So, iOS 8 is out and dubbed the most advanced mobile operating system, it seems to be going well with the title. It was a mighty 2gb download but you start seeing the difference while it boots up. When I unboxed my iPad around an year ago, it greeted me with the traditional Hellos in different languages. But after updating with iOS 8, the first message was ‘namaste’. Namaste is hindi for hello and it was written in a devanagari script. The usual Hello and Hola etc followed after that. The setup was more or less the usual way except it asked to set iCloud drive and family sharing. With over a hundred new features and improvements packed in iOS 8, there are a lot of changes noticeable every where in the interface.
It is not possible to discuss about all the new features and changes but some differences from iOS 7 caught my eyes instantly like the new Tips and Podcasts app. The Tips app currently has eleven pages and will keep being updated. The major new functions of iOS 8 and how to use them are discussed in the app.
Podcasts app lets you subscribe to podcasts and download/play them much like it used to. The next instantly visible change was the recent contacts in multitasking view. After double tapping the home button or swiping up with four fingers you get the icons with either the picture or the initials of the three recent contacts.
Tapping on one gives options for message and FaceTime, a handy feature. Next, the appearance of the control centre is tweaked a little.
Sliding the brightness button gives real time preview of the screen brightness as you adjust it. There are a lot of updates in the notification centre. The first one I noticed was the ‘missed’ section is removed. There are, of course notification centre widgets now with selected apps. Stocks, calculator and weather widgets come in handy for me, just slide down for a quick calculation. Lots of apps are now available with this feature.
Interactive notifications is another feature introduced with the new iOS. You don’t need to open the app to interact, you can deal with the notification from the app you are working on. I have only tried it with messages. Pull down the banner and reply to the message and continue doing your work, simple. Messages have a lot of new options other than text. You can send voice memos and current location.Sure Apple has been late in bringing these features to messages but they work very well.
The new spotlight search has improved usability and it doesn’t feel anymore like it drops a frame while coming down. Siri can now be summoned without touching your device but it should be plugged in. Siri can also recognize songs and those songs are added to your iTunes for future reference in case you want to purchase them.
The camera app is stuffed with a lot of new features but it still looks clean and simple. Panorama mode and time lapse finally comes to iPad with this update. There is a timer option available with three and ten seconds options. You can now adjust the exposure after focussing anywhere by sliding up or down. Time lapse is a nice tool and can be used to create some amazing videos.
Among these, there are a lot more features like battery usage. It shows how much an app has been consuming battery. There separate settings for all the apps. You can change how their notifications behave individually. 3rd party keyboards can be installed but I found a lot of bugs while selecting them, I like the usual keyboard anyway. It also has predictive text which is smarter. Battery is almost the same and my iPad Air goes for around 12 hours on a single charge. But there are a lot of bugs in the system. Frequent crashes have me waiting for an update. The developers are releasing app updates like crazy. Most of the apps are running smoothly after updating them but there is sluggishness in the system and the transitions are not that smooth.
For a verdict, iOS8 is a pretty big update and packs a lot of useful features but there are still so many bugs and it may take another update to make the devices run smoothly.