The new iOS 8 was just unveiled, and it looks pretty awesome. Apple showed off some of the enhancements and new features we can expect to receive in the fall at WWDC, and while not the huge facelift we saw with iOS 7, it does showcase what Apple does best—refinement.
One of the bigger features that Apple is pushing at WWDC is Continuity, which allows Apple devices (computers, smartphones, and tablets) to work together in order to access your data (calls, messages, photos, etc.) on all of your devices at once.
Using the Photo application, Apple showed one of the more ingenious cross-device functionalities—as edits a photo are being made on one device, those changes are instantly transferred through iCloud on other devices.
Widgets are finally available on iOS, although they're not accessible on your home screen. What?!? Instead, you can download third-party applications, and if they have widget capability, you'll be able to add them on to your Notification Center.
With these widgets, you'll not only have relevant information to look at, but you'll also be able to interact with it. In the demo at WWDC, Apple showed how you can place a bid on eBay with a single tap through the Notification Center.
The Messages application has been heavily improved and packed with new features that make text messaging a better experience on iOS 8. Text messages can now be made replied to through a notification, making it easier to respond quickly.
Group messaging now has extended features, such as the ability to name a thread, add and remove people from threads, and more importantly, you can now enable Do Not Disturb so that notifications stay mute when you're receiving a barrage of text messages in an annoying group chat. Better yet, you can leave the group message completely.
Text messages now have detail, allowing you to share your location for a specific amount of time and also view all attachments in a thread (YES!).
Sending audio, images, and videos is much quicker on iOS 8, with the ability to hold down on specific icons on the keyboard to record and send in an instant—the same way you send content on Snapchat or WhatsApp.
And when you receive a new audio message, you can listen and reply to it simply by bringing your device to your ear.
iOS 8's keyboard brings a predictive keyboard called QuickType to the mix, sorting several options of the next word directly above the keyboard. Depending on who you're texting, the iOS keyboard intelligently learns from the way you talk to someone, giving you tailored predictive text.
In multitasking, the array of open applications available for closure will still be available, with the addition of recent contacts above them. You'll have quick access to not only your apps, but the people that you're most connected with.
Tapping on a contact will bring up actionable items, like calling, FaceTiming, or messaging.
A search from the Notification Center will now query results from not only the web, but contacts, Wikipedia results, songs, movies, etc.
Very clearly absent, though, is Google search results—nice to meet you Bing.
Activate Siri with a "Hey, Siri" hotword, and use it to automatically Shazam songs, purchase iTunes content, and more.
Additionally, you'll see your verbal text recognized in real time, which means more accurate input and faster results.
The App Store has received a significant update, being dubbed as the biggest release since its inception.
You'll now see trending searches to help identify popular apps, a new Explore tab, vertical scrolling in search, "Editor's Choice" app picks, preview videos, and the ability for app developers to bundle their apps and offer them at a discount.
Other new enhancements include updates to the Mail app (swipe gestures!), iCloud Drive, and a new development language (Metal) for app devs. We've got iOS 8's beta up and running (click here to see how you can get it), so stay tuned as we break down all its new, and possibly annoying, features.
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