Apple WWDC: 5 amazing features of iOS 8

Apple has unveiled the latest version of its mobile operating system at its annual developers conference - here we list the top 5 features of iOS 8

03 Jun 2014


Apple has unveiled the latest version of its mobile operating system with features that allow you to control your home appliances from your iPhone or iPad.

Apple I OS 8 Launch

(Credit: AP) 

Other key features of iOS 8 include a health app to help monitor health and fitness across various apps and devices, an overhauled, simplified messaging system and the introduction of widgets.

It was launched at Apple's WWDC developers conference in San Francisco, alongside the latest version of its software for Mac computers - dubbed OS X Yosemitie.

But for now, here are 5 things we love about iOS 8.

1) iPhone to become the hub of the smart home

With the launch of iOS 8 Apple enters the arena of the connected home. The connected home is made up of connected appliances and devices which are controlled by individual smartphone apps - the so-called 'internet of things'.

However with the new HomeKit software, Apple hopes to make controlling the smart home simple. The idea is to control all of these devices through one centralised location - your iPhone and its Siri voice command function.

You will be able to group together numerous devices, so they can be switched on and off at the same time - such as when you go to bed, or leave home for work.

Apple said you will be able to switch off your lights, lock your door, and control your thermostat - all by saying "going to bed" into your phone. Apple is already working with firms such as Philips Lighting and Honeywell on HomeKit.

2) Monitor your fitness levels through your iPhone

Health and fitness tech is a massive trend this year and now Apple has joined the party. It unveiled its own Health app as well as a developers' kit called HealthKit which works with non-Apple devices such as those from Jawbone and Fitbit.

You'll be able to collate data from your various health apps and fitness gadgets to get a 'clear and current overview in one place' from calories burned and steps taken, to how well you are sleeping and eating.

Apple said: "With your permission, each app can use specific information from other apps to provide a more comprehensive way to manage your health and fitness."

It said data could be shared between a blood pressure app and a hospital app in the event of irregular readings, or between a nutrition app and a fitness app to show how many calories you're getting through each day and use it to inform your exercise regime.

3) Messages get simpler

Ever suffer finger-tapping fatigue? With iOS 8 you can simply record a voice message instead of bashing out a text.

Record an audio message of your voice or a video message and send it to any contact in a simple swipe.

Like a catty three-way chat with pals? The WhatsApp-style feature of group messaging comes to iOS too. And when you've had enough you can show yourself to be busy.

Typing gets simpler too, with a 'smarter and more personalised' predictive typing tool - QuickType - that learns how you write and suggests entire phrases as well as words.

It understands who you're writing too and in which app you are doing it - very subtle.

4) Start work on Macbook, finish on iPad

With iOS 8 you can pick up a task that you began on your Apple desktop or laptop and finish it on your iPhone or iPad. Apple calls this feature Handoff.

As well as picking up work projects and spreadsheets, this also works for calls and messages. So start a call on your iPhone and finish on your MacBook.

5) The wonderful world of widgets

With iOS 8 widgets come to Apple devices. What are they? They are tiny icons that live in the Today section of your notifications centre.

They give you an overview of information on things like sport and news, and also allow you to reply to messages and bid for goods online at eBay - as demonstrated on-stage at WWDC - directly from the widget.

iOS 8 is set to be released in Autumn 2014. Stay tuned for more news!