iOS 8 to gain (at least) five new first-party apps

A steady stream of iOS 8 tidbits are starting to leak out ahead of developer's summer pilgrimage to San Francisco where the company traditionally shows off its next mobile OS. Here's the latest.
Written by Jason D. O'Grady, Contributor

While all eyes are on iOS 7.1, which was released to the public on March 10, 2014, Apple's been hard at work at the next whole number version of its mobile operating system – iOS 8 – which is expected to debut this June at WWDC. Since Apple hasn't officially announced anything yet the leaks fall squarely into the rumor category and should be taken with a grain of salt.

New apps 

New apps are coming in iOS 8 for Preview, Text Edit, Tips and Healthbook. An image posted to Chinese microblogging website Weibo (since removed) appears to show a first look at some of Apple's new iOS 8 apps. Healthbook is the biggest deal which is believed to integrate with Apple's forthcoming wearable health and fitness "iWatch" hardware. The Healthbook app borrows heavily from the design of Apple's Passbook app and believed to indicate support for monitoring blood pressure (red), heart rate (green) and calories burned (orange).

According to 9to5Mac the new Preview and Text Edit apps will not edit documents like their counterparts in OS X but instead will access documents stored on iCloud. Apple added iCloud synchronization for Preview and TextEdit in OS X Mountain Lion, but hasn't made the documents available to iOS. Those Preview and TextEdit apps are most likely placeholders taken from their OS X equivalents, as Apple has moved to much more flat, two-color icons, like the FaceTime and Tips icons in the screenshot. Tips is believed to be an online help system for iOS which could pull content from existing sources like http://www.apple.com/iphone-5s/tips/.

New iTunes Radio app

Apple's rumored to spin off its iTunes Radio service in iOS 8. iTunes Radio was announced alongside iOS 7 in September, 2013 and is currently available as a tab in the Apple Music app. The service has seen a significant jump in popularity surpassing Spotify to takeover third place (behind Pandora and iHeartRadio) according to a recent report from Statista.

Apple's much-maligned Maps app - Jason O'Grady

Updated Maps with Public Transit

Apple's much-maligned first-party mapping app has been getting a lot of attention by developers in Cupertino and the team has been growing with the acquisition of map companies BroadMap, Embark, and HopStop. An improved version of Maps sporting improved data and public transit directions is due to arrive in iOS 8 reports 9to5Mac.

Goodbye Game Center?

According to 9toMac Apple is considering its under-utilized Game Center app in favor of including its functionality inside of games. The move comes less than a year after Apple overhauled Game Center removing the green felt, casino theme in favor of a much more flat design in iOS 7.

Odds and ends

According to 9toMac Apple is making significant tweaks to some of it most popular app to make them more functional in iOS 8:

  • Data sharing API: Apple is said to be making it easier for app developers to more easily pass data back and forth. Photo editing apps would more easily be able to share with Facebook and Instagram.
  • CarPlay: The ability to work over Wi-Fi, in addition to Lightning cable, in vehicles that support it.
  • Messages: An option to auto-delete threads after a user defined period (i.e. one month or one year).
  • Notification Center: A simplified layout that replaces the "All," and "Missed" tabs with a unified today labeled "Notifications."
  • Voice Memos: Improved controls that are more obvious to the user.

Curiously absent are a number of features from my iOS wish list, including:

  1. Default apps
  2. Lower case keyboard
  3. Third party keyboards
  4. Landscape springboard
  5. Upside-down springboard
  6. Widgets
  7. Menubarlets
  8. Lock screen widgets (more than the fixed options available in Control Center)
  9. Multiple user accounts
  10. Better/more printing options

What do you think of the rumored changes in iOS 8? What's on your wish list? 

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