WWDC: What’s New In iOS 8

Apple News

Can iOS 8 with HealthKit revive struggling iPhone against Android in the market?

As another iteration of the iOS was announced at WWDC, there are many hints about the features of iPhone 6 will consist of when it will be announced in the fall. Disappointingly, iOS 8 is not as a large update compared to iOS 6 to 7.  The great news is that iOS 8 will support devices as early as iPhone 4S, and iOS 8 looks to expand on its functionality to give users more while making their life on an Apple device experience much simpler and efficient. On the other hand, aren’t many of these features on the Android OS already? ios healthkit_final

iOS 8: Overview

A great addition to iOS 8 was the ability to reply to your messages straight from your notifications. Although this feature wasn’t anything new to the smartphone industry, for example, Android users had this ability ever since Ice Cream Sandwich was out Android 4.0 which was in 2012. This feature certainly makes messaging much quicker to do, and less of a hassle when you’re in the middle of reading or in another app. Speaking of quick reply messaging, Apple finally allows users to be able to use a 3rd party keyboard like Swype. Most of all, Apple even improved on their keyboard’s text predictability for excellent efficiency and precision when it comes to typing quickly on a mobile device. This keyboard learns and adapts based on the user’s habits too so it should fit an individual’s typing style. They branded this new feature, “Quicktype” which  is quite similar to the how many Android and Windows phones guesses what the users is about to say next, and gives the user several options to choose from next. Is this innovation or playing catch up?

Widgets on iOS, finally!

iOS 8 widgets showing sports scores and weather

iOS 8 widgets showing sports scores and weather

iOS users will also notice in addition to the quick reply feature on notification center is the ability to have widgets. Yes, widgets, the feature many Android users have bragged about, except Apple has decided that it will be better suited in the pulled down notification center. This allows users to quickly look up something like a sports score or their stocks without having to open an app and go through whatever steps they need to in order to find the team or stock they are tracking. There was nothing really advanced to the industry; however, is new for Apple iOS products and will add improvements to the user experience for iPhone and iPad users.

HealthKit and HomeKit a sign for new products? 

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Apple HealthKit monitoring how you exercise

While the new iOS 8 shown at WWDC  gave some indication on the upcoming products from Apple, none of these future products will be truly innovative. With the new HealthKit SDK, it opens the opportunity that Apple Inc. will develop a wearable tech device like the Sony SmartWatch, and Sony SmartWatch 2. Apple will add to this paradigm, and allow users to check their vital signs while they are working out. Not to mention that the Samsung Galaxy Gear already has such technology, but seems to lack the execution that Apple has to offer. How Apple tackles the Smartwatch market will be interesting. The current luxury watch makers such as Omega, Seiko, Citizens, Rolex, Movado, and etc. already has a strong foothold in terms of dress watches. This will forces Apple to create something classy, durable, and long lasting. Perhaps Apple will appeal to the Millennium generation, and the more hip demographic; however, the more older generations might not be so easily moved.

Smart home technology was also another new addition to iOS, designed to organize for users, the many smart home products available. We say organize as Apple isn’t releasing a smart home product like a door lock, but allowing a central location on iOS that supports many manufacturers of smart home products, that will offer a simple experience for users. Opening the garage door and adjusting your room temperature can all be found in one location! Other smart home tech supported by Apple includes the ability to lock/unlock your door, adjusting your home temperature and lights and many other home appliances. Those products certified by Apple will be supported in this HomeKit app. Again, Apple isn’t inventing anything, all Apple is doing with SmartKit is centralizing the smart home products already available, like the Goji Smart Lock. With the current popularity of smart home technology, the industry could potentially grow much more now that Apple is supporting it and making it much easier to use, will it lead to increases in break-ins, where someone can hack a door lock to gain entry into your home? Or even open your garage? We certainly hope Apple stays on top of the security features to better protect user’s home, otherwise many smart home product producers and users will have a headache and life threatening situations on their hands.

So should you expect anything big coming from Apple?

WWDC’s announcement of iOS 8 demonstrates future products from Apple, like the much rumored SmartWatch and of course, the iPhone 6. A wearable technology like the SmartWatch can definitely take advantage of the HealthKit found in this new mobile OS and will sync with your iPhone and iPad. The iPhone 6 with iOS 8 will get a better typing/touch keyboarding experience on a rumoured 4.7 and 5.5 inch screen that will ease user’s finger movement across the bigger screen. But overall, iOS 8 brought in many features already available on the smartphone market – many can already be found on Android devices. Apple hasn’t innovated too much lately, but more or less, playing catch up to the industry or just refining and doing better of what is already available on the market, like possibly that of the SmartWatch and even improving and influencing smart home technology. Apple normally has no trouble with execution when it comes to new features and products, except for the launch of Maps, so we can assume that SmartWatch and smart home tech will thrive once Apple unleashes them.

Steve is a co-founder of DeviceCritique. He is a technology expert who takes a unique perspective by blending humanity, technology, and business. He visions that there are many untapped technology products that have yet to emerge, and plans to explore those ideas with you in his articles.

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