Apple Announces iOS 8 with interactive notifications, messages enhancements, Cloud features and more

After a major iOS revamp last year, Apple on Monday announced iOS 8, an update meant to refine much of what its predecessor introduced, at its annual Worldwide Developers conference (WWDC) in San Francisco with continuity features, messages enhancements, Quicktype keyboard and more.

Apple Announces iOS 8

With iOS 8, Apple brings a whole lot of new features that many have waited for years. Most importantly, the new software enables you to interact directly with notifications. For instance, you are listening to your favourite music and at the same time you can swipe down on a text message that pops up as drop-down notification and access the keyboard, respond to messages from Notification Center as well as the lock screen without having to quit the app you’re currently in.

iCloud Drive will be integrated with iOS 8, allowing users to store files similar to Google’s Drive offering and software maker Dropbox. Just like Dropbox’s recent app Carousel, all photos and videos sync automatically with your iCloud account and the upgraded photos app will get new editing tools for lighting, coloring, auto-straightening and cropping.

The continuity feature in OS X will likewise be featured in iOS. Features like Handoff will let you move a call from your iPhone to your Mac, switch documents and messages between your iOS and OS X devices.

Apple has also updated the Messages app where Group messages in iOS will be organized as threads with titles. It also includes Do Not Disturb support per thread and the ability to leave the thread. This puts Apple’s proprietary messaging app in direct competition with third-party apps like WhatsApp and Facebook messenger.

Another interesting feature in iOS 8: “Quicktype” learns your speech and automatically suggests words that you’re typing. For instance, if you start typing, “Let’s meet at the,” the phone will suggest “restaurant” as the next word. It works similar to the Swiftkey on Android.

A Mail Drop feature will make it easier to send large documents. Instead of sending the entire file by email and overloading the mail servers, the Mac will create a link that the recipient can click to read the file.

iOS 8 will have a built-in-HealthKit to help people track their vital signs, diet and sleeping habits. HomeKit on the other hand, helps controlling garage doors, smart locks, thermostats and other home systems, although the company didn’t say how the technology works.

Developers should be able to get their hands on iOS starting Monday. But as usual, it won’t be available for the public until later this year.