WWDC iOS 8 Feature Preview
Apple announced the lifetime sales of over 800 million iOS devices, 130 million of which were new Apple customers within the last 12 months. 89% of iOS devices have been upgraded to iOS 7. What does this mean? There’s a ton of potential customers out there for your app!
Craig Federighi, VP of Apple Software Engineering, announced some of the new features that will be available in iOS 8 when it is released in the fall. Here’s a quick overview:
New, advanced, interactive notifications. For example, reply to an incoming Message or accept/decline a meeting invite without leaving whatever app you’re currently in. The new Notifications can be accessed right on the Lock Screen. Developer’s will be able to create their own “actionable notifications” to take advantage of this new feature and since they can be interacted with on the Lock Screen, they create a whole new class of “Widgets,” bringing feature parity with Android.
Easily mark an email as Unread, Flag it, or Delete via distinct swipe gestures. When creating a new message, swipe down to temporarily move the Draft out of the way so you can review other Mail and then quicly return to finish the email.
There are new “language models” underneath auto-correct. New predictive typing that learns how and what you type, uses the context of who you are communicating with, and how (Mail or Messages) to offer suggestions to complete your sentence or phrase.
Handoff & Continuity
Compose an email on your iPhone and finish/send on your Mac. Start an iWork document on your Mac and seamlessly switch to editing with iPad. Use a Mac or iPad to answer phone calls and SMS text messages.
Easily share documents between Mac, PC (yes, Windows), and iOS. Custom applications can integrate with the existing iOS ecosystem and other third party apps.
Improved Device Enrollment Program including a new auto-configure capability, improve passcode protected encryption, and VIP email threads.
A new framework to enable communication between health and fitness apps like an activity tracker, heart rate monitor, and more, designed with security and privacy in mind.
Improved capabilities for custom applications to integrate with photos for editing, sharing, and even working with the built-in camera. Includes new features of iCloud Photo Library.
Share iTunes, iBooks, and App Store purchases amongst up to six family members, using the same credit card. Also a new “Ask for Permission” alert that parent gets to approve purchases by children.
Add functionality (extend) built-in apps and offer service to other custom apps. Controlled by the user to allow or limit access as they desire. Lots of possibilites in this category.
New App Store Features
- Explore tab – browse categories and sub-categories
- Improves searching: Continuous scroll, trending, and related searches
- Editor’s choices (Apple will help you find great apps)
- App bundles (multiple apps for one price)
- App previews (short movies uploaded by developer)
- Usage analytics to developer through the App Store
- TestFlight – beta testing to end users
My Two Cents
There are a lot of cool new features and this is just from the first day of WWDC! I am particularly impressed with App Extensions, the new Interative Notifications, and Handoff/Continuity.
App Extensions allow any app to enable custom functionality to Share content, perform a simple Action, edit photos or videos, and provide a document storage location that can be used by other apps. App Extensions also power the new Android style the interactive widgets in the Today View of Notification Center and custom keyboard layouts the user can choose in place of the system keyboard for all apps on the device.
Handoff is a really cool feature that leverages the integration between Mac OS X and iOS. Continuing an email on your iPhone that you started on your Mac or answering a phone call on your Mac that you’re receiving on your iPhone are very useful features. Custom applications can utilize the Handoff for handling activity between devices (like iPhone to iPad or iPad to Mac.) Nothing comparable is available on Android, yet. Apple can offer these features because of its tight control and framework integration.