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Building on the theme of a more open iOS 8, third-party developers will now have more access to camera features. Developers will be able to manually control white balance, exposure and focus. Apple also opened Photos to developers. Any app can now read and write to the Camera Roll, do non-destructive edits and delete photos.
With every new iOS release, Siri’s functionality is improved and expanded. It is now possible to talk to Siri directly when your iPhone is plugged into your car, by simply saying “Hey, Siri”. Shazam song recognition and iTunes purchasing have been integrated into Siri. iOS 8 also brings 22 new dictation languages and streaming voice recognition to Siri.
iOS 8 brings improvements to the App Store, making it easier to find apps. One can now use the Explore Tab to browse categories and view trending apps. Enhanced scrolling, related searches, and the Editor’s Choice logo make it easier to find the best apps. The new App Store also features app bundles, allowing customers to buy multiple apps for one low price. iOS 8’s App Store will also improve the quality of apps with TestFlight. This new service allows developers to invite beta testers. It also stores results and metrics, making it easier for developers to release a top-quality product.
A lot of iOS developers do not follow a proper software development life cycle. They write code and take a lot of short cuts when it comes to engineering process. They don’t have quality assurance testers. TestFlight brings much-needed testing to developers who lack the testing infrastructure of larger software corporations. Expect to see apps with much higher quality and fewer update cycles.
Extensibility is one of the biggest and most controversial features of iOS 8. For a long time, iOS has offered little in the way of customization. This wasn’t a top priority for Apple. Before iOS 8, Apple was focused on security and providing an operating environment for high performance apps. This was never about the lack of ability. It was all about priorities. iOS may look simple from a UI perspective, but under the hood, the technology allowed developers to create industry-leading games and creativity apps. Apps like GarageBand, Cubasis and Infinity Blade are unique to iOS. Unfortunately, the end user doesn’t see the underlying APIs that make these capabilities possible. If you just look at the user interface, iOS does seem a bit simplistic.
iOS 8 Extensions enable customization and inter-app communication while retaining security and stability. Users pining for alternative keyboards, such as Swype, will now be able to customize their devices safely. iOS 8 also offers third-party widgets. Users can now install Notification Center widgets created by third-party developers. This is where the controversy arises. Many are crying foul — Apple has copied this technology. This isn’t really true. Apple did not create the Swype keyboard or third-party widgets. They created a new way of enabling apps to communicate and interact. This architecture is different from other mobile operating systems. Unfortunately, many people only understand the user interface, and are unaware of how the underlying architecture differs from other operating systems. Talking points and memes have blurred the reality. iOS 8 Extensions are innovative and original. Customization is just one aspect of iOS 8 Extensions. (continue…)