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What do you need to know about iOS 8?

iOS 8’s penetration is increasing and for good reason. When Tim Cook announced at the Apple Event last week that the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus was the biggest advancement in the history of iPhone he wasn’t wrong.

With the release of iOS 8, Apple’s biggest iOS release since the iPhone in 2007, Mixpanel has recorded an adoption rate of 17% within the first 24 hours compared to last year’s 36% for iOS 7.

Due to the 1.1 GB download needing nearly 6GB of free space, this has meant that downloading the update over the air has proved more difficult and resulted in consumers frantically deleting pictures, music and apps to free up the necessary space. Even though there is a way to get around this issue by tethering up to your computer and iTunes this has created another step to delay initial download rates.

However iOS 8’s penetration is increasing and for good reason. When Tim Cook announced at the Apple Event last week that the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus was the biggest advancement in the history of iPhone he wasn’t wrong. Whilst iOS 7 introduced a major visual overhaul, Apple has created iOS 8 with a more collaborative and open mindset, defining their stance in providing consumers with an increasingly fluid user experience.

As developers, we have been waiting for this type of iOS for years. As Apple has finally opened up their operating system to third party extensions and keyboards with iOS 8, developers are now more able to take advantage of this extensibility and to increase the interaction between applications and the operating system. This compatibility will give developers the opportunity to create applications that work continuously with Apple’s operating system and other applications to improve productivity and efficiency within a professional or personal environment.

Extensions

Apple's Extensions

Extensions being revealed at Apple

iOS 8’s extensibility includes points such as: Today, Share, Action, Photo editing, Storage provider and Custom keyboard which will allow the user to use their device in a more personal and customisable way in order to fit with their lifestyle. With a more continuous OS, users are more able to interact with third party applications without having to even open the app itself. The share feature allows user to share photos videos, web pages and more across multiple applications in a much richer way, minimising the time you spend switching from one app to another. With the introduction of extensions users can bring customisation to their devices, such as the actions they would like to make with their files, third party keywords to fit your personal preference and where and how they decide to store their information.

Messages

Messages on iOS 8

Messages on iOS 8

Apple’s own Messages.app now allows you to communicate in more ways and more efficiently than ever before. The camera icon still exists which allows for photos to be sent to your contact, however by holding down the icon, users activate an overlay menu to enable quick selfies or to take a video. Along with the introduction of voice messages within the same app, Apple has incorporated a quicker and easier way to send pictures and videos and provide extra communication methods without the user having to open any other application such as Whatsapp and Snapchat. Real-time locations can also be sent mid-message as well as sharing your roaming location to a set time so you will never have to ask the question “where are you?” ever again.

iOS 8 also includes Quicktype predictive typing which takes smart keyboards to a whole new level of intelligence. This new feature makes typing on the iPhone smarter and easier than ever. It uses a predictive-language algorithm to guess what you’re going to say next; over time the operating system will learn your habits from Facebook, Twitter, Evernotes and Gmail to provide a more accurate prediction and adapt to your personal way of communication.

App widgets and interactive notifications

Apple’s own Messages.app now allows you to communicate in more ways and more efficiently than ever before. The camera icon still exists which allows for photos to be sent to your contact, however by holding down the icon, users activate an overlay menu to enable quick selfies or to take a video. Along with the introduction of voice messages within the same app, Apple has incorporated a quicker and easier way to send pictures and videos and provide extra communication methods without the user having to open any other application such as Whatsapp and Snapchat. Real-time locations can also be sent mid-message as well as sharing your roaming location to a set time so you will never have to ask the question “where are you?” ever again.

iOS 8 also includes Quicktype predictive typing which takes smart keyboards to a whole new level of intelligence. This new feature makes typing on the iPhone smarter and easier than ever. It uses a predictive-language algorithm to guess what you’re going to say next; over time the operating system will learn your habits from Facebook, Twitter, Evernotes and Gmail to provide a more accurate prediction and adapt to your personal way of communication.

App widgets and notifications on iOS 8

App widgets and notifications on iOS 8

Time is a valuable commodity, especially in the workplace. Third party applications can now customise Notification Center through the use of widgets to display at-a-glance information and provide quick actions for users. Moreover due to interactive notifications users can choose to reply, like or retweet a notification without having to exit the current application they are using.

Security

As Apple has become more open to user and third party customisation, with information being passed from one application to another, questions about the security of information have been identified. To ensure the privacy and security of potentially secure data, cross-app communication will only be allowed to happen via iOS itself and information will only be passed with permission from the user. Tighter regulations will also be taken with features such as downloadable keyboard to prevent malware.

iCloud sign in process

iCloud sign in process

In relation to iCloud security, Apple has focused on three main areas. Firstly, users will now be notified every time someone tries to restore data from iCloud to a device it doesn’t recognise. Two forms of identification will be required when accessing your account from mobile devices. Finally, as of October 1st, Apple will implement app-specific passwords for third-party programs connecting with iCloud to ensure that your primary Apple ID won’t be collected or stored by third party apps.

Whilst the initial launch of iOS 8 brings a plethora of exciting new opportunities, there have been a number of teething issues and feature delays: a last minute bug found in HealthKit means that no HealthKit apps will be available until late September; features such as Continuity, iCloud Drive, and AirDrop between iOS and OS X won’t function until OS X Yosemite is released in October; and Apple Pay isn’t launched until next month in the US, for the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus.

With the introduction on interactive notifications and Quicktype predictive typing, iOS’s collaboration with third party applications is one that could alter the way we interact with our iPhones. For people who have older devices, this new operating system and its demand for more storage space could prove to slow things down. However, with 4,000 new APIs coming with iOS 8 it will allow developers to add new features and capabilities to applications to increase the opportunities for the iPhone.

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