Apple Previews iOS 8 at WWDC 2014

iOS 8 Preview

Apple announced iOS 8 yesterday at the Worldwide Developers Conference (“WWDC”). iOS 8 is a free update that will be available in the fall for iPad 2 and newer and iPhone 4s and newer. According to Apple, iOS 8 is the biggest release since the App Store was launched.

Most notably, the new version of iOS 8 introduces iCloud Drive, a DropBox competitor that can be accessed by all apps on your device, enhancements to messaging (including the ability to reply to texts within the notification center or the lockscreen), predictive typing for the built-in iOS keyboard (allowing the keyboard to auto-complete your sentences), and app extensions that will allow you to even install a 3rd party keyboard on your iOS device.

In addition to the major additions noted above, iCloud Photo library has been enhanced to allow all of your photos to be stored on your iCloud account (instead of photo streams limitation of your last 1000 photos), the cost of buying additional storage on iCloud has been substantially reduced, group messaging has been enhanced to allow the sharing of time limited audio and video, and muting of conversations (or even exiting a conversation if it becomes too noisy).

The new version of iOS allows users more freedom that has ever been available without Jailbreaking your device. The app extensions allow developers to make it easier to share between apps, and to extend the capability of existing apps with ease. Examples shown during the keynote included the ability to pin an item to Pinterest without leaving the web browser, and to edit a photo using a third party app without physically leaving your camera roll. iCloud Drive for the first time provides a central location to share files with all apps on your device.

Other new capabilities of the operating system include Family Sharing (which allows you to share iTunes purchases, photos and calendars with other family members that use separate iTunes accounts), a new health app (that allows metrics from devices like Fitbit and Withings scales to be shared in one location), and HomeKit (that will allow home automation gear to be controlled from within a single application).

Although not all of these changes have uses that are pertinent to the practice of law, the app extensions should increase productivity and billable hours for most practicing attorneys. I am eagerly anticipating this release as a way to lure me back to using an iPhone as my primary mobile device.

For more information, view the 2 hour WWDC keynote video, or visit Redmond Pie for its iOS 8 walk-through.

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