After months of waiting, iOS 8 has finally been released for everyone to download and enjoy. The next generation for Apple’s mobile operating system brings plenty of new features. With an upgraded camera app, a new and intuitive health app and much more, this is sure to be an update you won’t want to forego.
In today’s Cult of Mac video, we give you a quick look at what iOS 8 has to offer. Install the new software and take advantage of a number of useful tweaks and enhancements.
iOS changed enormously over the last few years. When the first iPhone was released, the most entertaining thing to do was to watch YouTube videos and try to find a few web-based games. This was a time before apps, multi-tasking, or folders. Looking back, it’s amazing to see how iOS has transformed from a simple touch operating system, lacking a lot of key features, to a true computing behemoth with more features and tools than most iPhone owners will probably ever use.
Today, Apple's mobile operating system graduates to iOS 8, but before you dive fingers first into the new features, et’s take a look at how dramatically iOS has changed since its 2007 introduction.
Steve Jobs described the iPhone's software as a variant of OS X at the iPhone's unveiling, but Apple literature referred to the operating system simply as iPhone OS (it was changed to iOS a few years later). Even though iOS 1.0 was innovative in a lot of ways, it was notable just as much for the features it didn’t have, as well as those that it did. When it was released on June 29, 2007, it shipped with only a few apps – Mail, iPod, Calendar, Photos, Clock, Text, Safari, Notes, YouTube, Calculator, Maps, Settings, Camera, Stocks, and Phone. There wasn’t even an App Store or iTunes Store app in iOS. 1.0.
Rather than support third-party applications, Steve Jobs encouraged developers to program web-based apps that could behave like native apps. A couple of months later, Apple changed its mind and created the first iOS SDK that was released in March 2008, paving the way for the 1.2 million apps supported on the iOS today.
The biggest news about iOS 2.0 was the addition of the App Store. Released on July 11th, 2008, the App Store and iOS 2.0’s support for third-party apps gave users access to thousands of apps created by developers. Supported by iTunes and Apple’s carefully crafted ecosystem, the App Store pushed the iPhone years ahead of the competition by providing limitless possibilities of new software. Pretty soon everyone was hearing the catch phrase, “There’s an App for that.”
Push email was also brought to the iPhone via iOS 2.0. To make room for all the new app icons on the Springboard, Apple introduced homescreen pages. Other notable features that appeared includes the ability to open MS Office docs, a Contacts app, ability to take screen captures, save photos in Safari to the Photos app, parental controls, Genius playlist creation, and the addition of emoji.
iOS 3 was one of the biggest iOS releases Apple has pushed out. While it didn’t have any earth-shattering new features, the small improvements numbered in the hundreds. Most of the new features could already be found on Android or Palm Pre and had been highly requested additions.
Released on June 17 2009, iOS 3.0 brought the ability to finally cut, copy and paste. GPS accuracy was also greatly improved, and Apple added a magnetic compass to the iPhone’s Maps app. Video recording had not been supported until the release of iOS 3.0, however the iPhone 3GS was the only iOS device that could take video at the time.
Along with adding support for MMS, the SMS app was renamed to Messages. Find My iPhone was introduced through MobileMe. Spotlight search also came into play in iOS 3.0 as well as the ability to tether an iPhone to a computer.
iOS 3.2 wasn’t a major iOS update, but it did represent the most significant incremental update Apple's ever released.
iOS 3.2 came out on April 3, 2010 in order to add support for the iPad. This update was the first time users were given the ability to change their homescreen background as well as support for using the homescreen in landscape mode rather than the portrait mode. iOS 3.2 expanded the iPad’s dock to hold up to six apps, and it brought new gestures and frameworks for new keyboards.
iOS 4 made the iPhone feel like a truly post-PC device. Released on June 17, 2010, one of the biggest features was the video chatting capabilities of FaceTime. Apple also introduced iBooks, which was the first time they offered native support for eBooks on iOS devices.
A custom dictionary was added along with
Multitasking, which gave users the ability to switch between apps without losing their spot in an app. To help users organize the apps. Apple introduced Folders. A small visual appearance change was made by redesigning the dock to be similar to that of the iPad.
Digital zooming was added to the camera. Spotlight now boasted the capability of searching the web or Wikipedia along with the iPhone’s files. GameCenter was also introduced with iOS 4, fostering a community of competitive Angry Bird slinging.
In 2011 Apple pulled out some major weapons to leapfrog iOS over the competition. The addition of over 200 new features made iOS 5 the biggest iOS update Apple had released.
User complaints of the iOS Notification system were finally addressed by adding Notification Center. Help users save on SMS plans, Apple released iMessage t00. The Camera app was updated with ability to edit photos. Borrowing from popular apps like Instapaper, Apple added a “Read Later” feature to Safari in iOS 5. Wireless syncing was also introduced, which finally made iOS devices PC-independent.
