Clinton Archive

Review of iOS 8

With the release of iOS 8, Apple has taken another step forward in their mobile operating system platform.  It is not a watershed, massive change that we saw with iOS 7.  Rather it is taking what was foundational in that release and refining it further.  As I write this review of iOS 8 I am compelled to remember the early days of iOS.  Comparing where this platform was just 4 years ago in the iOS 4 days, it is remarkable how much has changed.  iOS 8 represents the most advanced mobile platform Apple has ever produced and you could argue that it is the most refined in the market today.

But the purpose of this review of iOS 8 is not to sell you on it.  I’m assuming, because you are on this site, you are already an iOS user who has upgraded to iOS 8 or that you are someone looking to move from another platform to iOS and want to find out what all the hubbub is about.  Hopefully I’ll be able to satisfy both types of readers.

To start, we need to look at what has become a very foundational part of iOS 8 and indeed OS X Yosemite:  iCloud.  When iCloud was introduced in October 2011 (yes, it’s been that long!), it was seen as an opportunity for Apple to do better than they had done with the MobileMe service.  To be honest, that was a pretty low bar.  My professional opinion:  MobileMe sucked.

But iCloud hasn’t exactly set the world alight.  When it was introduced the expectation was that it would be Dropbox like in functionality and it proved to be anything but that.  It was rigid in what file formats you could store on it, you could effectively only store from Apple apps and storage was horrendously expensive for such a limited service.

But Apple kept at it, slowly tweaking and improving the service.  They also kept building and improving their data centres globally, adding more and more capacity.  They were playing in the long game and were willing to take their lumps against Dropbox and OneDrive for the long term gain of their vision.

Last year in OS X Mavericks and iOS 7 it began to really take hold with it being a more integrated part of the platform.  Now, in iOS 8 and OS X Yosemite, iCloud is very much part of the fabric.  The line between “on the device” and “in the cloud” has blurred and that is evident in several of the new features of iOS 8.  In fact as you read on in this review of iOS 8, you are going to read a common theme of iCloud integration with applications.  Indeed I would contend that is increasingly more difficult for someone who wants iOS to not use it with iCloud.  Like Google has done with Android and Chrome and to a much greater degree Microsoft has done with Windows Phone and Windows, it is time to pick your ecosystem readers.  Playing in more than one is getting ever more difficult because operating systems are dependent on cloud services and vice versa.

But not impossible.

iCloud has grown up a huge amount in a short period of time and the fluidity between apps and storage is now borderless.  That’s exactly what Apple (and Google, and Microsoft) want it to be.  The question is will you jump in with both feet.

Enough with iCloud, I think I’ve made my point.  Let’s talk about iOS 8 and the design and new features (or refinement in most cases) of the latest Cupertino has to offer us.

Use a Mac & iCloud? Don’t Upgrade to iCloud Drive Today

Today is iOS 8 launch day and there is an important step to remember when it comes to iCloud Drive.  If you sync content between your Mac and iCloud today, do not upgrade to iCloud Drive when you install iOS 8 or you will lose that ability.  And yes, to be clear, once you upgrade there is no going back.

iCloud Drive is a key part of iOS 8 and OS X Yosemite where iCloud as we know it today becomes more Dropbox like in features and functionality.  The catch is however that it is not compatible with iOS 7 or OS X Mavericks.  That’s fine on the iOS side as 8 is going to drop in just a matter of hours.  OS X Yosemite however is not expected for a few more weeks.

During the installation process of iOS 8 you will be prompted on if you want to upgrade to iCloud Drive.  Unless you are running the OS X Yosemite beta, not a Mac user or don’t sync content between your devices and your Mac, don’t upgrade.  Say no.  You can do it later when OS X Yosemite is out and available.

Personally I think this is going to cause huge headaches for Apple as there will be people who upgrade not paying attention or not knowing any better.

App Updates for iOS 8 – Make Sure You Have Them

We are just a day away from the release of iOS 8 and the developer community is hard at work in preparation for it.  App Update for iOS 8 are already starting in the App Store and it is a trend that will continue over the next few weeks as developers check and double-check their apps against the latest release.  A PSA for all of you:  Make sure you check the App Store for updates early and often.  Chances are virtually every app on your iPhone or iPad will get some sort of update in the next few weeks.

Developers have been working with iOS 8 since June and have been running their applications against this beta code.  Now that the GM version of iOS 8 has been released to developers (happened late last week), many of them are in the final throws of these checks to assure that their app will work as smoothly as it did on iOS 7.  There are a lot of changes for them to contend in this release which they will want to make sure they account for in their code.  So in addition to looking for those app updates for iOS 8, please also have a bit of patience.  That favourite app may not work exactly as it should come tomorrow on iOS 8 but that doesn’t mean the developer of that app doesn’t care.  It is often a matter of just finding the time.  Remember, most developers are not big production houses.  They are small, 1 to 3 member teams doing the work and often have a day job in addition to their app writing.

OS X Yosemite Public Beta 3 Released

OS X Yosemite Public Beta 3 has been released by Apple today along with the latest developer version for those in the Developer Program.  The update is available to everyone who is already in the beta program as an update through the App Store.

What is exactly addressed in OS X Yosemite Public Beta 3 is somewhat of a mystery as these things tend to be will Apple.  I can say in the testing that I’ve been doing with it so far this evening here in London, it feels much faster in Safari and Mail seems a bit more stable.  I haven’t noticed any new icons or other graphical changes.

