10 Major iOS 8 Enhancements You'll Discover on Sept. 17

1 - 10 Major iOS 8 Enhancements You'll Discover on Sept. 17
2 - iOS 8's Design Looks Comfortably Familiar
3 - There Is a Greatly Enhanced Messages Experience
4 - Predictive Typing Comes to the Keyboard
5 - There Is Family Sharing for Consumers
6 - iCloud Drive Works Across Platforms
7 - You Can Connect Macs to Mobile Devices
8 - Step Into a Smarter Spotlight
9 - An Apple a Day Keeps the Doctor Away
10 - Expect Better Apps, Thanks to More Developer Support
11 - It's Free and Works With Most Devices
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10 Major iOS 8 Enhancements You'll Discover on Sept. 17

by Don Reisinger

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iOS 8's Design Looks Comfortably Familiar

The design has been improved in iOS 8, but it's not a major departure from iOS 7. In fact, current iOS 7 users will feel right at home in iOS 8. While last year's iOS launch delivered a major graphic overhaul, this time around, the updates are in the features. The apps all look about the same, the icons are identical, and maneuvering through the operating system hasn't changed. Those who like iOS 7's design will approve of iOS 8's look and feel.

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There Is a Greatly Enhanced Messages Experience

The Messages app is far more capable in iOS 8 than it has ever been. The application now supports voice recording and lets users drop out of a group message whenever they wish. The app also includes location support so users can quickly share where they are with friends. One other important feature: Users can send multiple photos and videos at the same time.

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Predictive Typing Comes to the Keyboard

Apple is trying to make it easier to type out long messages in iOS 8. To achieve that goal, the company is using predictive typing. As users type out messages, the software analyzes the input and uses context clues to offer some suggestions. Apple claims it will result in faster typing. We shall see.

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There Is Family Sharing for Consumers

Family Sharing could be a boon for, well, families. The technology allows members of a family to share and get immediate access to music, movies, books, apps and other content found on another person's account. The feature does not require users to hand over their Apple ID or password, but easily shares content across devices. It appears to be a nice feature for large families that want to stay in touch and have similar interests.

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iCloud Drive Works Across Platforms

Apple's iCloud Drive lets users work on a wide range of documents, including presentations, spreadsheets, PDF files and more, and then save those to iCloud. As soon as users open up iCloud from another device—including a PC—they're able to access those files and continue working. Edits made on one device are automatically synchronized across other products.

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You Can Connect Macs to Mobile Devices

One of the major improvements to iOS 8 is the way in which the mobile operating system has been integrated to work with OS X. For instance, when a user receives a phone call on the iPhone, a notice of that call pops up on the Mac. Users can also view a Web page on iOS and continue browsing the same page on OS X, as well as see both email messages and text messages on their many devices. The connection between Macs and iOS devices has never been stronger.

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Step Into a Smarter Spotlight

Spotlight, the search function built into iOS, has become much smarter in Apple's latest mobile launch. The feature includes the ability to search through the device, as well as a wide range of Web-based sources, including Wikipedia. The feature is also location-aware, so if users ask for restaurant suggestions in Spotlight, the app will return local options.

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An Apple a Day Keeps the Doctor Away

Health has become an increasingly important component in iOS, and now it's become such a crucial feature that it has its own place in iOS 8. The Health app includes a full dashboard of information, including calories burned, weight tracking and overall fitness. Those who buy an iPhone 6 will find that its inclusion of a barometer means it can track when users climb stairs. There's even an area in iOS 8's Health app that lets users track their vitals.

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Expect Better Apps, Thanks to More Developer Support

Apple has opened up its software to developers in many more ways. The company now allows developers to create apps that use iCloud, TouchID and Health. The company expects to see many more apps hit the App Store that take advantage of the new features in iOS 8, and from this vantage point, that does seem likely.

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It's Free and Works With Most Devices

Compatibility shouldn't be an issue for the vast majority of iOS users out there. Apple says that iOS 8 will work with every iPhone since the iPhone 4S and every iPad since the iPad 2. It'll even work with the fifth-generation iPod Touch. Oh, and one more thing: It'll be available as a free over-the-air download.

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