Apple reveals iOS 8, third party keyboards can be made the default input method

Apple’s Worldwide Developer Conference WWDC 2014 has now started. So far today it’s all been talk about software. Despite some rumours about new Apple iPhones and an Apple iWatch appearing no new hardware has been shown at the time of writing. What we do have is information about the latest Apple Desktop OS called OS X Yosemite and also about the Apple mobile OS called iOS 8. Since TechAssimilate focuses upon mobile and wearable gadgetry we are going to focus on the improvements on offer in the latest iOS.

iOS8

“iOS 8 is the biggest iOS release ever”

But they always say that don’t they? Anyway the marketing blurb tries to back up the above subheading by saying that every enhancement and new feature put into iOS has been carefully considered, has a purpose and creates a better experience. That definitely is different to iOS 7’s launch! When launched iOS7 was rather glitchy and noticeably slowed my not-so-old iPad mini.

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Apple headlines the improvements to iOS 8 in this order:

  • Photos: The iCloud Photo Library allows you to view, share and edit every photo in your collection on any of your Apple devices. Photo finding and filtering is said to have been improved and editing enhanced with new tools.
  • Messaging: Messages have been enhanced by making them more than simple text and adding video, photo and audio message recordings. Messages can also include location sharing which is definitely handy if you are going to meet up somewhere new or unfamiliar.
  • Notifications: Apple has brought in new more natural notifications which can pop up within other programs and be acted upon there and then. Apps which can implement the extended enhanced notifications include; Messages, Calendars, Mail, Reminders and some 3rd party apps once updated for iOS 8.
  • Smartest keyboard ever: Well, this has been a long time coming. Apple has implemented a new smarter keyboard which can attempt to suggest your next word. Also with iOS 8 users will be able to choose from third party keyboards for the first time ever. This is great news as Android has lots of great input methods to choose which are much faster than thumb typing and some of those will surely come to iOS 8. Even Windows Phone 8.1 has implemented a swiping and predictive keyboard now so Apple was definitely lagging in this department.

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Other improvements lower in the pecking order, but which may be important to you, include a new family sharing feature where users can share their iTunes stuff with up to six others, iCloud Driver which can work on your devices and Mac and PC, Health trackers (getting ready for the iWatch?), better inter-Apple connectivity so you can work between your devices more efficiently and also an improved Spotlight search function which is smartly context sensitive.

Is there anything in iOS 8 any readers are particularly looking forward to? I particularly like the new keyboard options – this is so important especially on a smartphone when people ask you complicated things in a text message! SwiftKey as the default keyboard in iOS 8 – yeah…

Mark Tyson

Mark has worked for a number of years as a newshound on other technology news websites. He decided to write for Tech Assimilate thanks to this web site's open embracing vision of the fascinating world of personal technology. Mark has also worked in the printing and advertising industries for tens of years previously.

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