15 more iOS 8 features we learned this week

New insights into what's inside Apple's looming iOS 8 release continue to emerge, alongside a bunch of new enhancements introduced within iOS 8 Beta 4, which reached developers last night.

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Better dictation

The latest iOS 8 beta brings better dictation to your iOS device. This is now more Siri-like, in that the device will take and show dictation in near real time. That's a significant change because at present dictation requires that you finish speaking before your spoken words are sent to an Apple server and translated into text. You will now get near instant dictation, depending on the speed of your network: This also means you should be able to correct mistakes earlier as you dictate. And there are 24 additional dictation languages.

Tips app

Apple has introduced a new iOS 8 app called Tips. The app helps users learn how to make better use of their device(s) by offering tips and tutorials concerning iOS features. Apple has also launched a Tips website so you can also access these tutorials using your computer online and promises new tips weekly.

Notify me

iOS 8 will now monitor Mail messages for you, watching out for responses to an important message. To access this feature you simply tap the flag icon in the message view screen, and then choose Notify Me. You will then, "Receive notifications when anyone replies to this email thread," Apple's tip website states.

Display & Brightness

A new Display & Brightness Setting controls brightness, auto brightness, text size and bold text. Additional new Settings include Home Data, Motion Activity, among others.

Euro travellers

Europeans get a new roaming option in iOS 8, called EU Internet. This lets Europeans use data service when they visit countries inside the European Union, where regulation is coming into force to prevent carriers charging roaming fees for data services.

Focus on photography

Apple really is taking photography seriously, and iOS 8 will deliver a range of powerful new features designed to exploit the much improved camera you can expect in the iPhone 6, including tools to straighten horizons, timed photo capture, and the capacity to exploit third party apps as services from within the Camera app.

Handoff & Suggested Apps

Another new setting lets you control those apps that are supported by the new Handoff feature within iOS 8.

Touch ID

While this has been mentioned before its significance can't be underestimated: Touch ID in iOS 8 will enable users to use their fingerprint as login and password for third party services and apps -- even though they never gain access to the information. That's thanks to Apple's Secure Enclave.

Security enhancements

There's a plethora of security and privacy improvements within iOS 8 -- take a look at this report for more of these. Apple has also utterly rejected these recent allegations as false.

Left or right

New in the fourth iOS 8 beta, Apple now enables users to configure their own swipe options in Mail, setting up a left- or right- swipe to commit their own choice of task (archiving, flagging, etc.).

Goodbye Google (continued)

Spotlight now uses Bing search for Web results.

New mailbox options

Apple has added some new Mailbox options to Mail, including To or CC and Thread Notifications.

Control Center redesign

Apple's latest beta offers some slight changes to Control Center, as detailed here.

Accessibility improved

RedmondPie reveals that AssistiveTouch (enabled in Settings>General>Accessibilty) now lets users access Notification Center and/or Control Center with a tap.

Third party keyboards

We already knew that third party developers will be able to build alternative keyboards for iOS 8. MacObserver has confirmed that developers at SwiftKey, Swype and Fleksy are all building keyboards to exploit the opportunity.

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