iOS 8 Features and Issues



By now, if you have an Apple device, it is likely that you have downloaded iOS 8, or at least be thinking about it.  The new update has added some positive and not so positive changes, so here is a run-down of the features and whether they are a step forward or not.

Preparation: If you have already downloaded, particularly on the day of release, then you will know the well documented issues around downloading iOS 8.  I downloaded it on the day and it took a couple of hours, and required 4.6GB of free space to do so.  This meant taking a lot of music and photos off my phone, which was not a big deal.  However, if you download the update via your PC / Mac and then plug your mobile device in, this should prevent the huge space requirement, and download speeds have dramatically reduced in the last week.  Of course, don’t forget to back everything up to the cloud / computer before you hit download, you never know!

Most of the features of iOS 8 are hidden away, and there is very little change in look and feel unlike the release of iOS 7, but some of the features are cool.

See Your Recent Contacts: If you double click the home button, you will see your favourite and most recent people (with their profile pics) who you have been in touch with appear at the top of the screen.  This is a nice feature and allows you to message / call them quickly.  However, if you have an issue with your privacy, and don’t want to share who you have been in contact with, then you can switch this feature off.

Messaging Features: There are a couple of features within messages which I think are good.  You can share your location via messages with the recipient, handy if you are running late / lost!  There is a also predictive text feature which has been a standard feature on Samsung devices for some time.  It will try to understand the context of what you are sending and suggest words – personally, I find this a little irritating and distracting, so I have turned it off, but it’s worth trying out for yourself.

Rapid-Reply Messages: If a text comes through and your screen is locked, you can quickly reply by just clicking on the message and typing a response – I like this feature, particularly handy if you just want to drop a quick reply.

Email Windows: This is probably the feature that I have used most in the last week or so.  One of the most irritating features of the Apple mail app at the bottom of the screen was that if you opened an email to send, and then wanted to refer to something else in your email folder, you had to shut the email down as a draft before looking elsewhere – not anymore!  The app treats a new email as a window that you can just swipe down on and then look for that reference info.  When you have it, swipe up and the draft message is there.  A really nice feature which, once you get the hang of the swipe up, can save a bit of time.

There are other features like which apps are draining your battery the most, and at last the addition of non-Apple keyboards, but I think that the most exciting features will come in the future.  iOS 8 is a platform and I think there is more to come, especially as the iPhone 6 / 6 Plus starts to gain traction.  So far, so OK, but looking forward to some more new features soon.

What do you think about the changes?  Are you disappointed by the lack of innovation, or quietly impressed with the new update?

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Apple’s two new iPhones



According to the tech rumour mill, September 10th will see the launch of two new iPhones – the 5S and the 5C.  New iPhones for certain people are an exciting event (anyone for queuing outside the Apple store for 5 days?), but this launch is particularly significant as the 5C is going to be a budget version of the iPhone, which is a significant change to Apple’s strategy.

Firstly, what about the 5S – well, it will be similar to a 5, but with a faster processor, an improved camera (apparently 12 megapixel) and fingerprint recognition which I think it is quite a cool feature, although it didn’t catch on with laptops.  But I think the 5C is the more interesting proposition.

The iPhone is a very popular device, but Apple has been losing market share to Android devices particularly Samsung devices.  The 5C is designed to try to take some share away from Samsung by positioning their phone at a cheaper price point.

Previously, Apple has relied on frequently releasing new models and being able to sell the older models off at a cheaper price.  But this tactic has not been working of late – it seems that consumers want the new phone but without the hefty Apple price tag.

Apparently the ‘C’ in 5C stands for colour (no, not cheap!) – initial colours are said to be blue, red, yellow and green and should give the 5C a more funky and young feel.  However, if you are a lawyer for Apple I have good news.  These colours are the same as those of the Google logo, so expect another protracted legal battle between the two tech foes.  It is also likely to have more of a plastic feel than the 5 or 5S.

I think this is a significant change in strategy for Apple.  It has struggled to gain penetration in the emerging markets, but it still a desirable brand.  The challenge for Apple now will shift.  If it is able to price the 5C to compete with Samsung, the question for consumers is whether they prefer the iOS or Android operating systems.  And this makes the release of iOS7 even more important for Apple’s growth.