iOS 8 Revealed, Launches This Fall

Apple has announced iOS 8, the latest version of their mobile OS for iPhone, iPad and iPod Touch.  The announcement was made at Apple’s Worldwide Developer Conference, where Mac OS X Yosemite was also announced.

As rumored, iOS 8 marks Apple’s entrance into the health and fitness space with HealthKit.  This new app tracks activity and health-related information, and is compatible with third-party apps like Nike+.  Data captured with the app can be shared with healthcare provides that are part of the Mayo Clinic network, though this is optional.

iOS 8 will add many fan-requested features and brand new functionality.  The keyboard has been updated with QuickType, which can predict the next word you’re going to type.  This has been an oft-requested feature available on other devices.

The notification center has been updated.  Users can now reply directly from a notification and third-party apps can now offer widgets to be displayed on notification center.  Multi-tasking also has a few new tricks up its sleeve.  By double-tapping the home button, not only will you bring up all open apps, but it will also display the people you contact the most.

Apple has also reworked the way group text messages work.  Group messages can now be named, people can be added or removed from the conversation, and you now have the option of sharing tour location.  Users can also send short audio and video messages.

iOS 8 introduces advanced sharing with friends and family with Family Sharing.  Up to six devices can be connected to Family Sharing.  Photos, calendars, reminders and even music, movie and app purchases are all shared under this new feature.  Parents can track their kids on Family Sharing through the phone’s built-in GPS.

In terms of gaming, Apple announced Metal, brand new graphics tech that will be utilized by iPhones and iPads.  EA, Epic Games, Crytek, and Unity have all signed up to deliver games for the platform.  An Unreal Engine 4 demo was shown on stage, alongside a demo of Plants vs. Zombies: Garden Warfare.

iOS 8 will launch sometime this fall alongside iPhone 6, or whatever Apple will call the next iPhone.  The beta is open today for developers.  iOS 8 will be compatible with iPhone 5S, iPhone 5C, iPhone 5, iPhone 4S, iPad Air, iPad with Retina Display, iPad 2, iPad Mini with Retina Display, iPad Mini, and the fifth generation iPod Touch.