At its June 2 World Wide Developers Conference keynote in San Francisco, Apple announced the latest iteration of its mobile operating system, iOS 8, which will be available for download this fall. The new release combines refined design elements with a host of new technical features. Here, we run through some of the more important, and visually distinct, aspects of iOS 8.
If you find yourself loathing the prospect of a group chat in iMessage because of the impending, nonstop wave of notifications that often follow, you're in luck. iOS 8 brings a slew of new enhancements to the messenger, chief among them: the ability to mute and outright leave overly noisy group chats. The chat client also integrates audio and location sharing, something not available in its previous incarnation.
"I think we’re all going to be typing a whole lot faster," said Apple's Senior Vice President of Software Engineering Craig Federighi, as he unveiled QuickType, a predictive typing mechanism in the new OS. QuickType is smart: the more you use your phone, the more it becomes accustomed to your language with different groups of people, customizing your responses with the appropriate tone.
A quick double tap of the Home button now shows more than your active apps: in iOS 8, a rotating list of your recent and favorite contacts populate the multitasking screen for easy messaging and phone calls.
Instead of opening an app to reply to a notification—like a text, Facebook message, or email—you can use iOS 8's Quick Reply feature, which allows you to compose a response contained within the same screen, so you don't have to change windows. This is a considerable upgrade from iOS 7, which requires users to exit, and then re-enter, apps to answer their notifications.
iOS 8's Spotlight mirrors its desktop counterpart, OS X Yosemite, with more in-depth search results. Wikipedia entries, news articles, maps, and results from the App Store will all be included in this core search function for the first time.
When Mail recognizes that something coming through your inbox deserves a little extra attention—reservations, addresses, event dates—it'll prompt you to schedule a notification or add a contact before you forget. The app has also adapted a handful of swipe-activated organizational features (mark as read, flag, delete, and more) reminiscent of the popular Mailbox app.
iCloud received a significant update placing it within punching distance of popular file-sharing services Dropbox and Google Drive. Unlike before, users can access and edit documents across mobile platforms.
This tweet from technology enthusiast Michael Kukielka claims to show a screenshot of iOS 8's new battery monitor, which is organized by open app.
[Images courtesy of Apple]