A few days ago, we discussed the changes that Apple was making to the Mac OS – OS X Yosemite. These were announced at the WWDC and will be released to the public in the fall. Along with these changes, they also released information on the changes they will be making to iOS in the fall. There’s been much speculation about what iOS 8 would entail, but this will put most of it to rest.
The first change to iOS is in the Photos, the way they are handled. Previously, we needed to look to the Photo Stream to find the photos you stored and took on different devices. Now there will be a new iCloud Photo Library. Every photo and video you take will be there in that library, no matter what device you access it on. You can download them from your iPhone, iPad, iPod Touch, or the Internet. It’s unclear if they are still keeping Photo Stream.
Your photos will be easy to find as you can search by the date or time, location, or album name. Tapping twice on the search icon gives you access to photos you took nearby, the same time last year, or your favorites. The Camera app also includes a new Time-lapse mode.
Perhaps the most exciting changes are what’s happening to the Messages app. Now you will be able to add audio to your conversation just by holding the microphone button. You can also send videos of what’s going on right now. Apple needed to do something to keep up with the Joneses.
In addition, when you start a group conversation, you can name it, delete people who don’t need to be included, and even leave the conversation yourself when it no longer involves you. If you turn on “Do Not Disturb”, you can read the messages later at your convenience. People in the conversation can share their location and all will be placed on a map. You’ll be able to see all locations, videos, and photos that have been shared since the beginning of the thread easily without having to scroll back to search for them.
Apple is promising that the changes they are making to the keyboard are the biggest since the very first iPhone. You can now write with just a few taps because choices of words or phrases you will probably type next will appear based on your writing style and your past conversations. Every email and text you send is teaching the Keyboard. It even recognizes your writing style and who you’re writing to as your style is different in Messages than it is in Mail, and you address your co-workers differently than your mother. Don’t worry. This data is kept on your device. Third-party keyboards is another new option.
How I wish they would have always had Family Sharing. My daughter and my husband use my Apple ID to get our shared iTunes library on their devices, and use their own Apple ID for the rest. Now after Family Sharing is set up, family members will get to enjoy each other’s music, movies, apps, etc. This works for up to six people. There is no more sharing of an Apple ID or passwords.
You can also set up a family photo stream to share vacation, holidays, major life events, etc. It doesn’t stop there. You can also set up one shared family calendar. This will help immensely with school events and doctor’s appointments. Sharing locations works just the same so you can keep up with your family throughout their day. Find My iPhone will now find every device in the family.
This is one that could be really great, but we’ll need to wait for third-party apps to make use of it to use it to the best of its ability. It will track everything concerning your health – your heart rate, calories burned, blood pressure, sleep pattern, etc. – all in one place, but you’ll need those third party apps for much of it. It also creates an emergency card on your lock screen.
Now when you receive notifications, they’ll be interactive, allowing you to take action without leaving the app you’re using. You can delete an email or mark it read, mark a reminder as done, accept or decline a calendar invite, or reply to a text. Apple is promising third-party involvement such as Facebook, but we’ll need to wait for the delivery of iOS 8 to see if that pans out.
Apple is also helping you stay in touch with the people who are important to you. Touching the Home button twice takes you to the multitasking screen. Now at the top will be the faces of the people you’ve recently talked to. A swipe right will give you your favorite contacts. They’ll be available with one tap.
Safari on iPad will now echo the Safari experience on the iPhone. You will be able to see all your open web pages. A new Sidebar will slide out to show Bookmarks, Reading List, and Shared Links.
You’ll need a developers account to try the beta versions of iOS 8, but if you’re lucky enough to do that, chime in below and let us know what you think.