iOS 8 Impressions: How Does Apple's Newest Update Measure Up?
We took iOS 8 for a spin and lived to tell the tale. Here's what we thought about it.
After waiting a while for iOS 8 to officially release, it's finally out for download. Having spent some time with it, putting it through its paces and putting it through the wringer, it's clear that iOS 8 is a labor of love that's very much worth upgrading to, and quite possibly the richest-featured firmware Apple's stable has seen in some time. In short, it was worth the wait!
For all intents and purposes, Apple has laid new foundation with familiar core functionality, visual alterations, and interesting changes that not only look great, but feel good as well. It's like a fresh coat of paint and overhaul to a gorgeous building that had already been renovated. It's just as simple as ever to pick up and mess about with as well, a platform that revels in its simplicity and ensures users know how to perform the many new functionalities it brings with it.
One of the most important additions to iOS 8 is the ability for third-party developers to access Apple's native systems such as the Photos app and the iPhone keybaords. What this means for you is that you can now integrate keyboards like SwiftKey and other Swype keyboards. Or, in the case of identification, apps can integrate your fingerprint scanner to authenticate who you are. These additions are extremely useful and speak to a possible future of iOS where even more third-party improvements can push it forward to surpass even other smartphones.
QuickType is iOS 8's proprietary keyboard improvement, which is a more advanced version of the familiar "predictive text" that was all the rage when texting first became more widely accepted. It will learn your writing style and habits and suggest even complete sentences. It can be strange getting used to at first, but once you've used it for a while it begins to feel eerily natural.
Additionally, features such as the "pull down to message" alteration to notifications make things even simpler when communicating with friends. You can send your own video and audio messages, choosing when you'd like for them to "self-destruct," as well as the ability to share your location via iMessage.
Admittedly, however, many of the additions that iOS 8 claims as boundary-pushing and innovative haven't even been fully explored thus far, such as the Health app, which will work in tandem much more beautifully when the Apple Watch finally makes its debut. iCloud Drive is growing into its own as well, making the future Yosemite update one to look forward to, especially given its Handoff feature, as well as Continuity, which connects your iPhone to your Mac in a way that bridges the two devices together in ways you hadn't thought possible before.
Despite the fact that a good portion of features simply aren't fully realized yet or are still being introduced, overall iOS 8 has been an enjoyable collection of new ideas that can only be refined further. As long as Apple continues to put forth the effort to make these improvements, it's likely the next iteration will be even better.