WWDC: 18 iOS 8, Yosemite details you probably missed

Apple didn't tell us everything about its plans for iOS 8 or OS X Yosemite during Monday's keynote; I've collected together a few small improvements you probably don't know about.

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AirPlay

AirPlay won't need Wi-Fi in iOS 8, it can use a form of peer-to-peer networking. This means an Apple TV should be able to connect to your iPhone even when both devices aren't on the same wireless network. This makes it dead easy to share music, movies or images.

Camera

Apple is serious about iPhoneography -- iOS 8 brings the capacity to access third-party app functionality from within Camera; timed and time-lapsed photos; instant burst mode; and the capacity to tweak focus and exposure.

"Hey Siri"

Siri will be listening at all times, so all you'll have to say in order to activate the assistant is "Hey Siri" and it will be there -- the only snag is that your iPhone will need to be plugged into power for this feature to be active (though this may not be the case in iPhone 6).

iCloud

There was lots of good news for iCloud, including the reduction of the cost of storage. Despite this, the 5GB of free storage Apple offers per use is miserly. I strongly urge it to provide at least 5GB of storage per user per Apple device.

Photos for Mac

Photos for Mac lets devices and your Macs sync your images and video including simultaneous application of edits. The news you may have missed? It won't ship until early 2015.

Bigger iPhones

Xcode 6 includes a new iOS Simulator feature that allows developers to resize the simulated display for any resolution -- this means devs can test their apps for use on larger and smaller displays. It suggests larger iPhones.

Spotlight on Bing

Surprising no one, Apple took a few snipes at Google during its WWDC keynote. Yosemite will use Bing as the default search engine for OS X's Spotlight.

Parental Control

Family Share lets families share a single credit card for iTunes purchases, and parents can set this up so they must give permission if their child wants to buy something.

Hiding the Internet

Safari on Yosemite will not show the full URL in the address bar. Rather than seeing http://www.computerworld.com, you will see computerworld.com. Also in Safari, you'll see tabs grouped by domain.

Who can run Yosemite?

Apple's new OS should run on Macs up to seven years old. Here's the list:

  • iMac (mid-2007 or newer)
  • MacBook Air (late 2008 or newer)
  • MacBook (Late 2008 Aluminum, or Early 2009 or newer)
  • Mac Mini (Early 2009 or newer)
  • MacBook Pro (Mid/Late 2007 or newer)
  • Mac Pro (Early 2008 or newer)
  • Xserve (Early 2009)

In case of emergency

iPhones will offer an 'In Case of Emergency' card, presumably including contact details if your device is lost and personal details (blood type or allergies) in case of accident.

Location, location, location

In brief, if you have (for example) a retailer's app installed on your iPhone, Apple's location-sensing capabilities will put that app on your Lock screen whenever you happen to find yourself near one of that retailer's (or whatever) stores. While I expect you can disable this feature in Settings (for stores you don't like) I imagine you'll also receive special offers and other inducements to shop, as Apple brings home the iBeacon (Editor: No more puns, Jonny). 

Facebook

Well, not only Facebook…. iOS 8 shows which third-party apps are sucking the most battery life. Facebook will need to write better code or be found out.

DuckDuckGo

You will be able to use DuckDuckGo to search in Safari. That's great because, unlike Google, DuckDuckGo doesn't track what you do.

AirDrop

You will be able to AirDrop files between iOS and Mac.

Got green

That green button in a window? Finally it's logical. Click it and you get full screen view. 

Dashboard

Still there, but not for long.

Messages

iOS 8 lets you choose to keep Messages forever, for 30 days or a year.

More?

Apple also streamed its Platforms State of the Union presentation this year. There's a lot more in this, and if you are a developer you can explore it here. Not only that, but you can watch longer explanations of Swift (the most significant thing Apple talked about), Healthkit, HomeKit, CloudKit and more. It's a must-watch for anyone working on Apple apps.

I hope you've enjoyed this short collection of less well-known changes in the OS's, and I'm certain there will be many more disclosed features by the time they ship this Fall.

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