Apple Inc on Monday announced a new iOS 8 operating system for mobile devices and OS X Yosemite for Macs. While Apple did not announce a smart watch, as many had expected it to, the integration of a Health app that “gathers the information you choose from your various health apps and fitness devices” suggests Cupertino is working on at least a fitness band for sure.
Both the new operating systems commandeer the power of the cloud like never before to make sharing much more easier. So iOS 8 comes with iCloud Photo Library for accessing photos and videos more easily across devices, Family Sharing to share purchases, photos and calendars within a household and iCloud Drive to store files and access them anywhere. Obviously, the OS X Yosemite too has iCloud Drive, but it also adds new features like Handoff that lets users “start an activity on one device and pass it to the other” as well as Instant Hotspot to use the iPhone’s hotspot much more easily than before.
Yosemite’s stand out feature will, however, be its ability to make iPhone calls using your Mac as a speakerphone. Plus, SMS and MMS messages will now appear on all devices and you will be able to send them out from the Mac as well.
iOS users on the other hand will no longer have to leave an app to reply to a message. They will be able to swipe down a message and reply. The same works for all new notifications. The Tap to Talk feature allows users to share voice as well as videos and photos within Messages. Group messaging now comes with the ability to add and remove contacts, leave a conversation and the option to not be disturbed.
“iOS 8 offers simpler, faster and more intuitive ways to use your device with incredible new features like iCloud Photo Library, a new Messages app, the QuickType keyboard and an entirely new Health app,” said Craig Federighi, Apple’s senior vice president of Software Engineering. “We’re also giving developers amazing new tools to make managing your health and your home from your devices an integrated, simple and secure experience.” The operating system also comes with Apple’s QuickType keyboard which the company claims is “smarter and more personalised, and intelligently” with the ability to take context into account, such as who the recipient is and in which app you’re typing. So QuickType understands you and your typing habits, suggesting favourite phrases, so you can write entire sentences with just a few taps. What the keyboard learns is encrypted on your device and never sent to the cloud.
The iOS 8 beta software and SDK are available immediately for iOS Developer Program members, and will work on devices from iPhones 4s and iPad 2 onwards. Mac users on the other hand can participate in the OS X Beta Program for Yosemite this summer (www.apple.com/osx/preview ) and download the final version for free from the Mac App Store this fall.