

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Jim Karpen holds a Ph.D. in literature and writing, and has a love of gizmos. His doctoral dissertation focused on the revolutionary consequences of digital technologies and anticipated some of the developments taking place in the industry today. Jim has been writing about the Internet and technology since 1994 and has been using Apple's visionary products for decades.