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Apple announces iOS 8, OS X Yosemite

The new iOS, as also the new OSX, come with a slew of new features and some that indicate Apple is keen to catch up on the ground it has lost to rival Android from Google.

The announcements were made at the WWDC 2014 (Worldwide Developers Conference), Apple's ongoing annual developer conference.

Calling it 'the biggest release since the launch of the App Store, giving users new features and developers the tools to create new apps', the Cupertino giant listed out a number of new features that mark a virtual overhaul of the iOS to suit its new mobile devices that will get launched later this year.

"iOS 8 offers simpler, faster and more intuitive ways to use your device with incredible new features like iCloud Photo Library, a new Messages app, the Quick Type keyboard and an entirely new Health app," said Craig Federighi, Apple's senior vice president of Software Engineering.

"We're also giving developers amazing new tools to make managing your health and your home from your devices an integrated, simple and secure experience."

Yosemite now also offers users the ability to make iPhone calls on your Mac. Federighi demonstrated the feature by making a call to Apple's latest high-profile hire (after the Beats acquisition), rapper and entrepreneur Dr Dre, during the keynote address.

The iOS 8 beta software and SDK are available immediately for iOS Developer Program members at developer.apple.com. iOS 8 will be available this fall as a free software update for iPhone 4s, iPhone 5, iPhone 5c, iPhone 5s, iPod touch 5th generation, iPad 2, iPad with Retina display, iPad Air, iPad mini and iPad mini with Retina display.

Apple has also introduced predictive typing for its QuickType keyboard, which is smarter and more personalised, and takes context into account, such as who the recipient is and in which app users are typing.

Another nifty and much-demanded feature called Family Sharing has now been introduced. Using Family Sharing, a iOS user can share all purchases, photos and calendars within the same household. Family members can browse and download each other's iTunes, iBooks or App Store purchases. Up to six members can participate, each with their own Apple ID. Parents can create Apple IDs for children, which includes Ask to Buy, requiring parental permission for purchases.

Apple's voice assistant Siri has also received an update and now allows users to launch it without having to press a button with "Hey, Siri" voice command. It will also offer Shazam voice recognition, 22 new dictation languages,and streaming voice recognition to offer users search results as they speak. However, there is no clarity if Hindi has been included in the languages spoken and understood by Siri.

With iCloud Drive, any type of documents can be stored, accessed and edited across devices. Users can edit documents on one device and the most up-to-date version will be available across all devices, including on iOS devices, Macs, Windows PCs or on icloud.com. iOS 8 also comes with Enterprise features and according to Apple, improves the way users are informed of how their devices are configured, managed or restricted. It offers expanded security and management improvements as well as new productivity features, including an expanded level of data protection for key built-in apps, the ability to set out of office response, see colleague's availability when scheduling a meeting and support for configurable Thread Notifications in Mail.

OS X Yosemite comes with a new, overhauled user interface, new apps and new continuity features that make working across Mac and iOS devices virtually seamless.

Apple will now offer iCloud Drive (which will be located in the Finder) to store files of any type. Basic plan for free iCloud storage, however, stays the same at 5 GB. But 20 GB onwards, the more affordable rates indicate Apple is keen to fight it out with Google in cloud storage arena for its users.

Instant Hotspot is another interesting feature that makes using the iPhone's hotspot as easy as connecting to a Wi-Fi network. Yosemite now also offers users the ability to make iPhone calls on your Mac.

The new OS X offers a new Today view in Notification Center that gives a quick look at everything users need to know in one place, just like Notifications in iPhone. But it is doubtful if Mac users would want to use Notifications the way they use them on iPhone. Safari has a new design that puts the most important controls at the front, but not much seems to have been done to it. Apple did, however, claim the tweaks have made it the fastest browser in the world.

OS X Yosemite also has Handoff that lets users start an activity on one device and pass it to the other which means they can continue with that activity while on the move with their iOS device like iPad or iPhone.
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Item Reviewed: Apple announces iOS 8, OS X Yosemite Description: Rating: 5 Reviewed By: TechPrev
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