iOS 8 was released last night, and iPhone 4S, iPad 2 and above users can now upgrade to the latest version. At least older generation devices are not left in the lurch.
But before you rush off to update, read on for the list of key features to expect. Also, make sure you prepare the necessary space for the update – iOS 8 potentially requires up to 5.7GB of free space to install. The number varies depending on device and can increase up to 7GB on some iPad models. You pretty much need to do some storage management if you are using a 16GB device. If you only have an 8GB model, well – good luck. I suggest you find a computer with iTunes to do the update, which helps reduce the free space required.
One more thing to note before upgrading: iPhoto for iOS is not supported on devices with iOS 8 or later. Photo Books, Web Journals, and Slideshows are converted into regular albums in Photos. Text and layouts are not preserved. This could be rather painful if you were a previous big user of iPhoto so take note and backup / export before upgrading.
iOS 8 brings forth many new features, with a focus on integration and making the underlying elements work better. There’s significant third party app support, such as using alternative keyboards, which Android users would probably find amusing since this feature has been available for years. What works better is the third party integration in default apps – such as photos. From the gallery, select edit photos and you have access to the default list of Apple filters. If those aren’t sufficient, third party app filters can be loaded. The transition is almost seamless and the filters are available while retaining the look of the default Apple photo app with no other popups. It makes for a pretty brilliant unified experience and I do hope to see coming to Android soon.
Similarly, Apple’s also now gives users the ability to add third-party widgets to Notification Center. This is a new feature and over time, there will be more developers developing new functionality to take advantage of it. The other aspect on integration is with the other Apple family of devices – you can now receive calls and continue editing draft messages / emails from your iPad or Macbook, offering a seamless interface for Apple ecosystem users.
There’s a whole lot of medical information now added to your iPhone. Apple is going big on medical health and not just limited to fitness tracking. With the new Medical ID, you call up critical and life-saving information such as drug allergies, past medical conditions, which could come in exceptionally handy in times of emergencies. All this is accessible even when the screen is locked so it could be a default go-to page for medical care practitioners.
Apple has big ambitions for this sector. Through HealthKit, regulated medical devices, such as glucose monitors will store historical information. All this data can then be aggregated and viewed by doctors. Already, doctors from Stanford University Hospital, are working with Apple to let physicians track blood sugar levels for children with diabetes. The goal is to improve the accuracy and speed of reporting data and able to arrest a medical condition before it worsens.