TORONTO – Apple has unveiled its latest mobile and desktop operating systems at the Worldwide Developers Conference in San Francisco, highlighting a more seamless integration between Apple devices.
Here is a first look at the new software and features.
iOS 8 is the first major software change since Apple released the totally redesigned iOS 7.
The new software will sport interactive notifications, so you can respond to a message without having to leave another app. It will have new gestures, such as double tapping to see a list of frequent contacts.
Despite many digs at Android users throughout the keynote, Apple did unveil a few new features that have long been associated with the Android platform. For example, the new “quick type” feature promises predictive typing suggestions.
Some pointed out that Android has also supported similar notification features before Apple.
One small feature that many social media users seemed to be excited about was the option to remove yourself from group messages.
But not everyone is pleased with the changes. WhatsApp CEO Jan Koum was quick to make note of some similarities between Apple’s new messaging features and WhatsApp.
“Very flattering to see Apple “borrow” numerous WhatsApp features into iMessage in iOS 8 #innovation,” Koum tweeted Monday.
In iOS 8 users will be able to record voice and video clips and share their location easily through iMessage – all features that WhatsApp has been utilizing for a long time.
The similarities suggest that Apple is trying to compete with social apps like Facebook-owned WhatsApp, SnapChat and Kik. WhatsApp, for example, has over 500 million active users.
iOS 8 will be compatible with iPhone 4S and up, iPad 2 and up, and the iPod Touch 5th generation. However, the software won’t be available to the public until the fall.
OS X Yosemite
The latest edition of Mac OS, named after Yosemite National Park in California, has been redesigned to look more like Apple’s mobile OS with translucent windows and more simplistic app icons.
But the majority of the changes to OS X have to do with how Mac handles users’ files.
Apple has expanded its iCloud storage service so that users can store files of any type, not just those designed for iCloud. The service is also being rolled out to Windows PC’s for the first time.
Similarly, Mail Drop will allow users to send large files over email. Instead of pushing the entire file by email and overloading mail servers, Yosemite will create a link that the recipient can click for the full file.
A new feature called Handoff will also allow users to start an activity on one device and send it off to another to finish – for example, users can start an email on their Mac and finish and send it on their iPad.
Yosemite will be available for free download in the fall. Those who want to try it out sooner can sign up for a public beta program on Apple’s website.
Health and fitness tracking, smart home features
The company also revealed more details on it’s health and fitness tracking venture called Heartkit.
The app, which will be included in iOS 8, will allow users to keep track of their health data including their blood pressure, steps taken, blood-sugar levels, nutrition levels and more. Apple has also teamed up with Nike and the Mayo clinic to develop mobile health apps.
“With your permission, each app can use specific information from other apps to provide a more comprehensive way to manage your health and fitness,” read an Apple press release.
“For example, the Nike+ apps using NikeFuel will be able to pull in other key HealthKit metrics such as sleep and nutrition to build a custom user profile and improve athletic performance.”
Apple also touched on new technology for controlling garage doors, thermostats and other home systems, although the company didn’t say how all the pieces will be linked together through what it calls HomeKit.