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Apple opens up iOS, struts Mac-iPhone-iPad integration

Gregg Keizer | June 3, 2014
At WWDC reveals pieces of iOS 8 and OS X 'Yosemite' to developers, trumpets health and home, touts 'Continuity.'

Cook boasted that iOS 8, this year's iPhone and iPad operating system, was "the biggest release since the launch of the App Store" and required "two stories, not one," which the keynote split into different presentations, one that highlighted end-user changes, another targeting developers.

Both were conducted by Craig Federighi, who leads OS X and iOS development and spent nearly the entire two hours on stage.

While iOS 8 will not be visually tweaked -- that was iOS 7's job last year -- it will include a host of new or enhanced tools.

The Notification Center will be refined to offer in-context, interactive notifications, where a reply to an incoming message, for instance, can be written and fired off without leaving the center or opening an app. iOS 8 will also receive new keyboard skills, dubbed "Quicktype," that support predictive suggestions and opens the iOS keyboard to third-party modifications; the Continuity features; substantial enhancements to Messages, including individual threading and a "do not disturb" by discussion thread; and as reported earlier, song recognition via Shazam.

iCloud Drive will let iOS users access documents system-wide, breaking down the app-specific silos that files have been forced into previously. Content purchased by up to six members of a family, even on different credit cards, can now be shared using Family Sharing, said Federighi. And Photos, iOS's photograph-management app, will now store all photos and video in iCloud for access via any Apple device.

iCloud storage allowances, however, will remain parsimonious: just 5GB for free. Additional plans of 20GB for 99 cents per month and 200GB for $3.99 monthly will be offered; the former represents a 70% discount from Apple's current pricing.

As anticipated by the rumor mill, iOS 8 will include new APIs for an initiative called "Healthkit," and a dedicated app dubbed "Health," as well as "Homekit," the collection of APIs for managing home automation devices from an iPhone.

"Healthkit is a personal medical lock box, where users can put all their health information, then allow only certain apps access," said Moorhead. "Consumers are looking for a trusted name, and Apple's got a good shot at that."

Apple touted the Health app as the place where various health care-related devices and their supporting apps will contribute data to create a more holistic picture of wellness.

The same approach was evident in Homekit, said Moorhead. "Apple's trying to be the epicenter of your digital home life," he said. "Instead of having multiple apps, you will have just one where all your [home automation] devices work together."

iOS 8 will launch this fall -- most likely simultaneously with the newest iPhone -- and will run on the iPhone 4S, iPhone 5, iPhone 5C and iPhone 5S; the iPad 2, iPad with Retina, iPad Air, iPad mini with and without Retina; and the fifth-generation iPod Touch. Developers get the preview today.


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