iOS 8 has many of Yosemite’s new features, including the Spotlight changes and the addition of Continuity.
Another new feature is interactive notifications: when you receive a text message notification, you can reply right from the notification by pulling it down, even if the screen is locked. You can also accept or decline a calendar event notification the same way.
The Mail app has undergone some major changes: it’s integrated new functions with well-known iOS gestures – for example, swiping away an email will delete it, while a simple swipe will bring up the “Mark as read/unread” and “Flag” buttons. Another great feature is that when composing a message, it is a floating window that you can pull down to search for other emails, then tap to resume it. The Mail app also scans your email in order to make smart suggestions, like creating new contacts or adding events to your calendar. It is also context aware and it learns, so if you are sending an email saying “the meeting was ” to your boss it will suggest a word like “good,” but if you are sending that email to a friend it will suggest a word like “awesome.” All these learning patterns are stored locally to protect your privacy.
The Messages app now allows naming threads, adding/removing people to/from threads, muting threads, and leaving a thread. You can also share your location so your contacts can see it in the Messages app. A really useful feature is that if you receive a voicemail and your iPhone is locked, you can just put it near your ear and it will play the message automatically.
Another feature getting a lot of press is HealthKit, a set of APIs that developers can use to create third-party health and fitness apps that will feed data to a new Apple app called Health. Instead of tracking your blood glucose, heart rate, and sleeping patterns across multiple apps, you can simply open Health to see all the biometrics that you’ve given permission to share with Health.
iOS 8 also introduces Family Sharing, allowing you to configure a set of devices to share photos, notes, and purchases (movies, music and books). Parents can also find their children’s devices if they get lost, and accept or decline purchases that their children want to make from an account attached to their credit card. This last feature is likely a reaction to the fact that last year Apple refunded $32.4M because of unauthorized purchases.
Continue reading about Swift in Part 3.
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