iOS 8 is the next version of Apple’s iPhone and iPad software that should arrive later this year as a free update to most iPhone and iPad devices with new features and bug fixes. In June 2014 we will see the future of iOS at the Apple WWDC 2014 event, which is when the public will get the first official look at the new iOS 8 update and an iOS 8 beta will likely be announced.
Thanks to a continual stream of iOS 8 leaks and iOS 8 rumors we have a good idea of what we can expect from Apple’s new update and when it will arrive for users. If Apple sticks with the historical release schedule it should arrive right before an iPhone 6 release date this fall.
It looks like Apple is planning an update to iPhone and iPad features that may connect with a wearable accessory like the iWatch to track health and fitness in a Healthbook app.
Apple completely changed the look of the iPhone software with iOS 7 last summer and finished up several other changes in iOS 7.1 in March. With this in mind it is unlikely that Apple will use iOS 8 to make another major change. Instead expect a focus on features and fixing problem areas like Notifications that the company changed in iOS 7. We may see some iOS 8 features pushed to an iOS 8.1 release so that Apple can finish work on OS X 10.10.
The seven minute iOS 8 video below shows a collection of the latest iOS 8 rumors, with a look at what users can expect from Apple this fall.
iOS 8 Announcement
The iOS 8 announcement is expected at WWDC 2014 on June 2nd. Apple normally highlights how much money it paid to developers and how many apps are available at this event and then transitions into showing off a new version of iOS so that the developers can ask Apple experts questions about the new features and changes in order to update their apps for the new software before a public release.
There should be a live stream of the iOS 8 announcement so that developers who could not attend the event can watch from home. This live stream will likely be open to the general public as long as they have an iOS or OS X device to watch on.
iOS 8 Beta
Soon after the iOS 8 announcement we should see an iOS 8 beta arrive for registered developers. Apple is offering an OS X 10.9.3 beta to the general public, but we don’t expect a public iOS 8 beta — at least not this early.
The official way to join the iOS 8 beta is to pay $99 to join the Apple iOS developer program for a year. This is more than most casual users want to spend, which is why other options appear each summer to register your iPhone or iPad as a developer device for $8. This is an easy way to try out an iOS 8 beta, but remember there will be bugs, apps that don’t work and potential issues. If you try the iOS 8 beta do not leave negative app reviews for apps that don’t work on iOS 8.
iOS 8 Release Date
The iOS 8 release date for the general public is not expected this summer, as Apple needs time to move through various betas and to allow developers to test apps. Instead, expect to see the iOS 8 release date for the public arrive in about two days before the iPhone 6 release.
The latest rumors suggest an iPhone 6 release date in September. Based on the end of Apple’s financial quarter and past actions mid-to late September is likely.
iOS 8 Features
With no major facelift iOS 8 should deliver new features and fixes to common iPhone complaints. Thanks to a collection of leaks, rumors and purchases we have a good idea of what Apple may include in iOS 8 in 2014.
iOS 8 will very likely include a new Healthbook app that mirrors the look of Passbook, but instead of tracking tickets and loyalty cards it will track a user’s health and fitness with multiple pieces of information in one place. This will likely use the Motion M7 processor in the iPhone 5s, and a similar one in the rumored iPhone 6 as well as connect to an iWatch or other accessories to measure health data.
9to5Mac shares the mockup of what Healthbook could look like based on rumors. If Apple allows third-party accessories to store data in this or the built-in iPhone 5s sensors we could see it at WWDC 2014, but if it is heavily dependent on the iWatch there is a chance it may be one of the features Apple keeps secret until later this year.
Another report suggests Apple will fix the annoying double notification window that users see in the Notification Center. On iOS 7 Apple separates notifications into missed and all, which is troublesome for tracking down a notification and clearing notifications is also a pain thanks to multiple taps to remove them.
Apple Maps Upgrades Possible
An early iOS 8 rumor pointed to improvements for Apple Maps, specifically dealing with transit directions. Apple Maps on iOS 7 directs users to other apps, but a new version might include transit directions built-in to Apple Maps.
Apple purchased a small company called Novauris recently which is able to not only detect word, but phrases. This would allow Siri to more easily understand what you are asking the service to do and could boost the accuracy of dictation as well. Apple bought the technology and hired the key company players, which could lead to a better Siri in iOS 8.
We also heard through Bloomberg that Apple is in talks with Shazam to use the company’s music identification services inside Siri. This would let users ask Siri, “What song is playing?” and see the title with a link to buy the song on iTunes.
Apple may make iTunes Radio a standalone app in iOS 8 to gain more visibility with users as Apple attempts to be a bigger player in streaming music in a 9to5Mac report. iTunes Radio launched last fall and while Apple announced that users played 1 Billion songs in the first month, Spotify users listened to 4.5 Billion hours of music in 2013. Apple is reportedly buying Beats Audio for $3.2 Billion for access to the headphone line and streaming music services.
In March a rumor suggested that iOS 8 could deliver better communication and sharing between iPhone apps. 9to5Mac shared that a photo editing app might be able to pass an edited photo off directly to Instagram or another similar app. Facebook just announced a new AppLink feature that could help iOS apps link to each other, which is not the same as this idea but shows that there is interest in making it easier to bounce between apps.
Better Sounding Phone Calls
Apple may be planning VoLTE support for iOS 8. This is a short way of saying Voice of LTE, which basically means your phone calls could sound dramatically better than they doe today. Carriers like AT&T, T-Mobile and Verizon need to launch VoLTE networks, but if they are ready in time we could hear better calls from the iPhone 5s and from the iPhone 6. This would also likely allow Verizon iPhone users to talk and surf at the same time.
iOS 8 Devices
Apple did not yet announce the devices that will run iOS 8, but thanks to the specs and Apple’s normal practice of dropping some older devices these are the Apple mobile devices that will likely run iOS 8 this fall, in addition to a new iPhone 6 and new iPad Air and iPad mini Retina updates.
- iPhone 5s
- iPhone 5c
- iPhone 5
- iPhone 4s
- iPad Air
- iPad 4
- iPad 3
- iPad mini with Retina Display
- iPad mini
- iPod touch fifth-generation
Older devices often run get an iOS 8 update with fewer features than the iPhone 6 or the latest iPhones and iPads. For devices like the iPad 3 or iPhone 4s, performance will likely be a major factor over adding features.