Twitter integration in Notification Center made sharing content with friends easier than ever, and Apple introduced a few new native apps – Reminders, a redesigned Calendar app, Newsstand, and Cards.
A few changes were also made to the iPad version of iOS 5.0. Apple added new multi-touch gestures that led to faster app switching and four finger swipe to get back to the homescreen. The Music player on the iPad was revamped with a completely new design. The inclusion of a new split-keyboard for the iPad has also made typing significantly easier when holding an iPad with two hands.
iOS 6.0 marked one of Apple’s biggest iOS blunders by ditching the popular Google Maps service in favor of Apple’s own Maps solution that also provides turn-by-turn navigation and fly-over 3D modeling of certain cities. The Apple Maps launch was disastrous and resulted in the subsequent firing of iOS Chief Scott Forstall.
The App Store was redesigned with an entirely new look and feel that was carried over to the iTunes Store and iBookstore as well. Passbook received a lot of attention for storing users’ coupons, boarding passes, movie tickets, and more. Facebook integration was also included in iOS 6.0 to go along with the Twitter integration iOS 5.0 enjoyed. FaceTime calls could now be made over cellular networks instead of Wi-Fi only in previous versions. The Phone app was also updated with a new keypad and the ability to respond to incoming calls via text-message rather than answering them.
iOS 6 also brought huge improvements for users with vision, hearing, learning and mobility disabilities. Guided Access helped students with disabilities stay focused by controlling the available touch-points within an app. Siri was also updated with more functionality like the ability to answer sports questions, check movie times, and find restaurants.
Apple handed UI design for iOS 7 over to Jony Ive, in what’s resulted in the biggest visual redesign of iOS we’ve seen since the mobile operating system launched in 2007. Thanks to Ive, many of the rich glossy textures and skeuomorphic UI elements were ditched in favor of flatter graphics, colorful gradients, and a lot of sliding transparent panes that are aimed to make iOS feel like it’s a part of your actual iPhone.
To framework the visual redesign, Jony created an icon grid that guides the proportions of icons so they look “harmonious” on the homescreen. Apple also added some incredibly important features. Control Center was one of the most anticipated additions with its ability to quickly toggle Wifi, Bluetooth, Airplane mode, and a number of other settings, as well as quickly launch your flashlight, calculator or camera. Multi-tasking also received a facelift by borrowing from HP’s webOS card view when switching apps.
Other notable new additions included FaceTime audio calls over 3G/4G, AirDrop, background App updates, and more.
iOS 8 promises to be Apple’s biggest update to the mobile platform ever with hundreds of new APIs that expand the capabilities of apps by building on core technologies like TouchID to offer users new experiences.
Major addition include the new Health app that can track a user’s vital stats and activity, and Continuity which allows users to seamlessly switch between their Mac and iPhone. Design tweaks have also been made with interactive notifications, home screen shortcuts, and new gestures in Safari and Mail.
The Photos app has been beefed up with more editing tools, and users can share iTunes content now with Family Sharing. There’s also a new QuickType keyboard to go with the support of third-party keyboards, quicker messaging features, and a new iCloud Drive storage system.
We don’t usually post infographics on Cult of Mac — far too many of them are just poorly designed info dumps, without any real focus or design chops — but we’re making an exception for this one showing the evolution of iOS over the last seven years.
Created by the folks at 7 Day Shop, this infographic doesn’t just examine the evolution of the iOS home screen (something we here at Cult of Mac have been known to chart from time to time), but the evolution of individual icons, and the addition of features to Apple’s mobile operating system.
It’s very thorough, and a great primer on how far we’ve come since 2007. Check it out in full after the jump.
Not even Apple’s new iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus support super-sharp 4K video recording out of the box, but they do have the necessary hardware to support it. Vizzywig 4K, a new iOS app that was just approved by Apple, brings this functionality to the iPhone 5s — but it costs a whopping $999.99.
While Uber and Lyft are the most prominent example of smartphones disrupting the taxi industry, a new app feature from Hailo is hoping to shake up both companies by letting Hailo users pay for journeys using their iPhone — even when they’re in a non-Hailo booked taxi.
The feature is called “Pay with Hailo” and uses Apple’s iBeacon technology to automatically recognize taxis, with users given the option to connect and pay for a journey automatically as soon as they set foot inside a vehicle. Even if the driver doesn’t have an iBeacon set up in their cab, it’s still possible to pay the fare by choosing their name from a list inside the app.
Trying to load the Apple Store at 12:27 a.m. Photo: Killian Bell/Cult of Mac.
Apple’s new iPhones went up for pre-order this morning, and for those who stayed up late to get their order in, it turned out to be a very long night. The vast majority had to wait until past 12:30 a.m. before the had any joy loading the Apple Online Store, and when it finally went live, many iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus options were “currently unavailable.”
