Apple has begun issuing a beta version of iOS 8.4 to developers with a focus on overhauling its Music app and providing Apple Watch app development support within the software development kit (SDK).
"With this software, you can develop apps for iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch running iOS 8. It now includes WatchKit, a framework for developing Apple Watch apps. You can test your apps using the included iOS Simulator," Apple said.
The release is clearly at an early stage with Apple's notes to developers warning of several known issues like certain features not working or causing devices to crash. A video below shows the layout and new features in the Music app update in iOS 8.4
The fact iOS 8.4 beta is already rolling out soon after the release of iOS 8.3 shows how quickly Apple is moving to continually advance its software. The iOS 8.3 release fixed numerous security bugs and brought WiFi calling to EE customers.
EE’s WiFi Calling service allows people to make calls over a WiFi network if there is no phone signal available. It does not need an app and works natively with the phone’s dialler and contacts.
The service is free to use and does not require the person at the other end to be on EE or WiFi. It now works on iPhone 5S, 5C, 6 and 6 Plus devices, and the Samsung Galaxy S6 and S6 Edge.
The iOS 8.3 update is 223MB in size for those on the most up-to-date version of iOS, and takes around five minutes to download and a further five to 10 minutes to install.
The update includes a redesign of the ‘emoji’ keyboard to display more images and improve navigation.
Numerous fixes are also included, such as remaining in contact with WiFi networks, improved performance and stability when rotating devices between portrait and landscape, and a bug where "device orientation appeared upside down after pulling the iPhone 6 Plus from your pocket".
The latter was a problem experienced by V3 during testing of the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus.
There are also many security fixes in the update, some of which were identified by security researchers at Google, one of Apple's main rivals. FireEye and Samsung had also raised security concerns that Apple has now fixed.
To date 78 percent of Apple iOS devices in the market are running some form of iOS 8, compared with 20 percent on iOS 7 and just two percent on iOS 6 or lower. Apple will hope that the new updates, including WiFi Calling, push this higher.
However not everything has gone smoothly with iOS 8.3, with some users reporting their TouchID fingerprint scanner does not work when used for trying to approve app purchases.
If Apple decides to issue a fix for this it is likely to be a minor rollout, likely termed iOS 8.3.1, rather than having to wait for the full iOS 8.4 release.
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