One of the things that impress us the most as Mobile App Developers, is how Apple keeps on expanding the scope of what the operating system can do for iPhone and iPad users. This is certainly true with the announcement of iOS 8 at the WWDC event. But as much as Apple tells developers in the presentation, there are always some goodies that don’t get the chance to shine.
So what is coming besides the home-automation and health monitoring tools? Quite a bit, actually. So let’s take a look at what is coming this fall:
A Smarter Keyboard
Following Google’s lead, the new iOS features predictive typing – suggesting contextually appropriate words to complete your sentences. It even knows to adjust your tone from email to a text message.
A Better Camera App for All
Have you ever tried to take a Panorama shot with an iPad? Yeah, that’s something we could do with our iPhones since iOS6, but our iPads haven’t supported that functionality. Well, with iOS 8 iPad users will be able to join in on the fun. Mind you, you may find you’ll knock a few people over as you try to get that sweeping shot of that sunset with your iPad – but at least you can do it.
Older iPhones will now be able to use the same Burst Mode as our iPhone 5s friends have. Instead of the sluggish one shot per half second that was the norm for an iPhone 4, optimizations to the graphics will increase that to a true burst. So now when your pet is doing something funny, you’ll have a better chance of getting the perfect shot via burst.
As cool as burst mode can be, how about Time-Lapse photography? Select that mode, point your device and then hit record. The device will then take a shot at intervals to create a time-lapse video. The trick will be to place your device so that it won’t be knocked over. We can already sense case manufacturers devising new form factors to hold yours steady….
While developers have been able to use separate Exposure and Focus controls in app development, soon those features will be available within the camera app.
Siri Gets Better…
Maybe someday Siri will be as useful as we wish it to be, but it always seems to be lacking a bit. Still, Apple is working to make it better, and in iOS 8, Siri will feature support for 22 new languages. That’s great, because we can’t seem to get it to understand what we’d like it to do in English, so options will be nice.
Seriously, there are some neat improvement – with its new integration with the music identification app, Shazam, Siri can tell you what song is playing on the radio, and (shocking) will let you buy a copy in the iTunes store. Beyond that, the new iteration of the OS will allow you to access Siri by speaking “Hey Siri” before your command – eliminating the need to push the button each time you try to interact with Siri.
Identify Battery Draining Apps
Not sure why your device is always running low on power? iOS 8 will break down your battery use on an app by app basis. (Hint – it’s probably Candy Crush – just a guess.)
We sometimes forget that iPhone in your pocket can make phone calls. But if you have a weak signal, those calls can be problematic. But (if your carrier supports it) you’ll soon be able to use a decent WiFi signal to make your calls over the Internet. How well this will work will depend on many factors, but if VoIP calls are an indicator, it could make for a choppy call. But in a pinch, this could be huge.
Have you ever started an email message on your iPhone and wished you had instead done this on your Mac or your iPad? With iOS 8 you can start an email on one of these devices and then finish it on another. How? Your registered devices will be aware of each other, so a little icon will pop up on your related devices when there is a partially completed task on one of these devices.
There are a few other enhancements – like being able to use italics and bolded text in the Notes app, and some calendar improvements that can help you determine when you need to leave for an appointment, and a number of others.
We haven’t even touched with new tools and enhancements on the developer end of things – we’ll save that for a future iOS 8 Blog post.
What excites you the most from a usability POV? What are you looking to see added to iOS 8’s first update? Let us know in the comments section below.