Apple Unveils iOS 8 and OS X Yosemite
There are some things that happen so regularly that it almost doesn’t deserve to be considered news. The sun rose this morning. Apple showed off a new iteration of both iOS and OS X at their Worldwide Developers Conference (WWDC). Apple fans hailed it as the greatest thing since sliced bread. Something expected to be great was compared to sliced bread. You know, the usual stuff that is somehow still news.
Anyway, let’s start with iOS 8. The big addition this year is predictive typing feature called Quicktype. If you’ve used a BlackBerry or Android phone, you know how this works. You start typing and the phone will give you suggestions for the next words you’re likely to type. Quicktype is also supposed to include an algorithm that tailors your suggestions based on who you’re communicating with so your suggestions would be typical of what you say and how you say it to a particular person.
The next iOS will also include HealthKit. The long-anticipated suite of health information tools will monitor such things as heart rate, caloric intake and all that other health jazz. HealthKit is believed to be part of the key part of the offerings in the long-rumoured iWatch.
iMessage also gets a bit of an overhaul. The notification centre will allow you to answer messages from right inside the centre. You can send audio messages as part of a message thread now. (I’m pretty sure my HTC One has that so welcome to last year.) Do Not Disturb functionality has been added to individual message threads. The best part might the ability for the new iMessage to push messages to your OS X computer and you can deal with them there rather than having to keep your phone at your side at all times. Microsoft should poach that for the next Windows Phone update.
Also in iOS 8 will be a new development platform for smart homes and smart home devices called HomeKit. The idea is to allow you to use your iOS device to control the various appliances in your house. There is also a new functionality that allows apps to use and users to install third-party keyboards. I guess that’s a big deal.
And for the much smaller group of people who are on OS X (let’s face it, Apple’s money-maker is their iOS devices now), Apple had some updates for them. This year, they’re getting OS X 10.10 Yosemite which immediately reminds me of the opening scene of The Newsroom.
Yosemite includes a UI redesign that is said to reminiscent of iOS 7 and a visual redesign of Safari. The Notification Centre and Spotlight apps have undergone overhauls. There is also a new feature called Continuity that allows your iOS and OS X devices to work together more efficiently.
So, as usual for one of these WWDC updates, there are some good ideas, some inconsequential ideas and some “it’s about bloody time” ideas. I really do like the idea of Continuity and I really do believe Microsoft should steal that to make Windows Phone more appealing to users. Most people have Windows computers. Making Windows Phones almost symbiotic with Windows 8 PCs would be a brilliant move, especially in the business market with BlackBerry faltering.