Mobile OS

What’s New in iOS 8

What’s New in iOS 8 150 150 Kerry Butters

It doesn’t seem too long ago that Apple released iOS 7. This was perhaps the biggest overhaul to its mobile software design since 2007. The new OS came from a post-Jobs era and the design came from Jony Ive.

iOS 7 made the iPhone more up-to-date and it allowed it to be more competitive when it came to the likes of Android. Windows 8 mobile software has been struggling, so iOS 7 was a tempting (if expensive) alternative.

Now however, Apple has revealed its plans for iOS 8 and it looks to be much the same as iOS 7 – but with a better, and more rounded, design. There’s a beta version of this software for developers to play around with and the software will be generally released in the fall of 2014.

With this new OS (perhaps not quite revolutionary) there are a number of changes for users to look forward to. Let’s have a look then and see what we’ve got in store in the coming months. It’s not ground-breaking, but it is an OS update that betters the functionality of iOS 7.

Update to the App Store

The App Store is already fairly good; it doesn’t have the dross of Windows 8, and it’s less cluttered than Android’s offering. It has however had some slight functionality tweaks to make it even better. The Wish List function wasn’t something that many folks seemed to use, but iOS 8 has made it much better. Now it remembers every single app users want to download later and it keeps track of any songs users ask Siri about.

The App store has effectively become an application in itself and it can even cull iTunes Radio listens and provide suggestions in the form of Music Store previews. This will ensure that you’ll never miss a purchase again.

iOS 8’s new customisable mail

The new mail application is something that many iOS users will be happy about. There are now customisable swipe gestures that enable long-swipe deleting of messages, the left swipe can be either Mark as Read/Unread or Flag/Unflag buttons. The Mail application is smart enough to pull all related messages into a conversation no matter where those messages are hiding. It’s perhaps not quite the update that many users were hoping for, but it’s a start.

Better Battery Control

Apple iPhone’s haven’t always been known for great battery life or extended run times. Instead battery life has often been a complaint and users have to charge their smart phones at least once a day. This isn’t something that’s set to change drastically with iOS 8 but the new software does offer a solution of sorts. There’s a new option in the usage menu that lets users identify applications that are draining their battery.

This isn’t innovative, and it’s probably something that should have been included a long time ago (Android has it), but it will help iPhone users to get more out of their smartphones.

Dismiss Notifications with a Swipe

iOS 7 introduced an upgrade to the Notification Centre and iOS 8 has made it even more useful. There are now only two tabs (today and notifications) and users can customise their widgets then and there without having to head over to Settings. Users of iOS 8 will find it simple to dismiss notifications with only a simple swipe. Whilst not a huge overhaul it does provide an easier alternative for closing notifications that doesn’t involve trying to click those tiny X’s.

Upgrades to Safari

Apple comes with a number of preinstalled applications that users cannot delete or uninstall. iOS 8 hasn’t changed this unfortunately, but it has provided a revamped, smarter, and safer Safari internet browser. Users may feel stuck with Safari (there are alternatives) but Apple has made sticking with its native browser much less of an issue in its new OS.

There’s another useful addition on the favourites pull-down screen that allows users to request the desktop version of whatever mobile site they’re visiting. The favourites screen also provides a list of the most frequently visited sites for ease of browsing.

Manual camera controls

Smart phone cameras are becoming increasingly powerful and versatile and in iOS 8 Apple has taken that a step further. There are a couple of interesting additions to the application, but perhaps the best tweak is the ability to manually control the exposure setting. When users tap the screen to focus the camera, they’ll find a new option pops up – an exposure control slider. This will allow users a better opportunity to control their photographs and perhaps even alleviate the apparent need for camera filters.

Apple has also added a new time-lapse mode, and a three to ten second timer making selfies even easier (and less apparent).

The new Apple OS is perhaps nothing too new or innovative, but what it does is update the existing iOS 7 into something much more functional. The weather app has also seen an overhaul and there’s even a location-based lock screen. This allows iPhone users to walk into a store and find a tiny icon on their home screen. This shortcut will take you to an app that’ll let you purchase whatever that specific store is selling.

Look out for it being introduced sometime in the coming months; iOS 8 will be another successful smart phone innovation from the Cupertino based company. Apple’s iOS is easy to use, runs smoothly, and looks great.