Apple is bringing iOS 8 to the forefront today, and it represents significant overall haul feature-wise compared to iOS 7. iOS brings actionable notifications that have already been available in Mavericks. So if you receive a test message or even a Facebook notification, you can swipe down and reply without actually going to the app.
QuickType learns how you type and provides word suggestions as you type (hello, SwiftKey). But the word suggestions are also context sensitive. In the demo, Craig Federighi received an iMessage asking if he wanted to go to a dinner or a movie. The word suggestions automatically had “A movie” and “Dinner” ready as responses to immediately send back.
QuickType in iOS 8
Likewise, word suggestions will adapt to provide quick responses based on how you talk with different contacts. So interacting with a co-worker may shows you more formal language, work-related responses, while interacting with your wife or friend could show more informal suggestions based on past conversations.
Federighi was quick to point out that your privacy is protected with word suggestions and they never leave the device.
As expected, Apple today its Health app. The Health app, used in conjunction with the HealthKit app, can gather information from all of the various fitness- and health-related apps and hardware devices made for iOS and store in a single, centralized location.
Family Sharing allows up to six family members to not only share calendar events and photo streams, but also purchases (books, apps, music). Parents can also be prompted when a child attempts to make a purchase – the parent can then either accept or deny the purchase.
Apple is really opening up iOS 8 to developers with Extensions. Thanks to extensions, third-party developers will now be able to provide widgets in Notification Center (better late then never). Extensions will also allow third-party apps to better communicate with each other (and with first-party Apple apps). That means that you can have also have widgets within Safari for things like word translation, and even third-party keyboards like Swype.
Cloud Drive in iOS 8
Apple is also spreading the wealth with Touch ID, as it is also being opened up to third-party developers.
As we reported earlier this month, iOS 8 includes a new developer SDK for home automation. HomeKit will allows iOS users to control locks, lights, cameras, thermostats, and even switches via one single interface. That means, no more separate apps for each device — all of your smart devices will be able to communicate via HomeKit. In addition, Siri integration is included along with the ability to group activities into Scenes.
For example, you can tell Siri “Go to bed,” and all of the locks in your house could be activated, exterior lights could turn off, your garage door would be closed (if it wasn’t already), and your thermostat would be set to your desired temperature).
Apple already has a number of partners onboard with HomeKit, but interestingly Nest Labs (which was acquired by Google earlier this year) is nowhere to be seen on the list.
iOS 8 will be available to developers today, and to the general public this fall.
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