Being Steve Jobs’ son or daughter would surely mean a never-ending supply of new high-tech devices to play around with, right?
Not according to a New York Times article by Nick Bilton, who claims that Jobs set out to purposely limit the amount of time his kids spent using their iPhones and other gadgets — even going so far as to stop them using Apple’s latest must have-devices altogether.
Widget, widgets, widgets. Boy, have we got some widgets for you. And text. Plain text. Plain old text, turned into a calculator. And widgets. Did I mention those? Weather widgets. Battery widgets. And yes, text widgets.
Read all about these new widgets and other new apps in this week's App Watch.
WunderStation from Weather Underground hooks into thousands of privately owned weather stations and presents their data in an iPad app. The smoothly animated graphs are beautiful and can tell you way more than you’d ever want to know about rainfall, barometric pressure and even UV. If you have stations near you, it’s pretty rad. If not, no biggie – the app is $Free
Filthy name, great app. Droool is a “photo gallery for your social networks.” Browse pictures from Twitter, Instagram, Tumblr, Facebook and more, and index pictures from iCloud and other local folders without moving or copying the files. It’s fast, simple and looks great, and it’s free with in-app purchases. $Free
Terrible name, great app. iBetterCharge monitors your iOS devices’ battery level over your Wi-Fi network, using the same connection that iTunes Wi-Fi sync would use, if you still synced your iPhone with your computer in the space year of 2014. It can pop up warnings when the battery drops to a preset level, and a click on the menu bar shows you the level of all the devices on the network. $Free
This is what the Internet is made for. Photogrammar puts 170,000 Depression-era photos in a searchable, browsable archive. Explore on an interactive map, search or get into the Labs section and browse by metadata sourced from the U.S. Farm Security Administration and Office of War Information archives. Warning: serious time-sink. $Free
PlainTextMenu takes the text on your Mac’s clipboard and transmogrifies it into something useful. It strips out formatting, so you never get big ugly Comic Sans when pasting from a colleague’s Word report, and it can turn the text to uppercase, lowercase or title case along the way. From the school of One Thing Well. $1
Web service re/spin takes Spotify playlists and transforms them into Rdio playlists. If someone’s going to share a playlist, it usually comes from Spotify, and re/spin works with published Spotify playlists. Or you can just paste in a track list copied right from the app. It also works with Last.fm. Remember when PCs couldn’t read Mac floppy disks? It’s like fixing that all over again. $Free
You know all those hard drives grafted onto your Mac? Keep a close eye on them with StorageStatus, an app that turns hard drives into traffic lights in your menu bar and changes their colors when they do something. It knows when they are sleeping, it knows when they’re awake, and it knows when they’ve been good or bad. $3
Not new, but awesome nonetheless. Calca is as close as you’ll get to a plain text calculator. Tap in complex formulas or simple sums and see the results right there in a plain text document. Set variables or just add numbers. And see all your pages synced over iCloud between Mac, iPhone and iPad versions, as well as Windows(!). I love Calca for its balance of simplicity and power. From $3
Finally, a version for the iPad. TVShow Time tracks your favorite TV shows and tells you when they’re on. Browse shows and show synopses, and get notifications when something is about to air. See the shows on a calendar, view news about your shows and read about new shows. It’s pretty comprehensive, and looks great on the big iPad screen. $3
If you send me an email and don’t hear back, this is the reason.
Baldur’s Gate is one of the all-time classic RPGs, and while it’s iOS Enhanced Edition has been available on iPad since late 2012, up until now iPhone gamers have been left out in the cold.
That’s changed thanks to a new update which adds iPhone support, meaning that we can finally play this epic fantasy game on the move.
But wait, you might say, Baldur’s Gate was already a challenging read on the iPad mini. How on earth is it possible to play on an iPhone? Well, developers Bioware have thought of that too, since they’ve added a new “Font Size” option, which makes the game easier to view on smaller iOS devices.
During yesterday’s unveiling of the iPhone 6 and Apple Watch, awesomely-named developers Super Evil Megacorp took to the stage to show off the iPhone 6’s impressive graphical capabilities through a demo of their forthcoming iOS game Vainglory.
Despite the presence of “scarf guy” (one of the demoing developers wearing an infinite scarf that’s already become an Internet meme), Super Evil Megacorp was able to claw back viewer attention for their “unapologetically core MOBA” (that’s multiplayer online battle arena to the noobs out there) developed by veterans from the likes of Blizzard and Riot.
And no wonder: the game looks fantastic, built on Super Evil’s E.V.I.L engine, and boasting full Metal support from day one. The game’s rolling out globally from next month, but for now excited gamers can check out the trailer after the jump: