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20+ iOS 8 features Apple didn't talk about

Serenity Caldwell, Dan Moren | June 4, 2014
Apple's Monday keynote at its Worldwide Developers Conference was jam-packed with information about the company's new operating systems and development tools. As such, it's no surprise that a slide entitled "iOS 8 features we didn't have time to talk about" made only a lightning-brief appearance. But we picked through that slide to find some of the intriguing new features you may not have realized were coming to iOS 8 this fall.

In case of emergency card: Included in iOS 8's new Health app is a card containing important personal medical details, such as existing conditions, allergies, and emergency contacts. It's one of those features that you hope you never really need, but would be plenty glad it's there if you do.

Calling, communication, and travel

FaceTime call-waiting: If you're a popular FaceTime conversationalist, you may find yourself receiving an invitation to talk while you're already on a call. iOS 8 will offer call-waiting for those video (or audio) chats, meaning you could put your current conversation on hold while you field a new one.

Wi-Fi calling: We've all been there: You need to make a phone call, but your cellular-network signal is pretty weak. With iOS 8, if you have a strong Wi-Fi connection — and your carrier supports it — you can make calls and send text messages over the Internet. T-Mobile has already said that it will be onboard when iOS 8 launches this fall; we expect we'll hear more from the other carriers in the not-too-distant future.

Rich-text editing in Notes: The built-in Notes app in iOS has never been particularly complicated, but in iOS 8 it finally gets support for rich text. So if you've been dying to bold, italicize, or underline your important personal jottings, iOS 8 is the update for you.

Travel-time notifications: In OS X Mavericks, Calendar let users specify how much time it would take for them to get to an appointment, so that the app could properly notify you when it was time to leave. (In some cases, Calendar could even do that automatically, if it knew where you were and where you had to go.) It looks like that same functionality has come to Calendar in iOS 8 — no surprise, given that the Today view in Notification Center could already often provide that information.

Accessibility

There are a host of new accessibility features in iOS 8. VoiceOver can now use the much more natural Alex voice that OS X has long sported; there's multi-device support for Made for iPhone hearing aids; improved zoom; a "speak screen" action; and support for a Braille keyboard with direct 6-dot Braille input.

The Guided Access feature introduced in iOS 6 gets a few new additions as well. For example, you can now authenticate via Touch ID to exit the Guided Access mode, as well as impose time limits and a countdown timer.

To be determined

As always, there are a handful of things on the slide that weren't self-explanatory. For example, there was a reference to a Tips app (which we assume involves tips for using your device, and not simply calculating your gratuity at a restaurant), the promise of flyover city tours (see Paris without ever leaving the comfort of your home?), and place cards in other apps (presumably so you know where to sit the next time you visit Downton Abbey). For these, we may have to wait until iOS 8 debuts to get the full details.

 

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