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iOS 8 and Yosemite are the next step in unconstrained computing

Christopher Breen | Sept. 26, 2014
Apple's WWDC announcements were big news for end-users and developers. But what about corporate customers? Here's what iOS 8 and OS X Yosemite will mean for them.

App cramp for all
Some people accustomed to using a Mac were frustrated that iOS allowed for so very little communication between apps. For example, on a Mac it's no challenge to expand a text snippet into just about any app using Smile's TextExpander. And it's the work of a moment to enter a password, personal data, or credit card information into a Safari page with AgileBits' 1Password. Yet to do these things with the iOS versions you had to launch a separate app for each. Thanks to iOS 8's app extensions this is no longer the case.

TextExpander 3 + Custom Keyboard lets you expand snippets through a custom keyboard. And 1Password 5 can be accessed via a Safari extension so that you needn't leave Safari to dig up information held by 1Password. It's early days for both apps (and certainly for iOS 8) but it shows the way forward--a day when you're not jumping from app to app to perform simple tasks.

And speaking of the frustration of moving between apps, consider text messages. You receive a text on your iPhone under iOS 7 and you have to launch Messages to deal with it. Really? A communication so immediate demands you launch an app? Not with iOS 8's Quick Reply. Now, just swipe the message on the lock screen or pull down on the notification at the top of the screen and dash out your reply. Done.

Reaching out
Another constraint was sharing media and information between a close-knit group. Yes, you could share calendars between family members but sharing apps and media was a pain requiring that you create an Apple ID and use it on all the devices you wanted to share with. iCloud's Family Sharing puts a dent in this problem by allowing you to use one account to control all shared content. In its current implementation it's not perfect, but it too demonstrates Apple's desire to tear down walls.

And then there's cloud storage. Storing documents in iCloud makes sense, and it was a welcome feature when iCloud was introduced. But limiting access to just a handful of Apple apps made far less sense. Opening up iCloud storage to all comers on a computer and compatible apps on iOS devices via iCloud Drive (which will be implemented with Yosemite) means fewer trips to Dropbox or Google Drive or OneDrive. Granted, the ability to then share these files with others would be welcome, but at least we'll have fewer occasions to play the "Oh, this one goes to iCloud and that one goes to Dropbox" game.

And finally, with iOS 8 and Yosemite, your devices can better reflect the Web's knowledge. Instead of pulling up Spotlight to search just the contents of your device, it can make queries beyond that device and tap the power of Wikipedia, news sources, Apple's stores, and the Internet at large.

 

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