Review: Apple iOS 8
2 years ago
New areas of iOS, allowing developers to extend the reach of their app content and functionality. There are over 4000 new APIs to enable amazing features and capabilities.
Apple added a lot of user-facing changes, but the important updates are all aimed at developers. Apple made an incredible number of adjustments to what developers can do with their own apps - the effects of which won't be fully realized for some time. Suffice it to say, apps are about to get a lot better for the iPhone and iPad. Here is Phone Scoop's in-depth look at Apple's latest mobile operating system.
Visual design and interface
iOS 7 was a completely new design compared to iOS6 and earlier versions. WIth iOS 8, Apple builds on the foundation set by iOS 7 without making any massive shifts in appearance. iOS 8's interface is largely. But there are a few changes. As well as your open apps, this now shows circular thumbnails of recently 'used' contacts.
The color palette sticks to pastels and grays. The design is still elegant and modern. The fonts are truly modern in a minimalist way, with ultra-thin letters adorning menus and control panes. Circles are everywhere.
iOS 8's security
iOS 8 allows third-party apps to talk to each other and exchange information, which means you can install widgets and make other changes to system-wide behaviour. And it's possible to download third-party features, such as keyboards, and use them across iOS 8.
The cross-app communication will be allowed to happen only via iOS itself, and that user information will be made available from one app to another if it obtains user permission - much as apps must seek your permission to access your photos or location data currently. All the signs suggest that iOS8 шы far more secure than the alternatives, regardless of the more welcoming approach Apple has taken to third-party customisation.
iOS 8 offers more control over notifications than any other mobile operating system. iPhone owners can manage notifications on an app-by-app basis, can choose from several different notification formats, and can prioritize them to appear in the order they prefer.
The last updates lets developers create their own widgets, which can appear here. The widgets are dynamic and offer a quick peek at updated content that might otherwise remain hidden inside an app.
iOS 8 deletes the "Missed" tab that used to appear in the notification shade. It was reserved for phone calls. Notifications can be set individually to wake the screen for a minute, but doing so impacts battery life. The Notification Center is extremely powerful, but also requires a lot of tweaking. The controls for each individual application are a headache to manage and need a bit of trial-and-error to get right.
The all-new keyboard for iOS 8 is a huge step up from iOS 7. Keyboards are now hot-swappable, although it’s first worth playing around with the revamped default, which implements a system called QuickType. This heavily resembles many Android keyboards, adding three predictive words above the keyboard that you can stab at to speed things along.
Apple is create a keyboard that attempts to adapt not only to what you write but where you write it, offering predictions based on existing content and style. The predictions bar can be removed if you don’t use it or feel it takes up too much screen space, although you won’t want to.
Photos and camera
The Photos app looks little changed, but is a very different beast from its predecessor. First, the editing tools have been significantly beefed up, in part because iPhoto for iOS has been canned. Rotation can now be arbitrary, and there’s more control over colour and light.
The other main change to Photos concerns image storage, and Apple’s at a transitionary point regarding Photo Stream. The company’s long-term plan is to save entire image library in iCloud Photo Library, currently in beta.
Camera gets some minor but welcome updates: manual exposure controls, a delay timer, panoramas on iPad, and a fun time-lapse mode that stitches images together into videos.
Developers can embed their filters and editing tools directly into the Photos app.
Apple made significant improvements to iMessage in iOS 8. For starters, it’s compatible with the Continuity function. That means your Wi-Fi iPad can now send SMS messages to your friends without iMessage by automatically passing the messages through the SMS function on your iPhone. There are also a lot of push-to-talk third-party apps in the App Store, so Apple added a method in Messages to record your voice on the spot.
The Messages app now helps you manage group messages better and makes it easier to browse through all the attachments in a conversation. Group messages let you name the group. Messages has a new Do Not Disturb feature.
The tool for attaching images and video clips is identical. Press and hold the lower left corner to launch the camera/video camera. Interestingly, the default is to take a selfie or self video. If you want to attach an existing image from your photo library a short press (rather than a long press) will open the sharing dialog box. Last, you can also attach your location to a message and send it off to others.
Siri and Spotlight updates
Siri does more than look after the house and save you on your electricity bill. Apple's voice assistant is going to start responding to "Hey Siri" as soon as you update to iOS 8. This safer, hands-free way of activating Siri is joined by the service's ability to identify songs using Shazam's recognition software, purchase iTunes content and recognize up to 22 languages. Siri is also going to become a better listener with iOS 8 thanks to streaming voice recognition. Now the wavy lines and words that appear on screen will match what you're saying in near-real-time.
When voice search isn't feasible in a loud environment, you can turn to the more reliable iOS 8 Spotlight. Like its OS X Yosemite counterpart, it searches Wikipedia, the news, nearby places, the App Store and more.
The increase in extensibility is perhaps the single most important addition to iOS 8. Extensibility pertains to how apps are able to talk to one another. In iOS 7 and earlier, Apple tightly controlled which apps could talk to others when it came to sharing data and information. For example, if you were in the Photo Gallery app and wanted to share a photo, you were limited to several choices (email, SMS, Twitter, Facebook). If you wanted to share a photo somewhere else, such as Instagram, you had to do so through the Instagram app rather than the Photo Gallery app. That's about to change.
Apple has made more extensions available to more apps, which means more apps will be able to talk to and share with others.
While few iPhone apps are advertising their new extensibility at the onset of iOS 8's availability, developers will gradually increase how their apps talk to other apps over time. The end result will be an incredible enrichment in what iOS device owners are able to do with their data in and between apps.
New gaming technologies
SpriteKit enables developers to create high-performance, battery-efficient 2D games. In iOS 8, here added several enhancements that will make 2D games even better. These new technologies will help in-game characters move more naturally and make it easier for developers to add force fields, detect collisions, and generate new lighting effects in their games.
SceneKit enables developers to render game scenes in 3D and is designed for casual 3D gaming. SceneKit incorporates a physics engine, a particle generator, and easy ways to script the actions of 3D objects. It’s also completely integrated with SpriteKit, so developers can include SpriteKit assets in 3D games.
Built for developers who create highly immersive console games, Metal is a new technology that allows them to squeeze maximum performance from the A7 and A8 chips. It’s optimized to allow the CPU and GPU to work together to achieve optimal performance. It’s designed for multithreading, and there are great tools for putting it all together in Xcode.