Apple announced iOS 8 at the keynote event of its annual Worldwide Developers Conference today. iOS 8 gets revamped notification features, an upgrade to the keyboard’s auto-correct functionality, and the rumored health tracking feature and companion app, called HealthKit.
Interactive notification lets users pull down notifications and interact with them to respond to text messages or other actions without leaving the current open app, or complete actions from notifications shown on the lock screen.
A new feature in the iOS keyboard, called QuickType, adds predictive typing suggestions that adapt to the current context. QuickType learns each users habits and language while protecting privacy.
Messages gets the ability to name conversation threads, add and remove people from group conversations, allow users to leave group conversations. Users can also share their location right within Messages and quickly send audio messages and add them to images, and create video messages without using the Camera app.
HealthKit is a new feature that will gather and consolidate users’ health information from multiple sources and apps, such as those from Nike and Fitbit.
Siri gets several updates, with the ability to be invoked hands-free with the phrase “Hey, Siri” along with Shazam voice recognition, 22 new dictation languages, streaming voice recognition to show users search results as they speak, and more.
A new extensibility feature available to developers through the iOS 8 SDK will allow the safe sharing of information between apps and allow apps to show data in Notification Center within widgets. This extensibility will also allow the installation of system-wide 3rd-party keyboards. Significantly, developers will also be able to use TouchID to protect their apps while user data is kept private.
A new Family Sharing feature lets families share photos, calendars, reminders, and more among up to six family members at once.
iOS 8 will be available to developers as a beta today and it will be released to the public in the fall.
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