Apple confirmed today at its Worldwide Developers Conference in San Francisco that it will roll out a new iPhone update this fall. Here are the key features to get ready for with iOS 8:
Improved Messaging: There’s a new microphone button right above the keyboard, giving you the ability to send a voice message while you’re texting. Apple has also revamped group messaging. iOS 8 lets you name group conversations, add and remove people freely, and leave a group message entirely. You can also share your location in a thread for an hour, until the end of the day, or indefinitely.
Interactive Notifications: You no longer have to leave an app to respond to a text or a Facebook notification. With iOS 8, you can reply to a text, like a Facebook post, accept a calendar invitation, or trash an email as the notification pops up on your phone. Double-tapping the ‘Home’ button will bring up a list of your favorite and most recent contacts, which you can tap to call, text, or FaceTime.
Predictive Text Messaging: Apple states that iOS 8 “knows your text messaging style...knows how you use email...knows whom you’re writing to...and it knows what the conversation is about.” That sounds a little creepy, but it looks like it could be helpful. The iPhone will also give casual and brief suggestions for your next word if you’re texting a friend. (And more polished words if you’re emailing your boss.)
Family Sharing: Gone are the days of your toddler purchasing hundreds of dollars worth of apps without you noticing until later, hopefully. With iOS 8, you can share all iTunes purchases with up to six family members, contribute to the same photo albums, organize a collective calendar, and enable “Ask to Buy” so that kids can send requests to their parents’ phones if they want to make a purchase from the App Store.
HealthKit: Apple’s new health app collects data on calories, sleep, and heart rate, and organizes it in one place. It also lets you set up an emergency health card listing allergies and medical conditions on the lock screen.
Handoff: If you have other Apple devices, they should work together better under the new operating system. With Handoff, you can pick up where you left off on an app if you are using your iPhone and decide to switch to your iPad or your Mac. If your iPad or Mac is on the same Wi-Fi network as your phone, you can also answer calls from those devices as well.Austin Tedesco can be reached at Austin.Tedesco@Globe.com. Follow him on Twitter @Tedescau.