Apple unveiled iOS 8 at its Worldwide Developer Conference (WWDC) on Monday, complete with a bunch of new enterprise tools and OS X Continuity features.
Apple's iOS 8 software is not a radical overhaul like iOS 7, and instead builds on last year's release. However, the firm had plenty of surprises in store with iOS 8, including OS X Continuity, third-party keyboard support and the ability to add widgets to Notifiation Center.
One of Apple's surprises was the unveiling of raft of new enterprise tools, with the firm boasting that "98 percent of the Fortune 500" are currently using iOS devices. Apple has added improved password security, S/MIME features and VIP threads, so you can keep an eye on important emails. There's also added support for Exchange out of office replies and busy/free notifications in the Calendar, and there is likely more too, with Apple spending just one minute discussing the features.
Of course, not all of Monday's announcement was a surprise, and one of the biggest talking points was Healthkit, which sees Apple looking to challenge the Galaxy S5. Apple’s Healthbook is similar to its rivals offering, enabling users to count calories, steps and excercise, but unlike Samsung's offering, it integrates with third-party applications such as Nike+. Apple's rumoured iWatch device likely will bring more functionality to Healthbook, when - and if - it launches later this year.
Apple's smart home solution Homekit was unveiled too, allowing users to connect supported devices using the pre-installed iOS 8 app, and to manage more than one at once.
It was perhaps the surprises that were most interesting, though. OS X Continuity sees Apple further bridging the gap between iOS and Mac OS X, in particular its new version Yosemite, allowing users to AirDrop files between the two, and to even answer phone calls on their Mac. iCloud Drive was also unveiled, a feature which allows for easier file sharing between iOS and Mac devices. Handoff takes advantage of this - a feature that allows you to start writing an email on your iPhone, to then pick it up on your Macbook device.
Widgets were also part of Apple's announcement, with iOS 8 including the ability for users to bake widgets from the likes of eBay and Pintrest into the Notification Center. iPhone and iPad users will be able to reply to messages straight from the Notifications bar too, and can easily embed voice memos and videos which will "self destruct" unless specified otherwise, which sees Apple looking to challenge Snapchat.
Apple also surprised today with the unveiling of QuickType, a new intelligent word prediction feature which could signal the end of Autocorrect. The firm also announced today that iOS 8 will be the first iteration of the operating system to support third-party keyboards.
Family sharing was also announced, a feature that will allow up to six family members who use the same credit card to share purchases of music, movies and TV shows. Apple noted that parents will get a notification before their kid downloads a film they perhaps should not be watching.
iOS 8 is available to developers from today, and will be available to everyone else in the autumn, likely to coincide with the launch of the iPhone 6. µ
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