avatarby Tab TimesJune 2, 20140 comments

While Tim Cook presented iOS 8 as the biggest iOS release since the launch of the App Store, there was no single new feature announced which sounded like a true revolution on the end user side.

Though, Apple announced many, many small improvements which, together, should greatly enhance the life of iPad users. Here are some highlights:

Continuity from one Apple device to another:

  • Handoff is a new feature which should allow seamless transition from one Apple (iOS and MacOS X) device to another. Users having started a task like drafting an email message from an iPad, an iPhone or a Mac should be able to jump on another device and continue the same task.
  • Instant Hotspot should allow your iPad to immediately recognize your iPhone and, should you wish to use your phone as a wifi hotspot, to establish the connection instantly, without entering a password.
  • You will be able to take a phone call from your iPad rather than from your iPhone when both devices are close to another.

Enhancements to Mail:

  • When browsing messages, Mail will allow you to delete a message with a single swipe from right to left or to mark it as unread with a swipe from left to right. Having stopped the delete swipe in mid-course, you’ll be able to flag a message with a tap.
  • When drafting a mail message, you will be able to minimize the draft by dragging it down, then getting access to other messages (instead of having to save and close the draft and then reopen it).
  • You will be notified, on your lock screen, of new messages on any thread that you have marked as a VIP thread.

For work and enterprises:

  • iCloud Drive will bring order to your iCloud files by allowing you to sort them within folders and to assign tags to them.
  • iCloud Drive will also allow you to work on a file with a app, close it, and reopen it immediately with the same app on another device.
  • A Device Enrollment Program should allow an organization to have new devices for their employees automatically set up according to their own corporate parameters –including the installation of specific apps– as soon as they are out of the box.

Improved app discovery:

  • iOS 8 will add an Explore tab to the App Store, to suggest relevant apps.
  • The App Store search function should be less frustrating in iOS 8 will the addition of Trending searches and continuous scrolling of search results
  • Editors’ Choice selections should be more prominently displayed

App interactions out of the app itself:

  • You will be able to call specific functions from some apps from within other apps, through a new feature called app Extensions. In an on-stage demo, Apple showed extensions from Pinterest and Bing Translation which could be called from Safari, as well as an image retouching app extension which could be called from Photos.
  • Developers will be allowed to design widgets that users can add to their notification screen. Apple showed widgets from ESPN and eBay.

Other new features:

  • Safari on iPad will offer a multi-tab view, similar to the one already available on the iPhone
  • A double tap on the device button will also show your favorite contacts in addition to open apps.

Apple also announced many new products and features for developers –including a whole new programming language called Swift– which could result in a wave of intriguing, more powerful apps and games.

iOS 8 will be available this fall and compatible with all iPads, save for the original one.

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