At WWDC 2014 Apple unveiled its next major software releases, OS X Yosemite and iOS 8.

Starting with OS X Yosemite, a new design that brings it much closer to the modern clean look of iOS! Just like the previous version ‘Mavericks’ the update will be free and available in September 2014.

First to be demonstrated were the new translucent menu and side bars, which features new icons and bright colours. osx_design_translucentThis translucence extends to many areas of the OS and the demo showed how it reacts when an image is moved around in the side bar of Messages and Finder. Interestingly the new OS also comes with a new ‘dark mode’ option which turns the menu bars to a darker gray.

Spotlight has received a major upgrade, taking it from a small search bar at the top right of the screen to now having its own translucent (theres that word again) search box that now pops up in the middle of the screen. It allows for quick access to apps, documents and also shows links for the searched item from the internet thus allowing users to gather information without switching applications!

Mail is also upgraded with a cool feature called Markup. apps_mail_shapesThis allows users to quickly add text, shapes etc to attachments or add your signature to PDF’s without leaving Mail. Also, another feature called Mail Drop allows the user to send large attachments with a limit of 5GB, like a video file, that would normally be too large to email! The attachment is uploaded to iCloud, if the recipient uses Mail they will receive the attachment as normal but if they use another app or even webmail they will instead receive a link to download it.

Messages has at last received my favourite upgrade. Up to now only messages from contacts that also used iMessage were included but now all SMS and MMS messages you receive on your iPhone will appear in Messages on your Mac! Another nice addition is the ability to record a quick audio message and send it without leaving the Messages app. apps_messages_soundbiteIn a conversation with multiple contacts you can now also leave the conversation or set a Do Not Disturb function.

Finder now has iCloud functionality built right into it.

iCloud DriveCalled iCloud Drive it works just like any other folder on your Mac, simply drag and drop files into the folder and they are always available and any changes made while offline will sync once connected to the Internet. You can access iCloud Drive by signing into iCloud.com on any Mac or PC.

Next to iOS 8, a substantial update to Apple’s mobile OS.

Notifications now allows you to respond to alerts without leaving the app you’re using. Playing Candy Crush and get a Calendar invitation? Now you can just respond by tapping on the notification and dealing with it. interactive_notifications_gallery_screen_messages

In iOS 7, double tapping the home button brought up a multi tasking menu but now in iOS 8 this feature also includes your most frequent contacts on the top of the menu allowing you to easily call, text or FaceTime.

multi tasking

In Mail a new time saving feature allows you to swipe to mark an email as read or flag it. Also when Mail recognises a phone number, reservation etc in an email a notification pops up, just tap to add an event to the calendar or a phone number to a contact.

mail quick_add

Photos Every photo and video that you now take lives in iCloud, allowing you to access your photo library from any device, anytime.

photo library_gallery1Once you have enabled it on your iOS devices  iCloud Photo library automatically stores all your photos at full resolution. Users get 5GB of storage free with various plans starting at $0.99 per month, Euro pricing will become available nearer to launch date.

Safari for iPad gets a nice update, giving it the quick glance tab view from OS X Yosemite.

Finally, the keyboard gets some focus in IOS 8! Billed as “Our Smartest Keyboard Ever” Apple brings the biggest changes since the very first iPhone all those years ago. Predictive text.predictiveAs you type iOS 8 takes into account the style you are using, casual or formal and suggests text giving you word choices that are appropriate for co workers, friends etc. For the first time iOS 8 opens up the keyboards to third-party developers!! third partyOnce new keyboards are available users will be able to choose their favourite input method systemwide.

A nice and welcome addition is Family Sharingfamily sharing

Up to six people can share purchases from iTunes, iBooks and the App Store without needing separate accounts. Use one credit card for purchases and this allows a parent to approve children’s spending from the ‘Family Organiser’ iPhone. Just enable the “Ask to Buy” feature and anyone wanting to make a purchase will need to ask for permission. ask permissionAlso easily share photos and a calendar keeping everyone easily in the loop.

A totally new feature called Health makes for interesting reading. An easy to read dashboard app for your health and fitness data.healthHealth and fitness apps are great at collecting heart rate, calories burned, cholesterol etc but now this new app puts all this data in one place, easily accessible and giving a clear view of your health! It also allows users to create an emergency card that is available from your Lock Screen.emergency card

iOS 8 will be available in Ireland September 2014 and be compatible with the following devices:

  • iPhone 4s, 5, 5c, 5s
  • iPhone Touch 5th Gen
  • iPad 2, iPad Retina, iPad Air, iPad Mini, iPad Mini Retina

 

Are there any features that you really like? Really dislike? Have we missed your favourite? Let us know in the comments section below.