iOS 8 – first look at the new iPhone and iPad interface

by , Apple 02/06/2014
Apple iOS 8 first look

Apple has unveiled iOS 8, the latest version of its iPhone and iPad operating system. Slated for release this autumn, the free update adds a number of new features to compatible phones and tablets.

Though it doesn’t usher in as big a cosmetic change as last year’s iOS 7, the new operating system does add some genuinely useful looking features. Read on to find out more details about context sensitive texting, taking phone calls on your iPad and new ways to keep track of your health and fitness.

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Apple iOS 8 – five key features

QuickType keyboard – predictive typing suggestions are nothing new to smart devices, but Apple is looking to improve on the formula. Its suggestions are context sensitive, meaning that if someone asks ‘do you want to go for dinner or a movie?’ It will actually give you the predictive text reply options of ‘Dinner’ or ‘A movie’. Apple also claims the same system will remember the words you use most –  if you prefer formal words, you’ll get formal language, while those who prefer to be chattier can expect more slang.

HealthKit – Apple’s new Health app acts like a sponge, by absorbing all of the exercise and fitness data that other apps (even non-Apple apps) are generating. This will let you get a more rounded picture of things like your daily nutrition and fitness, and also gives you one place to see and interact with all that information.

Handoff – if you have multiple Apple devices then Handoff will make it easier to work across all of them. If you’re writing a message on your iPhone, but then pick up your iPad, that same message will be there and ready for you to continue working on it. If you have an iPhone and an iPad, you will even be able to pick up incoming calls on your iPad (even if your iPhone is in another room).

Family sharing – if your kids have iPhones of their own you’ll be happy to learn that Apple has made one iTunes account shareable across multiple devices. This means that your family’s purchases will be available to share on up to six Apple devices. More importantly, that account will be linked to just one credit card, so you’ll be able to veto the apps, films and music purchased. Apple also announced improvements to the Touch ID fingerprint scanner that should mean those purchases can be given the green light at a touch.

The internet of things – smart thermostats, alarms, locks and light bulbs are rapidly becoming everyday home accessories. Rarely though do they all directly communicate with one central app on your smartphone or tablet. Apple is looking to change that building a common security protocol that will pull devices from different manufacturers into one app, meaning you could switch your lights off and lock your door at the touch of a button.

Which? expert view – ‘another step towards the “internet of things”‘

Rory-BolandThere is a lot borrowed in this update – iCloud Drive is Google Drive while Healthkit piggy backs on what Samsung, Nike and others have been doing for a while already. But that’s not necessarily bad news and all these additions are welcome.

Apple have given the notification centre a welcome tidy up and while the changes to messaging are nuanced they are important and should make it easier and quicker to send messages.

The announcement of Home Kit, essentially using your iPhone as a remote for your house and everything in it was bolder. I’m not sure I want Siri to turn off all my lights and lock my doors when I tell her goodnight – she still can’t find a decent Italian restaurant or get the weather right after all. But Apple’s attempt to actually start connecting smart devices is an important step towards the much vaunted, but little seen, ‘internet of things’.
Rory Boland – deputy technology editor

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8 comments

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SraNJ

Like the author says…would you really trust Apple with your house! I wouldn’t.

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Mike R

I already use Hive for heating, Philips for lighting, Memo for some electrics, so the thought of getting all these and more into one App is amazing.
As a Mac user for over 20 years and not a single virus, I’d be happy to trust Apple, how many PC users could say the same?

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Peter P

Likewise … I totally agree!

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RAI

I would trust Apple with everything I’ve got – in my experience they are the best hardware,software ware and complete system company imaginable !!

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TimCee

Forget the future. I don’t trust Apple with anything now following the charging fiasco they created in the move from iOS6 to 7. Battery drain on my previously fantastic iPAD 2 went through the roof and I had to buy a higher spec charger as the supplied version was no longer up to the job. And no way back to iOS6 as a workaround. My experience is not unique – see the forums on this topic.

Arrogance or incompetence?

I was about to buy an iPhone. Not any more. Once bitten, twice shy.

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Martin

Instead of spending time and money tinkering with software, it would be more to the point if Apple used more resources providing something resembling customer service? Is it possible to contact Apple and get a response?

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Stan

Following the fiasco of the so called upgrade to iOS 8 the performance of my iPad 2 has been trashed. Unable to downgrade I quickly told all iPad owners in my family (that’s another 6 iPads) not to upgrade to iOS 8. Since I’m not prepared to expose my iPhone 4s to ios8 my devices not longer sync properly.
What disappoints me is that WHICH didn’t identify the problem earlier and
1. warn its iPad 2 owning customers NOT to “upgrade”, and
2. didn’t remove the “best buy” label it rushes to give Apple products.

Can someone please explain in simple language why iOS 8 has ruined my iPad 2 – is that iOS 8 and the processor are not fully compatible?

avatar

Stan

PS – I’ve tried a full restore as new iPad and it did not help.

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