Globant Mobile Studio NEW FEATURES: iOS 8 has stepped up the iOS game, bringing it closer in certain regards to what Android offers while maintaining the classic iOS look, feel and behavior. Here are the best and most notable new features organized by category:

  • General Look and Feel
      • The ability to quickly reply to notifications without leaving other apps or even unlocking the phone is a huge iOS8 benefit; all a user has to do is pull down on the banner notification to reply to a text or iMessage, accept or decline a calendar invite, or dismiss an alarm.
      • Now we can customize our Today screen display to include interactive widgets from other apps.
      • We also have one-tap access to people we constantly connect with: double-press the home button and view a list of recent contact pop ups above the multi-tasking app view.

  • Keyboard and Typing
      • We were pretty excited about the layer of intelligence added to auto-correct via quick type: a user starts typing and instantly sees predictive text appear above the keyboard for selection. Predictive text also remembers your contacts and words you’ve used with them, basing predictions around who you are specifically communicating with.
      • Users now can also customize their keyboards by installing and leveraging third-party keyboards such as those from Swype, which provide benefits like faster typing and proven-predictive engines that are made for a casual typer, and also helpful visual aids for those with disabilities or limitations.
  • Messaging
      • Messaging has much improved and joined the ranks of WhatsApp and Snapchat: users can send voice and video messages, and send multiple photos at once. Even cooler is that you can share or “beam” your location (without leaving to go to the Find My Friends app) for a limited time or permanently; this is especially helpful when meeting up with friends in a new, unfamiliar place. It also relieves both parties from needing to be glued to their phone and less alert in a strange place in order to manually send that information.
      • A notable improvement in iOS8 is around group conversations that can get exhausting even when you aren’t actively participating: you can leave a conversation, mute alerts, remove others from a group and share maps with everyone.
      • A really nice feature is that you can easily view all the media attached to a conversation; this is pretty awesome since before we’d have to dig through the entire conversation to find what we were looking for.
  • Cloud
      • iCloud Drive finally behaves like Google Drive and Dropbox, giving users the ability to see all files on their iOS devices from other devices, as well as a Mac or PC; this means it is platform-agnostic. Users can click on a document and open it with the most relevant app.
      • Beyond file storage viewing, users can leverage iCloud Drive as general storage, easily adding desired files.
  • Security
      • iCloud has a two-factor authentication now meaning there are app-specific passwords for features like calendars. This is definitely a step in the right direction considering how powerful and far-reaching the information stored in them is, and how easy it is to lose our phones.
      • The iPhone’s Touch ID fingerprint sensor is now open to developers, meaning it can be used with other apps to authenticate more than just an iTunes purchase. For example Amazon supports Touch ID to make payments or log in.
  • Continuity
      • A feature called Handoff lets users switch from apps or websites to other devices running iOS 8 or OS X Yosemite.
      • The most seamless and useful Handoff example we’ve seen is the ability to make and receive iPhone calls on the iPad, as long as the two devices are on the same Wi-Fi network. If you have just your iPad with you in your house and receive a call, you can go ahead and “pick up the phone” anyways!
      • For years, iMessage has let us see messages from only other iOS or Mac users – but not any non-Apple users – on all of our Apple devices. The SMS relay support feature is wonderful because we can now see messages from our friends who are not using Apple devices.
  • Health
      • iOS 8 comes with a new health app that provides a holistic view of our health and fitness data, pulling data from other apps. There are options for body measurements, fitness, nutrition, test results, sleep, vitals and more. Once the Apple Watch arrives, this app will provide exponentially more information.
      • One nice feature is that users can configure Emergency Cards intended for paramedics to immediately learn about important allergies or medical conditions; which could literally save lives.
  • Mail
    • Mirroring the popular Mailbox app, Mail now allows users to easily swipe away messages to archive, mark as read or unread or delete within Mail.
    • Mail also allows users to set notifications, customizing Mail in a very subtle and powerful way.
  • Other
    • Another data-driven feature is a resource usage battery view, allowing you to see which apps have drained your battery in the last hour. Undoubtedly this will help users understand the costs and benefits of their apps better: which apps are worth keeping, and which at minimum should be closed to avoid battery-zapping.
    • Apple’s Photos app now provides comprehensive searching via date, time, location and album name, including smart search capabilities. Also, when users search using Spotlight, results come from additional places like Wikipedia, and include website suggestions, App Store options, breaking news and local results.

 

COMPATIBILITY: To ensure your apps will make a smooth transition to iOS8, it is a good practice to check that your dependencies are iOS8 compliant. In our experience, if your app is already running iOS7 with no issues, you probably will not have major issues with iOS8; but, if you are supporting iOS6 or iOS5, you might run into trouble. The best way to manage external libraries in your project is through CocoaPods, which will enable you to know the current version your app is using and easily update if necessary. Some of the most popular libraries have known issues with Apple’s newest Mobile Operating System:

  • CocoaPods: Update to the latest version (0.33.1) that fixes Xcode 6 related issues. There is also a new version to be released soon with more fixes.
  • Facebook-iOS-SDK: Update to the latest version (3.18.0) that fixes iOS8 related issues.
  • AFNetworking: Update to the latest version (2.4.1) that fixes iOS8 related issues. Some of the known issues you might encounter otherwise can be found here.
  • MBProgressHUD: Update to the latest version (0.9) that fixes iOS8 related issues. Some of the known issues you might encounter otherwise can be found here. If you are still having issues you might try to switch to SVProgressHUD.
  • RestKit: This framework relies on AFNetworking, but it is still using an old version of it, not 2.x, and it is not compatible with the new one, which means that having this framework in your project might be problematic. You can find some more information on this here and here.
  • SVProgressHUD: Update to the earliest version (the last one from github or if using cocoapods try “pod ‘SVProgressHUD’, :head”) that fixes iOS8 related issues. Some of the known issues you might encounter otherwise can be found here.
  • Reachability: Update to the latest version (3.1.1), but there are still some bugs reported on their git account. Some of the known issues can be found here.
  • SDWebImage: Update to the latest version (3.7.1) that fixes Xcode 6 related issues. Some of the known issues you might encounter otherwise can be found here. The guys from the project appear to be working a lot to quickly fix all the reported bugs.
  • Appirater: Update to the latest version (2.0.3) that fixes iOS8 related issues. Some of the known issues you might encounter otherwise can be found here.
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