Apple Delivers iOS 8, Which It Calls 'Biggest iOS Release Ever'

Apple's long-awaited iOS 8 operating system upgrade is now available to users, bringing many new features as well as new risks.

Apple iOS 8

Apple's released its iOS 8 operating system with a full array of new capabilities and new features, but you might want to wait a bit before installing it on your Apple devices, from iPhones to tablets to laptops and more.

As with all new major software packages, early-adopters can run into glitches and issues that later users might not experience, so a bit of waiting can be a good thing to consider. The new OS was made available by Apple on Sept. 17 as part of a scheduled update and is downloadable by all users for free.

Apple is calling iOS 8 "the biggest iOS release ever."

For those who take the plunge and just can't wait for the new iOS 8 to be installed on their devices, Apple said you'll have a lot to enjoy and explore, including enhanced features relating to photos, messaging, file sharing and device interconnections, according to the company.

"iOS 8 comes with big updates to apps you use every day, like Messages and Photos," the company said in its announcement. "A whole new way to share content with your family. And exciting new connections between apps and between devices. All that and more make iOS 8 the biggest iOS release ever."

Among the enhancements are easier ways to find and edit the photos, as well as the ability to add a user's voice into a text message, according to the company. "Let your health and fitness apps communicate with each other, with your trainer, and even with your doctor. We've also provided developers with deeper access and more tools. You'll have new keyboard options and even more ways to share your content. And you'll be able to use iCloud and Touch ID in ways you never have before."

The iOS 8 updates come just two days before Apple is releasing its new iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus smartphones. The iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus smartphones already topped 4 million preorders within 24 hours of the preorder process being opened, Apple announced on Sept. 15. Apple is advising customers that many devices won't be delivered until October due to overwhelming demand.

The new iPhones include the iPhone 6, with its 4.7-inch Retina HD display, and an even larger iPhone 6 Plus, with its 5.5-inch Retina HD screen, according to a recent eWEEK report. The new devices—which come in 16, 64 and 128GB storage capacities—will also come with many other new features and capabilities, making them popular before they've even hit store shelves.

The new phones also include an Apple-designed A8 chip with second-generation 64-bit desktop-class architecture, enhanced iSight and FaceTime HD cameras and the latest iOS 8 operating system. A new, built-in Apple Pay secure payments system will be added to iOS8 as an update in October, according to the company.

Last week, AT&T, Sprint, T-Mobile and Verizon Wireless announced plans about how their customers can obtain the larger, more fully featured phones directly through those carriers, according to an eWEEK report. The offerings are similar, but vary by company and smartphone plans.

Both the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus are available in gold, silver or space gray. The iPhone 6 retails for $199.99 for a 16GB version, $299.99 for a 64GB version or $399 for a 128GB version with a two-year contract. The iPhone 6 Plus retails for $299.99 for a 16GB model, $399.99 for a 64GB model or $499.99 for a 128GB model with a two-year contract, according to Apple. The phones are also being sold through select Apple Authorized Resellers, including Best Buy, Target and Walmart.