The 5 Most Exciting New Features of iOS 8

While I would never consider myself an “Apple fanboy”, I must confess that over the years, I have very much fallen in love with some of their products. I have owned four generations of the iPhone (currently on 5, waiting for 6), use a Macbook Air for work, and, though I haven’t yet made the investment in an iPad just yet, I feel that this definitely will be my year.

All that said, being a tech geek, of course I am greatly anticipating the release of iOS 8 this Fall. Though there will almost certainly be new innovations to the latest installment of mobile OS before then, the current list of new features of iOS 8 is fairly impressive. Worthy, in fact, of a list post (despite my objections to this method of clickbating, typically). Literary high-ground aside, here we go…

1. Extensibility

One of the major flaws with iOS, in my personal opinion, has been the lack of compatibility with “the mothership”– being, in this case, Macs. While I’m almost certain that the majority of iPhone owners do not own Macs, many of us do. With iOS8, those of us in the minority will finally be able to sync our two favorite devices. Start an email on the bus on your iPhone– pick it up on your Mac when you get to the office. Granted, this functionality will initially work with Apple-created apps (Safari, Mail, Keynote, etc), but with Handoff, developers will have the opportunity to create the same cohesiveness in their apps, too– and my hope is that Google’s Chrome browser is ready to go when iOS 8 drops.

2. Interactive Notifications

The ability to respond to text messages and calendar invites directly from the Notification Center just makes good sense. And with iOS 8, we’ll now have that functionality. No more exiting out of Twitter & opening the Messages app just to type a two-word response to a text (#firstworldproblems). I’d love to see this functionality extended to other, non-Apple apps as well (especially the aforementioned Twitter), but I guess we’ll have to wait & see on that one.

3. Battery Usage Indicator

Back in the early 2000’s, I had a very rudimentary version of the Windows phone. I didn’t have it long (froze up way too damn much), but one of the features I did actually enjoy on that brick of a phone was the “task” menu, which not only told me which apps were running, but how much battery they were draining.

Unfortunately, that has never been available on the non-jailbroken iPhone– until iOS 8. Now, not only will we have the ability to see which of our favorite apps are sucking the battery out of our phones, but also, I’d imagine this would force developers to re-examine their own apps’ usage as well (lest they receive complaints & negative reviews). This could be great for us iPhone users, probably not so much for those folks developing battery-draining apps.

4. Smarter Keyboard Options

A big advantage that Android has held over the iPhone lo these many years has been the keyboard functionality. The lack of predictive text & zero integration of third-party keyboard apps has held Apple back from becoming more of a mainstream option.

Clearly, the folks at Apple have realized this, and are introducing both capabilities into iOS 8, with one major differentiator– predictive text will be smarter, and will actually learn from your typical writing habits. We all have our separate personalities when writing messages to our friends then when sending emails to clients (for the most part), and Apple promises that iOS 8 will incorporate this into its predictive text learning capabilities. Whether it works or not (or gives us hilarious results like AutoCorrect does), is another story.

5. Health

As a daily user of both the FitBit and Lose It! apps, I am very pleased to see Apple incorporating the health of us overweight, out-of-shape Americans into iOS 8. With the back-end HealthKit technology, developers will have the ability to include their applications into a single, useful interface that allows us to track our daily activities, medications, chronic conditions, etc. While all of the other things I’ve mentioned in this post are very cool, Health is definitely the most important.

 

What features are you most looking forward to in iOS 8?? I know there’s a ton more coming out, and I’ll probably draft several posts about this in the meantime, but, in my opinion, these are the top. Do you feel the same way?

All images in this post courtesy of Apple

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