iOS 8 release, rumours and our wish-list!

By Channel Mobile
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Apple’s latest OS release is soon to happen, and as we all know rumours about iOS 8 and the next iPhone are all over the web leading up to next weeks WWDC.

In this piece I’ll be highlighting some of the rumours that have been discussed by various sources, including tech sites and the Mobile Result team, about the iOS 8 release. I’ll be closing up with what some of the team and fellow industry followers are predicting / wishing for – some more likely than others!

The Rumours

It’s always an exciting time when Apple release the official plans in the summer, and we are definitely looking forward to hearing what they have to say. On a number of occasions CEO, Tim Cook has revealed that the company has “big plans” that we are going to absolutely love. As usual, rumours start to be posted around February and continue right up to The Apple Worldwide Developers Conference (WWDC) 2014 which is taking place from the 2nd to 6th June.

In February, there was speculation that Apple had been working on a Healthbook app, and there has been a lot of talk of new fitness tracking functionality being incorporated into the iOS 8, with apps monitoring movement, heart-rate and so on. With the motion detecting capabilities of the iPhone 5s sure to be included in any new devices released this year, this would seem logical.

In April, rumours started about a possible partnership between Apple and Shazam that could lead to a song identification feature built into iOS 8. With the high usage of Shazam it wouldn’t be a shock to us to see Shazam baked in to the iOS 8 release. Users would be able to simply ask Siri “What song is this?”, and the device would take care of the rest. This week we noticed that the Shazam app for the UK and some other countries excluding the US has dropped support for Spotify – could this be a move to push Shazam users to the iTunes music store over and above other music retailers?

In May we then started to hear rumours of a Watch Utility app along with split-screen multitasking and high definition audio playback.

It’s highly likely that an in previous years, the new OS will be released in beta to developers between June and September. iOS 8 will potentially be rolled out to the public when the next generation iPhone is released – we are predicting a late summer release.

Wish-list

Having had a few discussions with the team I’ve complied the most popular wishes below, some more likely than others, but that’s what a wish-list is all about!

Better notification handling

Providing users with the ability to perform quick actions on notifications without leaving their current app. As we all know, notifications are currently quite disruptive, demanding attention immediately if you want to perform an action on them.

Greater access to Touch ID APIs

Fingerprint sensing capabilities could be used instead of entering a passcode for apps that have a further level of security. Touch ID access to third-party developers could also make shopping apps a lot more fluid, as users will be able to authenticate a purchase with their fingerprint as opposed to the current standard of username / password.

We’d love to see this, and since releasing this technology as part of the iPhone 5s, Apple may have been experimenting the options of leveraging this feature in other areas as part of their ongoing product development and support for developers.

Multiple user accounts

The iPhone is a personal device, therefore it doesn’t need multiple accounts. In contrast, the iPad is device that is shared across family members.

It would be great to have user accounts for each user of the device and restrict access to certain apps on user account basis. Access restriction makes sense for privacy and confidentially reasons, but in addition to this, it could provide better age and purchase control for parents whose children are using devices regularly.

Potentially a wish that’s a step too far, as Apple have always vowed that they are in a ‘post PC’ world, and multiple user accounts may complicate what is a simple by design operating system.

Mapping improvements

Apple maps were released in 2012 with the iOS 6 release. Maps were criticised for their bugs, unreliable data and lack of many features found in the Google Maps.

Two years on and a lot has changed – Apple fixed most of the issues with the maps data, and gave new look to maps app in the iOS 7 release.

Based on latest acquisitions of several mapping companies it looks likely that maps will be upgraded with enhanced data. We would like to see this along with offline mapping support as well.

Bug fixes and improvements to iCloud synchronisation

When Apple introduced both iOS and iCloud, their model was seen as a huge disruption to the classic file system found in Mac OS X. They claimed to have made synchronisation so seamless between devices that it “just works.” Nearly three years after iCloud’s introduction though, it’s still not there.

Most complaints are being reported because of the issues with the database synchronisation and we’re hoping to see improvements in that area.

Sharing information between apps

iOS is lacking a well thought out scheme for sharing information between apps.

As a minimum we would like to see Apple include other apps appearing in a standard UIActivityViewController. It can be fiddly with copy and pasting links or Bookmarklets when you want to add links to Pocket, Pinboard, Slack, etc.

In Android, this is so simple – if you have an app, such as Slack installed, you can share to it from almost any other app on your phone. We are forever sharing things we’ve seen with the rest of the team using Slack (which if you haven’t tried it is a great work social networking tool).This is a really basic, highly useful, piece of core functionality!

Ability to choose default apps

Currently Mail and Safari rule the default email and web browsing.

It would be nice to select default apps for email and web browsing other than Mail and Safari that Apple force us to use. It’s probably a big ask, but we’d love to see this.

Remove default Apple apps

Apple restrict users from deleting their default apps from their device.

A common wish from the Apple community is to be able to them. Personally, I doubt this will ever happen – last year we were given the ability to place Newsstand into a folder – I’d say that’s as far as it goes.

We are extremely excited about WWDC in June, and can’t wait to see what’s next for the Apple community. Being one of the UK’s leading mobile app development agencies we are always looking at what’s at the leading edge of enterprise, consumer mobile technology.

We will follow up after WWDC with Apple’s announcements, and how it compared with the rumours and our wish-list!