iOS 8 - What I Like Most
It’s been almost a month since I stood in line to get my new iPhone 6. I have to say I really do love the larger form factor especially the larger screen. Although there are quite a few upgrades to the new phone, the biggest difference is IOS 8. There has been some press about the new operating system bricking phones and having serious bugs, but my experience is very different. I have upgraded to 8.02, and have found it quite solid. Some apps do still crash but I think that’s more to do with the apps than the operating system.
There are some things in IOS 8 that make my life much easier. The first has to do with Siri. Here in Vermont, as of October 1 it’s illegal to hold a cell phone in your hand while you’re driving. Although I have been driving with my phone in a dock for some time, there have been times I’ve held it to do something, but now I know the state police are watching. As long as my phone is plugged in, I can say “hey Siri” and she will wake up and be ready for my command. If I need to make a phone call, all I have to do is say” hey Siri, call my wife at home” and she will begin to dial my wife’s telephone number. I don’t have to touch the phone at all. One of the other nice additions to Siri in IOS 8 is that she translates what I say immediately rather than waiting for me to stop speaking to translate. It makes a huge difference to be able to see what she’s translating as I’m speaking.
The second thing that I use all the time in IOS 8 is the custom keyboard feature. Android has for a long time had a keyboard called SwiftKey that allowed you to drag a finger along the keyboard to type. I was both jealous and disappointed that we didn’t have that ability on our iPhones. Now we do. SwiftKey is indeed a timesaver, and it’s amazing how intuitive it actually is. I don’t have to be exact when dragging my finger along the keyboard. It seems to understand just what I mean to type.
While on the topic of keyboards, Apple added predictive typing to their own keyboard. Predictive typing has been around since the beginning in a primitive form in that as I type a bubble would appear offering a suggestion of what I might mean to be typing. It worked on a word by word basis. Now there’s a bar that appears above the Apple keyboard that offers up three suggested words that I might mean to type in addition to suggestions for the next word I may want to type. It takes some getting used to, watching the bar above the keyboard as I type, but as I have become more familiar with it, it has sped up my typing dramatically.
Interactive notifications is another addition then enhances productivity. It’s quite common to be working in one app when I get a notification or and imessage from someone. Prior to IOS eight I would have to leave the app that I was working in, open the app that was notifying me and perform whatever action was required. Now when the notification pops up on the top of my screen, I can simply tap on it, reply, and send it without ever leaving the screen I was working in. In addition, the notification window that appears by dragging a finger down from the top of the screen, now is customizable. There are apps that have things called widgets that can be added to this notification window. I have added Evernote and Weather Underground to my notification window. So, now instead of having to tap on my home button, find and open Evernote, all I have to do is drag down and tap on the icon of what I want to do within Evernote and I’m there. I also can see my favorite weather app and it’s information right in front of me as I am drag down the notification window. Now not every app has created a widget, but my guess is many more will get on board. If you haven’t downloaded IOS eight, I personally recommended it. I know many more people that love it than have had trouble with it.