Apple confirms 17 September launch date for iOS 8

10 Sep 2014

iOS 8 on Apple devices

Apple has confirmed its new operating system iOS 8 will be available for download to iPhone, iPad and iPod touch devices from Wednesday, 17 September.

The new operating system, which was previewed at The Apple Worldwide Developers Conference (WWDC) in San Francisco, California, in June, comes with more than 4,000 new APIs and is compatible with Apple’s new HealthKit and HomeKit internet of things technologies.

New features users can expect with iOS 8 include the ability to send voice messages using Tap to Talk, and group messaging that lets users roam in and out of conversations.

The Photos app in iOS 8 brings new editing tools to users’ fingertips, including the ability to adjust colour, straighten horizons and adjust light with just the swipe of a finger.

New APIs for Photos will enable developers to create their own filters and editing tools.

Another new feature is Apple’s new QuickType keyboard, which takes into account context such as the recipient of the message, in order to suggest favourite phrases and write sentences in a few taps.

Unified comms across all devices

The new operating system comes with a new unified messaging platform called Continuity, which allows users to start an activity, such as a phone call on one device and pass it on to another device. In addition, using Instant Hotspot technology, messages that only appeared on a user’s iPhone can appear in Messages on all devices. Users can also make or receive iPhone calls using their Mac as a speakerphone.

The new Health app gathers the information from various fitness apps in one location. Healthcare providers can use this data and share it through apps, such as Mayo Clinic or Epic’s MyChart app.

The new HomeKit comes with a common protocol that enables iPhones or iPads to be used to manage connected devices, such as lights, thermostats and door locks.

Another new feature is Family Sharing, which allows everyone in a family to create a shared photo stream and calendar, as well as locate family members and their devices.

The new OS also comes with the new iCloud Drive service, which makes it possible to store, access and edit documents of any type in the cloud.

“We’re excited for hundreds of millions of users to begin experiencing iOS 8, with incredible features that offer new ways to use your iPhone, iPad or iPod touch,” said Craig Federighi, Apple’s senior vice-president of software engineering.

“iOS 8 also creates an extraordinary environment for developers, providing them the ability to create amazing new apps like never before.”

John Kennedy is a journalist who served as editor of Silicon Republic for 17 years