During Apple's highly anticipated Worldwide Developers Conference keynote address, given earlier this week in San Francisco by senior VP of Software and Engineering Craig Federighi, the company announced the release of a pre-release version of its mobile operating system. The new iOS version will only be available for testing by registered Apple developers, but is scheduled to become available to general users sometime this fall.
The announcement of iOS 8 was the highlight of the entire keynote address and included a number of updates and new features throughout. The following are some of the most anticipated new features.
- Notifications - Apple is introducing a new interactive notifications system that will allow you to respond to alerts without having to exit an app you may already be using. The new system will also allow you to interact with notifications from the lock screen.
- Mail - The new iOS 8 Mail will receive several new interface gestures, which will allow users to flag, delete and mark as unread any mail with a simple gesture.
- Keyboard - The new iOS 8 keyboard will be using predictive typing to speed up input. The system will attempt to predict the words and phrases you are typing and will allow you to add the suggestions to your message if correct. The new keyboard is also a learning system that will attempt to learn key phrases and word that you use most often.
- Messaging - The new messaging features are aimed at supporting more functionality for group messaging as well as editing thread names, sharing your location and a Do Not Disturb setting. Another new feature of the messaging system is a tap to talk system that allows you to send audio or video messages to contacts.
- Family Sharing - iOS 8 will introduce a more efficient system to allow family members to share photos, reminders, locations and other information bits. The updated feature can connect up to six devices and will allow family members to also share purchased movies, TV programs and songs.
- Siri - Apple's digital assistant also receives a few needed enhancements. Siri will now respond to the voice command "Hey, Siri," much like the "OK Google" command many are already used to. Siri will also receive integration with Shazam, which will allow users to identify music playing on the radio as well as using voice command to purchase songs.