is quite proud of its upcoming mobile update, iOS 8
; the company says that the new version is its biggest mobile release since it created the App Store. Coming this fall, iOS 8 will offer a host of new and gussied-up features as well as a new iOS 8 SDK that will allow developers to create more and better apps.
“iOS 8 offers simpler, faster and more intuitive ways to use your device with incredible new features like iCloud Photo Library, a new Messages app, the QuickType keyboard and an entirely new Health app,” said Craig Federighi, Apple’s senior vice president of Software Engineering in a press release.
The Photos app and iCloud will sync across all your compatible devices for easy access, and Photos will automatically fix little details such as straightening horizons, and any edits you make will sync across the cloud and your devices.
Apple has made Messages more unified and yet easier to use, with a simple swipe or tap to send voice, photo, and text messages; the ability to remove a contact from a group message easily; and more.
The QuickType keyboard is designed to predict and fix your bad typing, intelligently considering context, your recipient, and remembering your oft-used phrases for a sort of whole-sentence autofill.
There’s also now powerful Family Sharing. Up to six family members can share each other’s iTunes, iBooks, and App Store buys, and you can give each kid a separate Apple ID yet maintain parental control over purchases. Further, Family Sharing gives you shared photostreams, synced calendars, and more.
With iCloud Drive, any edits you make to your stored documents will sync across the cloud and all your devices, including PCs. There are also new IT management features for businesses flooded with iOS BYOD devices.
Apple has included the expected health features, too. “OS 8 offers developers the ability for health and fitness apps to communicate with each other. With your permission, each app can use specific information from other apps to provide a more comprehensive way to manage your health and fitness,” reads a press release.
For developers, there are plenty of tasty treats in the iOS 8 SDK. With 4,000 new APIs, the SDK includes HealthKit and HomeKit frameworks to allow developers to take build for the above features. There’s also a new programming language called Swift, and a new graphics technology called Metal lets devs take full advantage of the A7 processor. TouchID APIs will let devs build robust security into apps, too.
The beta SDK is available now, and iOS 8 will come as a free update this fall for iPhone 4s, iPhone 5, iPhone 5c, iPhone 5s, iPod touch 5th generation, iPad 2, iPad with Retina display, iPad Air, iPad mini, and iPad mini with Retina display.