OS X Yosemite is expected to be released to the public in October as a free upgrade to everyone.  It will bring things like Continuity between your iOS 8 compatible devices and your Mac, allowing you to do things like answer your iPhone calls through your Mac, work on files on your iPad and changes instantly appear on your Mac thanks to iCloud Drive and of course iCloud Drive.

iOS 8 Wallpapers to Download

With the release of iOS 8 coming on Wednesday, there will be a whole new set of wallpapers that Apple includes in the update.  If you don’t want to wait or have no plans to upgrade, we have all of the iOS 8 wallpapers available for you here on AlliOSNews for you to download.

All of the wallpapers, which can be found in the Wallpapers section of the site, are available for both iPhone and iPad so you don’t have to do any rescaling or sizing to get them to work on your devices.  I’ve also put all of the iOS 8 wallpapers on this post after the break so you can view them and download them from here.

To download the images, just right-click and Save Image As to save them to your Mac or PC.  If you are viewing a wallpaper from your iPhone or iPad, tap-and-hold until you are prompted to either Set as Wallpaper or Save to Camera Roll.

iOS 8 Install Guide

The release of iOS 8 is fast approaching this week.  On Wednesday the 17th of September it will be made available by Apple to install on your existing iPhone and iPad.  To help make the upgrade go smoothly, we’ve put together this iOS 8 Install Guide.  The guide is designed to give you tips and tricks from our years of experiencing in upgrading iOS versions to assure it goes as quickly and as pain-free as possible.

To remind everyone, iOS 8 will be available for the following existing iOS devices.  Remember that the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus will come already loaded with iOS 8.

  • iPhone 4S
  • iPhone 5
  • iPhone 5s
  • iPhone 5c
  • iPad 2
  • iPad 3rd Generation
  • iPad 4th Generation
  • iPad Air
  • iPad Mini
  • iPad Mini with Retina Display
  • iPod Touch 5th Generation

Before I start the iOS 8 Install Guide a word of patience.  Generally an iOS upgrade is made available on launch day at 10:00 PST.  That’s 13:00 EST and 18:00 BST.  When the release happens there will quite literally be millions of people trying to upgrade at the same time.  It could take you several tries and several hours to actually get the upgrade onto your device.  Be patient.  You’ve lived this long without it, a few more hours won’t hurt. :-)  For Tricia, she isn’t even going to try to attempt to install iOS 8 on her existing iPhone 5, iPad Mini and iPad 3rd Generation until Wednesday night even though she is in California.  For me here in London, I probably won’t be installing it until Thursday morning my time, around midnight Wednesday in California.  If you can wait, do it.  It will be a lot less frustrating.

The iPhone 6 Buying Challenge Game

Today is the day that you can start your iPhone 6 buying.  Well, that’s what we thought anyway, including our very own Tricia [clarifications from Tricia in red].  As we discussed in our How We Make AlliOSNews work, Tricia lives in California and in fact in Silicon Valley.  So for her, “Shiny Toy” day meant staying up until Midnight to get her pre-ordered iPhone 6 (not plus because of challenges with ladies pants pockets).  As you can imagine, I’ve heard about this for days in Messenger.  I’m reasonably confident the term “Shiny Toy!” or “Squeeee” came in every conversation over the past 72 hours. [For the record, I don't think I've ever "squeeeed."]

So dutifully, Tricia stayed up way past bedtime to get her Silver iPhone 6 ordered.  [To be fair, I didn't stay up. I fell asleep after making sure I had an alarm set.] And that’s kinda where it all went wrong.

Yahoo News Digest App Goes Universal

The Yahoo News Digest App has been updated this week and it is now a universal app for both iPhone and iPad.  The news curation app brings you 7 news stories in various categories twice a day to keep you up to date with events in the world.  It is the end product of Summly, the summary artificial intelligence developed by Australian teen Nick D’Aloisio.  D’Aloisio reportedly sold Summly to Yahoo for $30m in March of last year, making him one of the youngest self made millionaires.  The app, which until now has been for iPhone only, has now added a beautiful iPad version, bringing the multi-sourced news stories to your tablet in a touch friendly and easy to use format.

Yahoo News Digest (Universal App) – Free – Download Now

Expedia App Goes Universal

The popular Expedia Hotels & Flights app for iOS has been updated this week and it now comes in a universal build for both iPhone and a new, beautiful iPad version.  The Expedia app leverages the Expedia service you are likely familiar with and makes finding hotels and flights to destinations around the world quick and easy.

The new version has a completely revamped interface for both iPhone and iPad but it is the latter that is really eye popping.  Now you can simply tap and swipe your way to finding hotels and flights and you don’t even necessarily have to put in travel dates.

Expedia (Universal App) – Free – Download Now

AppleWatch – Apple’s Riskiest Product Since Newton

On Tuesday Apple launched AppleWatch, their first player into an increasingly crowded SmartWatch field.  The AppleWatch features the Digital Crown which, along with taps and swipes of the AppleWatch face, help you navigate the device.  Apple proclaims that the Digital Crown is the most revolutionary navigation tool since the Click Wheel while Tim Cook has stated that the AppleWatch is the Apple’s most personal device to date.

Despite the standing ovation that the AppleWatch received during the keynote on Tuesday, make no mistake.  This is a risky product for Apple.  It’s not a “bet the company” risky but it is risky.  One analyst this week said it was the riskiest product since Apple launched the Newton back in 1987 and I tend to agree.  The AppleWatch, like the Newton, faces a fundamental question from consumers:  Do I really need this?