Apple on Monday unveiled its latest mobile operating system for the iPhone and iPad at its Worldwide Developers Conference in San Francisco, kicking off a week's worth of developer events for the app-building community.
Apple chief executive Tim Cook described the new software as a story of two fronts, adding that it includes new developer hooks to help app makers build new apps like never before.
Senior executive Craig Federighi said on stage that iOS 8 builds on the successes of its predecessor, and lands with a bevy of brand new features.
Included with the new software:
Enterprise features: iOS 8 will land with a number of enterprise-focused and manageability features, including Device Enrollment Program, which sets up your device automatically — like apps, mail, contacts, and more. It also lands with per-message S/MIME, VIP message threads that display on the lock screen, increased security, and third-party document providers.
HealthKit: Originally dubbed Healthbook by rumors and leaks, it's the long-awaited activity tracker that works with third-party apps. It integrates with leading institutions so it can link with doctors and hospitals.
iMessage improvements: You can now name threads, add and remove group message users, and leave "noisy" threads. It also includes push-to-talk over voice or video in short bursts. You can also share your location if you need to meet up with friends or colleagues.
Continuity hand-off: If you're working on your Mac and you need to switch between devices, you can "handoff" to your iPhone or iPad, running iOS 8. Between your mobile and desktop or notebook devices, a notification will appear on any device within a close proximity that allows you to seamlessly carry on working.
iCloud Drive: iPhones and iPads running the latest iOS 8 software will have its own dedicated app for browsing through your iCloud, similar to a cloud-based file manager.
Family Sharing: You can now set up your family as a "unit," so that you can share calendars, reminder lists, and also purchased media — allowing a family to download content across six family members who share the same credit card. If a child in that family wants to buy an app, the purchase can then be authenticated by an adult family member from their iOS 8-powered devices.
QuickType keyboard: New predictive typing suggestions for the following words, allowing users to type out text messages and emails faster. Citing context suggestions, it works out how you type to different people in various styles. Supporting a number of international languages, none of these keystrokes leave the device — citing user privacy.
Interactive notifications: Users can now pull down from a notification and reply there and then, without having to leave the app you're in.
Text messages sync across iMessage: Building on the successes of data-based iMessage, traditional SMS messages will now synchronize across devices to Macs and other iPhones and iPads. So, if you're away from your iOS 8-powered device, you never have to miss a message.
Improved Spotlight search: You can now search for movies in theaters, and music from your own collection and the iTunes Store. Overall, it drags in more data from additional sources, and makes the overall search feature better, faster, and easier to use.
Siri improvements: The voice-activated assistant now comes with Shazam song recognition, and also supports streaming voice recognition. Apple says it has added 22 new dictation languages.
The new software will work with iPhone 4S handsets and later, iPad 2 tablets and later, and iPod touch (5th generation) and later.
iOS 8 will be released later this year, when the iPhone 6 is expected to be announced — around August or September, according to reports.