WWDC 2014: iOS 8 Adds New QuickType and Health Features, Releases More APIs, and a New Programming Language, Swift

2 Jun

After Apple introduced its Mac OS X 10.10 Yosemite during the first half of WWDC 2014, it quickly entered the climatic second half of the Keynote. The next generation iOS 8 subsequently released more APIs to developers worldwide, as well as a new programming language, “Swift”.


In 2013 alone, Apple was able to sell about 100 million iPods, 200 million iPads, and 500 million iPhones. Furthermore, 130 million new users began to use its products. So far, there are already 1.2 million apps available in the App Store, which has traffic of about 300 million visitors each week, and has accumulated about 75 billion downloads. It can be clearly seen, since the unveiling of the new iOS 7 last year, the importance of the next generation operating system. The iOS 7 was still used as the foundation of design for the iOS 8, with additions of even more practical applications, and can support multiple devices such as iPhone 4s and iPad 2.

iMessage, Mail, Spotlight, QuickType

In iOS 8, users can reply to their “iMessages” directly from the notifications; due to the competition between messaging software, users are also able to send out group messages or their locations, and it also has push-to-talk over voice or video notifications. The “Mail” app also has new motion features: swipe to the right to configure unread messages, swipe to the left to delete, swipe down to minimize the window and take action later.  However, “Spotlight” operates similarly to Yosemite, expands the sources to search from for news, music, movies, and other information.


The new “QuickType” keyboard remembers past inputs to predict what users are about to type. As of now, languages supported include English, traditional Chinese, simplified Chinese, French, German, and so on. This time, Apple opened up its iOS platform to a third-party input software. Maybe, in the distant future, other input methods will be used in the iOS 8 to improve the shortcomings of its traditional input method, which will be greatly welcomed by Taiwanese users.


iCloud Drive、Health、Family Sharing、Photos

After files are saved in “iCloud Drive”, they can be accessed through different devices. Apple provides the first 5GB of space for free, but there are also plans for 20GB for $0.99/month, 200GB for$3.99/month, etc. available.

“Health” is one of the major unique features of iOS 8. It also confirms the long-time rumor that Apple was entering the healthcare vertical. The “Health” app can determine health information about the user through third-party hardware, such as blood pressure, blood sugar, calories burned, etc., and create an emergency card with detailed information of the user’s medical history, prescriptions, and emergency contact. Developers can use the HealthKit API to plan and execute different hardware and software products.

“Family Sharing”allows users to share the music, movies, TV shows, pictures, location, and much more with their family. In the past, there have been many cases in which minors secretly bought tokens from app games. With “Family Sharing”, minors are only allowed to purchase from the App Store and iTunes store after it’s been approved by the parents. This will successfully prevent wrongful purchases of the minors, but also allows parents to regulate mobile spending of their children.

As for “Photos”, not only is it still continuing its integration with iCloud, it also amplified its search methods. For example, photos can be searched through dates, location, or album name.  What’s even better is the iOS 8 improved its photo editing effects in terms of brightness, contrast, and color through better image processing. Pictures can now be edited better on the iPad. Yosemite might have similar features in the future.


Siri、App Store、APIs、Swift

Aside from improvements such as music recognition and ability to purchase iTunes products through voice, Apple added 22 new languages to Siri.  The App Store will start to have trending searches and relevant searches on its interface to help users find apps they need. Not sure about these new apps? iOS 8 will be able to preview demonstration  videos, as well as purchase the apps under the same developer in a bundle. It even provides free trials with “TestFlight”. All these features are strong and powerful ways of advertising and promotion.

The benefits for developers don’t stop there. Apple released up to 4,000 different types of APIs for developer applications. In the future, third-party apps will integrate with iOS on an even more intimate level, such as sharing on more social media sites and customized notification centers. Released along with the hardware upgrades is the“Metal” technology, customized to the A7 chip, which provided better processing for the 3D engine.

Due to replace Xcode, the integrated development environment Apple provided for the developers, is “Swift”, a brand new programming language. Also based on Objective-C, “Swift” uses an even more streamlined programming code, which is easy to read, maintain, and an even faster computing performance.

Though the iOS 8 Beta was unveiled today during the Keynote, there had been no news about “One more thing”, nor the new MacBook Air, Apple TV, and other Apple products. Not even the rumored iWatch. Maybe we will hear more about them in the second half of the year.