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The iOS 8 features you should know about

LiveMint logoLiveMint 03-06-2014 Vishal Mathur

We knew it was coming, now it is official. Evidently iOS 8 is more than just the next incremental upgrade, because the new features that the OS will bring to the iPhone and the iPad is perhaps the most “open” iOS ever. Here’s why:

Interactive notifications

How annoying is it when you are working within one app, and a notification pops up forcing you to switch apps to respond to that? With iOS 8, Apple adds the ability to respond to certain notifications from pop-up or the pull-down notification bar itself. It is now available in iMessage, Calendar and Facebook.

iMessage takes on Whatsapp and Snapchat

With Facebook’s massive spending to take over Whatsapp, Apple is not under any illusion about the importance of a capable messaging app. iMessage gets an update as well, now letting users create and send audio and video messages from within the app. There are the new self-destructive messages as well, sort of how Snapchat works, with the sender setting the validity of the message. Chats can be muted as well.

Continuity

With the Continuity feature working between iOS and OS X, Apple wants users to utilize their iOS device ecosystem better. You can start writing a mail or a document on your Mac, and your iPhone and iPad will prompt you to finish the unfinished work, the next time you pick either of them up. The Mac can work as the speakerphone for your iPhone, if you happen to have left it in the other room, complete with caller ID notification. If a non-iPhone user sends a basic SMS, it will be relayed to all iOS devices. Till now, only iMessages were synced across the iPhone, iPad and the Mac.

Choice of keyboards

Apple has implemented the QuickType feature, which Apple says “learns” your typing habits while respecting your privacy. The idea is to offer smarter autocomplete options and suggestions. In a massive change, Apple will now allow third-party keyboards to be used as default.

Mail

iOS’s built-in Mail client has often been criticized for not keeping up with the times. The new version integrates Mailbox app style swipe gestures—flag, delete etc. The app now adds the multitasking feature, allowing users to swipe down a mail they are composing, refer to an older mail in the inbox, copy text, swipe back up to continue typing the mail.

Family Sharing

Family Sharing allows up to six family members to share iTunes purchases on their devices. The condition here is to have the same credit card linked to the individual accounts of the family members you will be sharing the content with. Secondly, parents now can monitor what purchases their children may be making on their iPads or iPhones, with the option of denying a purchase.

FOR DEVELOPERS:

Swift: Apple announced that iOS app developers would now be working with a new programming language, which is said to be significantly faster than Objective C, which was used till now.

Less Sandboxing: Till now, Apple preferred to sandbox their apps, which kept them isolated from the other. The logic was “security”. Now, Apple seems to finally be answering the calls to have a more open operating system, much like what Android does. Additionally, Apple will now allow widgets in the notification center, allowing users to monitor new messages from their itself rather than having to open the individual app.

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