Apple's operating system serves as the foundation for iPhone, iPad and iPod touch. Its newest version, officially launched today for all Apple mobile device owners (at 10 a.m. PST, to be exact), is the much anticipated (and FREE) iOS 8 and comes with big updates you use every day (think Messages and those all-important Photos).
iOS 8 is being touted as a completely new way to share content with your family and friends. Not only that, the new release has improved connections to your favorite apps so you can access some of your favorite parts (without having to actually open them), as well as a new feature that lets your Apple devices communicate with one another, seamlessly - a technology that is entirely new to the industry and one that is amazing.
So, in the grand scheme of things, everyone wants to know if iOS 8 is better than the last version, or if it is easier to use, and most of all, if it is worth downloading.
Update: Although Apple says iOS 8 compatible with the iPhone 4s, early reports discourage installing iOS 8 on the 4s model. Apparently Apple's now 3-year old 4s just doesn't have the horsepower to run some of the new version's best features like Touch ID, AirDrop and the Metal graphics API. And even if you could live without those features, it is said (at least until Apple presumably addresses the issue) 4s models are slowed down, sometimes dramatically.
That being said, there are absolutely no such reports for models above the 4s (namely 5, 5s, 6, 6 Plus), so let's move onto some good news, shall we?
Say what you mean to say with QuickType
While this may sound petty, one of the most aggravating aspects of iOS 7 was the auto-correct function - particularly when it came to sending text messages. In fact, some of the "automatic" corrections the software input made for outlandish and in some cases bizarre clusters of words only confused, surprised, and in some cases, offended message recipients.
And while we will fondly remember some of the more outlandish social media memes that came from this unsatisfactory software feature, iOS 8 has improved it considerably. Not only that, but the new operating system also includes a brand new feature called QuickType. So now, not only do we see an improved auto-correct function, we also have a Messenger feature that comes with built-in word prediction - thereby doubling your chance to send a sensible message, even when you're in a hurry. And yes, it even includes a great tap to talk feature - one that works mid-conversation and even a real-time translator. Take a look:
This new class of features delivers the benefit of being able to activate special functions within your favorite apps, allowing them to automatically show up in your notifications. In other words, you will be able to see quick-hitting messages from your favorite sports or news app (like baseball score updates, or breaking stories), as they happen.
So with iOS 8, you won't have to stop what you are doing and open your specific app just to check to-the-minute information if you have a widget for it. Here's a glimpse:
If this feature were the only new one iOS 8 had to offer, it would still be well worth it for anyone who owns an Apple mobile device and an Apple computer. It runs off a feature called Yosemite and the technology is called Continuity. Basically it allows iOS mobile device and Mac computers to become seamlessly integrated - right out of the box. For example, with Continuity you can reply to text messages on your Mac Pro or answer a call from your MacBook Air.
Well Continuity doesn't stop there. This array of features will also let you transfer a doc you were working on, on your iPad, and transfer it over to your desktop with just a swipe. Basically, once you have used it, it will be hard to imagine life without it. Yes, Continuity is a show-stopper.
Here's a still photo of Continuity in action:
That might be the first time we've had a laptop photo during an iOS release. But that is how significant Continuity really is.
Note: There is one more feature that you are really going to like called Interactive Notifications. These allow new iMessages or Texts to appear at the top of your display screen and give you the ability to swipe down to open a mini quick-reply window at the top of your screen. And, you can do this without having to leave your current viewing field. Also, very awesome.
A quick step-by-step to easily download iOS 8
OK, ready? Here's what to do (unless you have an iPhone 4s or earlier, in which case I recommend that you hold off for the time being):
- Secure your videos, photos and contacts are secure by plugging your device into a computer, fire up iTunes and select "Backup Now" OR ... go to iCloud.com and choose the backup option.
- You may need to free up some space (you will need at least 1 GB of space for iOS 8). Go to Settings to see if you have it free. If you do, go to step 3. If you don't, click usage and see what you want to delete.
- It's time to rock. Plug your device into a charger and be sure you are connected to a good Wi-Fi source. Go to settings for "software update" and wait to be connected.
Once you have had some time to play with your new operating system, don't hesitate to drop me a note and let me know what you think. I always love your feedback!