As Apple releases yet another sure hit in the line of their industry leading iPhone
So do they make yet another old model obsolete. Every year as the latest edition of the iPhone (in this years case the iPhone 6) is released we are proudly shown all the bells and whistles capable of the new device running the latest iPhone firmware. However, quietly, behind the scenes each time this occurs, another older model of iPhone becomes upgradable. Each new firmware requires more CPU power and so with each one there are older models than cannot handle it. That is not to say however that all upgradable iPhones should be upgraded. Many of us have distinct memories of upgrading our oldest still upgradable iPhone to a new firmware, only to find that while it will install its performance was far from smooth and we were now the owners of an Apple branded glitch machine. Upgrading is enticing, but before you scramble to download the new firmware on its September 17th release date, take a look at what to expect in this new round from Apple. Some of these features are prominently advertised, while others are aimed more at developers. All are interesting and most worth noting, as large or small they will add something to the experience. Reminder: The iPhone 4 and older are not upgradable. iOS 8 is supported on all “currently sold” devices.
1. Messages Meets WhatsApp
The native iOS messages app has added some features that may be familiar to users of other messaging apps such as WhatsApp. You now have the ability to send voice recordings as well as video recordings within the conversation. As with any pre-existing feature, when Apple does it, they make sure to add their own fancy spin. While you have the option to simply press play on voice messages received in the app, you can also lift the phone to your ear and the message will begin to play. A relatively simple but much needed feature has also been added, as you can now send multiple videos and photos at once without selecting your library every time for each picture. iOS 8 also provides some more control over group messages, allowing you to title them, more easily control their users, and leave the conversation at any time. Location sharing is also native within the app.
2. Predictive Typing
Again, a feature that has long been available across a variety of smartphone platforms for many years is being brought to the iPhone at last with Apple promising an experience that trumps any other predictive typing interface. At risk of sound like something out of a dystopian novel, iOS 8 boasts
It knows whom you’re writing to.
And it knows what the conversation is about.
iOS 8 knows your text messaging style.
It knows how you email.
Apple’s predictive text securely stores your conversation history and context, and gradually learns your style and conversational tone, predicting what you might say next. This feature works not only in texts but also in e-mail and will support third party keyboards. Apple also claims that the word suggestions will actually be different depending on whom you are writing too, making “word choices that are appropriate for your coworker, your best friend, and anyone else you’ve had conversations with.”
3. Apple Health
Apples new native health app stores all the health information you can throw at it. By supporting a combination of app generated health stats such as Nike+ or Fitbit, and self-inputted information like cholesterol levels, blood sugar, and weight, Apple Health will provide a picture of your current physical status and help you reach your fitness goals. Since the partnership between Nike and Apple began, Apple has made clear that incorporating fitness into their culture and devices was part of their plan. This becomes all the more powerful with the new Apple Watch, which can work in conjunction with the health app by providing heart rate and other relevant work out data.
4. Hiding Photos
An interesting addition is the ability to hide certain photos and videos from your camera roll. The implications of this are humorous but perhaps some real utility is also present.
5. VoIP Calling
Skype and Viber have been supporting VoIP calls for quite some time now, and Facetime made communication between Apple devices over Wi-Fi a standard some years back, but Apple is now officially providing support for VoIP calls from one iPhone to another, as well as iPads and Macs. That’s correct, you can now pick up a phone call on your Mac as long as it’s connected through iCloud.
6. Further Touch ID Integration
While this upgraded functionality is reserved for iPhone 6 and iPhone 5S users, it is worth noting nonetheless. The new iOS 8 will support Touch ID logins to certain apps, as well as integrating Touch ID into Apples native Safari web browsing app. The use of Touch ID in apps is dependent on the developers, but ideally offers a new sense of security when publishing certain apps.
7. Battery Usage Info
As close to a native task manager as Apple will come, iOS 8 will offer its users the ability to see which apps are taking up the most energy at any given point, allowing you to conserve battery and make prioritized decisions. It will also tell you how much battery things like turning off your cellular or data can save.
8. Credit Card Scanning
The iPhone 6 will finally feature NFC technology as Apple rolls out “Apple Pay” and expands the use of “Passport” to feature credit cards from a number of supporting banks. While the NFC is obviously limited to the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 plus, Safari will support scanning of the credit cards for use in online payments.
9. iOS 8 Camera Time Lapse
While the actual specs on the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus cameras have not gotten any better (much to many phone photographers dismay) Apple is adding a new feature into its camera app. You’ll now be able to take time lapses with your iPhone, so prepare for an overwhelming flood of time lapse Facebook posts.
Handoff is a neat feature that furthers the integration between all your Apple devices. You can pick off on your mac where you left off on your iPhone when performing a number of actions such as writing an e-mail that you didn’t get the chance to finish.
iOS 8 September 17th
Over all iOS 8 is another solid upgrade for modern iPhones. While the first version of any firmware tends to be a bit buggy, iOS 8 will surely see the usual battery complaint issues before being smoothly adopted by the majority of the Apple crowd.