All the tiny tweaks Apple sneaked into iOS 8

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iOS8

We’re still busying digesting all the new stuff Tim Cook and Craig Federighi announced yesterday with iOS 8, and even though we’re ridiculously excited about major backend features like HomeKit, iCloud Photo Library and Metal, 24 hours of tinkering around with the OS has revealed a lot of hidden gems that went unmentioned.

Along with the host of new iOS 8 features, Jony Ive and the Human Interface team have been busy adding dozens of tiny tweaks to the UI as well as tossing in a few smaller features you probably didn’t notice.

Take a look at these 11 tweaks Apple sneaked into iOS 8 without telling anyone:

iOS 8’s HomeKit puts Apple at heart of home automation

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Craig Federighi talks up Apple's home automation plans. Photo: Roberto Baldwin/The Next Web
Craig Federighi talks up Apple's home automation plans. Photo: Roberto Baldwin/The Next Web

In the not-so-distant future, we’ll use smartphones to control nearly everything around our homes. We already have smart light bulbs, thermostats, locks and appliances, but we lack a central platform for all these devices.

That’s all going to change this fall when Apple releases iOS 8 with HomeKit, an important new protocol for developers. This will create the kind of universal platform that could revolutionize home automation.

Why Apple’s WWDC keynote was its most important in years

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Craig Federighi stalks the stage at WWDC 2014. Photo: Roberto Baldwin/The Next Web

Monday’s fantastic WWDC keynote was the most significant product introduction since Steve Jobs unveiled the original iPad in 2010. But this time, the revolutionary product wasn’t hardware — it was software.

The surprisingly well-executed event demonstrated two things:

1. Steve Jobs’ greatest product wasn’t the iPad or the Macintosh, but Apple itself. He created a company that can very clearly innovate without him.

2. Although there was no new hardware (for now), Apple’s trajectory is clear: It’s getting into some very big things.

iOS 8 and OS X Yosemite will change the way you do photography

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Apple finally fixed photography on iOS. Or rather, it’s fixed organizing your photos, wherever they might be. The iPhone is already a great camera. The problem was everything that happened after you tapped the shutter.

Now, in iOS 8 and OS X Yosemite, you’ll never have to worry about organizing your photos again — they’ll be everywhere, all the time. And best of all? It looks like you’re never going to need iPhoto again, on the Mac or on your iPad.

Was Apple inspired by David Hockney’s Yosemite series?

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David Hockney, Yosemite I, © 2013 David Hockney, used with permission de Young Museum.
David Hockney, Yosemite I, © David Hockney, used with permission de Young Museum.

When the Yosemite posters first went up in Moscone Center ahead of  WWDC, a thought lodged in my brain that continued to tumble around all weekend: Apple drew inspiration for the name of the new OS from David Hockney.

It’s not as much of a stretch as it sounds. After all, Hockney recently had a major show at San Francisco’s de Young Museum, where he debuted a series of 12-foot-high tributes to Yosemite National Park made with an iPad. The big, bold, bright works with clear blues and greens were absolute show-stealers.

5 incredible iOS 8 features Apple didn’t mention

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Roberto Baldwin/The Next Web
Roberto Baldwin/The Next Web

Apple added a ton of new features to iOS 8 today and more are surely on the way once new iPhones and iPads are announced. But while Photos, Messaging and Notification Center stole most of the spotlight during the WWDC keynote, there were a bunch of smaller features Apple didn’t cover.

Better camera tools, battery statistics, new Siri tricks and more were also added to today’s beta. Here’s our hands-on preview of five incredible features Apple didn’t mention in today’s keynote.

Apple alters the future again — here’s how

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The iPhone 6s event is just weeks away.
Tim Cook leaves the stage at the end of the 2014 WWDC keynote. Photo: Roberto Baldwin/The Next Web
Photo: Roberto Baldwin/The Next Web

Instead of dropping an iWatch or some other hardware bombshell at WWDC, Apple showcased the futuristic tools it will use to extend its rapidly growing empire.

“Apple engineers platforms, devices and services together,” said Apple CEO Tim Cook as he wrapped up the Worldwide Developers Conference keynote Monday in San Francisco. “We do this so we can create a seamless experience for our users that is unparalleled in the industry. This is something only Apple can do.”

Casual observers (and stock analysts) might fret that there was no big wearables reveal, no amazing new Apple TV, not even a spec boost for an existing device during the highly anticipated WWDC kickoff.

Will Apple’s Bash finally bring the jams?

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Can't get much more bland than this smooth jazz outfit, who played The Bash in 2001
Can't get much more bland than this smooth jazz outfit, who played The Bash in 2001

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Every year since 2000, Apple’s Worldwide Developers Conference has concluded with a huge concert called The Bash. This party brings the white and nerdy devs to the yard with bands like Barenaked Ladies (2008), Cake (2009) and OK Go (2010).

We’d like to see Apple switch things up this year. With the recent Beats Music deal still echoing down the halls of Cupertino, it’d sure be nice to see a group up on the Apple stage with a bit more street cred than, say, The Rippingtons (2001).

Liveblog: Get your WWDC on with Cult of Mac

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Are you ready for iOS 8?
Moscone is ready for iOS 8 and OS X 10.10. Are you? Photos: Roberto Baldwin/The Next Web

After months of anticipation and countless rumors, Tim Cook and his merry band of Apple fellows are about to take the stage at San Francisco’s Moscone West to reveal the latest offerings coming out of Cupertino. It’s time for the Worldwide Developers Conference.

We’ll be covering the WWDC action here all morning with news and analysis on everything like iOS 8, OS X 10.10, Healthbook and whatever other goodies the mothership has prepared. The keynote starts at 10 a.m. Pacific, so bookmark this page and keep it open for a tidal wave of Apple news and insights.