Apple today announced iOS 8, the biggest release since the launch of the App Store, will be available starting Wednesday September 17, 2014 to iPhone, iPad and iPod touch users as a free software update. iOS 8 delivers a simpler, faster and more intuitive user experience with new Messages and Photos features, predictive typing for Apple’s QuickType keyboard and Family Sharing. iOS 8 also includes the new Health app, giving you a clear overview of your health and fitness data and iCloud Drive, so you can store files and access them from anywhere. With more than 4,000 new APIs, iOS 8 allows developers to further customize the user experience with major extensibility features and robust frameworks such as HealthKit and HomeKit.
Messages in iOS 8 makes conversations more immersive. Simply Tap to Talk to share your voice. The same gesture also works for sharing photos and videos. Users can now share several photos and videos at once and easily browse through all of them within a conversation from one place. Group messaging gives you the ability to add and remove contacts, and the option not to be disturbed or to leave a conversation entirely. You can also choose to share your current location from within Messages for an hour, a day or longer.
In iOS 8, the Photos app brings powerful editing to your fingertips. Photos automatically straightens horizons, and with smart editing tools you can quickly adjust light and color with a swipe. For deeper fine-tuning, you can access individual tools to adjust exposure, brightness, contrast, highlights, shadows and more. Developers can tap into the same robust framework as the built-in Photos app using PhotoKit, and with extensibility APIs, can make their own filters and editing tools available to users within the Photos app.
New predictive typing for Apple’s QuickType keyboard is smarter, more personalized and intelligently takes context into account, such as who the recipient is and in which app you’re typing. QuickType understands the way you communicate, suggesting favorite phrases, so you can write entire sentences with just a few taps. What the QuickType keyboard learns is kept private, encrypted on your device and never sent to the cloud. Third-party keyboards are also available, so developers can offer additional layouts and input methods system-wide, providing users more choice.
The new Health app gathers the information you choose from your various health apps and fitness devices, and provides you with a clear and current overview in one place. HealthKit APIs offer developers the ability for health and fitness apps to communicate with each other. With your permission, each app can use specific information from other apps to provide a more comprehensive way to manage your health and fitness. Users will be able to gather and monitor their own fitness metrics using apps such as MyFitnessPal, RunKeeper and Strava. Healthcare providers can now monitor the data their patients choose to share through apps such as Mayo Clinic or Epic’s MyChart app that will be used by Duke Medicine and Stanford Children’s Health/Stanford Medicine, among others.
HomeKit connects your home devices safely and seamlessly so you can better manage accessories like lights, thermostats, door locks and garage doors. By delivering a common protocol, HomeKit securely pairs and allows easy control over individual or groups of devices throughout the house. With Siri integration you can say, “Good morning,” and have the lights turn on in specific rooms, the thermostat adjust the temperature and the garage door open.
Family Sharing with iOS 8 makes it easier than ever to communicate and share purchases. It automatically keeps everyone connected by creating a shared family photo stream and calendar, and provides an option to locate family members and their devices. Family members can also now browse and download each other’s eligible iTunes, iBooks or App Store purchases. Up to six family members can participate, each with their own Apple ID. Parents can create Apple IDs for children and, with Ask to Buy, require online parental permission for Family Sharing purchases.
iCloud Drive allows you to safely store, access and edit documents of any type. Make edits on one device and the most up-to-date version of your documents will be available across all devices, whether an iOS device, Mac, Windows PC or on http://www.icloud.com. iCloud Drive brings new collaboration between apps, providing seamless access and the ability to work on the same file across multiple apps.
Continuity features in iOS 8 and OS X Yosemite bring your Mac and iOS devices together like never before. When your iPhone or iPad is near your Mac, Handoff lets you start an activity on one device and pass it to the other. Instant Hotspot makes using your iPhone’s hotspot as easy as connecting to a Wi-Fi network. Now the SMS and MMS messages that previously only appeared on your iPhone appear in Messages on all your devices. You can even send SMS or MMS messages directly from your Mac and make or receive iPhone calls using your Mac as a speakerphone.
Additional iOS 8 features include:
– Expanded security and management improvements for Enterprise, with new productivity features, including an extended level of data protection for key built-in apps and support for configurable Thread Notifications in Mail. Improvements in the way users are informed of how their devices are configured and managed further support the new mobilized workforce IT model;
-Design enhancements that build off the stunning interface of iOS 7, bringing interactive notifications, quick access to key contacts, intelligent suggestions and the ability to quickly switch back and forth between the Inbox and Drafts in Mail; and
– Spotlight suggestions beyond what’s on your device, including Wikipedia entries, places nearby and news articles.
Pricing & Availability
iOS 8 will be available as a free software update starting Wednesday, September 17 for iPhone 4s, iPhone 5, iPhone 5c, iPhone 5s, iPod touch 5th generation, iPad 2, iPad with Retina® display, iPad Air, iPad mini and iPad mini with Retina display. New iCloud pricing includes 5GB free, 20GB $0.99/month, 200GB $3.99/month, 500GB $9.99/month and 1TB $19.99/month. Continuity features and iCloud Drive will be available on Macs running OS X Yosemite. In October, SMS Continuity will be available as a free update to iOS 8 and iCloud Photo Library will be available as a beta. Starting in October, with iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus, Apple Pay will be available in the US as a free update to iOS 8. Features are subject to change. Some features may not be available in all regions or all languages.