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November 25, 2014

Five Game-Changing iOS 8 Features that No One is Talking About

The iOS 7 update was one of the most significant chapters in iOS history since it ditched skeuomorphism for a much cleaner, if perhaps plainer, look. The visual design remains the same in iOS 8 but it might prove to be an important update in terms of usability and long-term ramifications.

Many user-facing additions are useful and some of them are obviously inspired by Android — and some developers and analysts would agree that iOS is actually playing catch up with Google’s offerings. Apple does have something up its sleeve in response to Android’s continued market dominance and the statistics are clearly not in favor of the Cupertino giant.

Here are some of the less-known iOS 8 features that have escaped the public imagination or are less popular as of now even though they are game-changing.

Custom keyboards
Custom keyboards have always been on the list of features demanded by iOS users and iOS 8 launches it in grand style. One could switch the keyboard with another cutting-edge keyboard. The big players in custom keyboards include Swype, SwiftKey, Fleksy and Minuum and each have been working on iOS-compatible versions. Apple is now tweaking its own keyboard with QuickType, which would suggest the next word based on your current typing. It is app sensitive and hence would be used for gauging different words in casual chats or even on e-mails depending on what the users prefer.

One can even integrate Swift in stages for typing smoothness.

New Marketing and Monetization Opportunities
The App store search results are now available for display both vertically and scrolling. Each entry includes titles and some screenshots. Now users can discover the apps easily because of the scrolling. With a market for bundled apps, users will opt for interesting bundles and this is bound to be a game-changer. Every app can actually up-sell a complementary app, made by the same developer or diverse ones. This can be explained by McDonald’s marketing pitch where it literally up-sells fries and a coke with a burger, driving most of its profits from add-ons.

This will work best for you if your apps are related in terms of function. A scanner app would always go with a nice photo editing app, or even combine with a suite of apps in discounted price.

User Experience in Notification Center
You can now drop a complete user interface right into the notification center. Most users are not interested in many app notifications when they are absolutely irrelevant and mostly in text.

But just imagine what the new change would be through the update. A podcast app would display a new episode update and one can play it right from the lock screen. The possibilities are endless and the ideas for updates will receive a huge boost. This ploy is expected to help in retention too.

HomeKit and HealthKit
The HomeKit and the HealthKit are major updates that are still in the starting phase which would help you to have everything under the iOS roof. HealthKit and HomeKit are going to need a huge category of apps and are bound to have a different section within the App Store. Competition will be virtually non-existent on the first day of the launch.

Spotlight is getting smarter!
With the iOS 8 update, Spotlight accommodates searches not restricted to your iPhone storage. It would actually encompass your messages, your data and also the Web. You can even look for show timings from the Spotlight directly instead of resorting to Safari.

You could add contacts or apps through Spotlight before, but now it has expanded its capabilities beyond the phone to news, the App Store and the World Wide Web. It is now “Spotlight Search.”

Family Sharing
Family sharing is pretty a useful feature in the Apple ecosystem. It becomes painful for Apple users within the family especially if they have to shell out money everytime they need a paid app even though one of the family members already have it. It is also difficult to share a single iTunes account with family members.

The new Family Sharing feature will aim to eliminate that hassle by enabling users to share purchased iTunes content with iPhones of family members up to six members. You can set up alerts to be aware if your kids are spending your hard-earned wages on in-game purchases of Angry Birds or Smurfberries.

Even AirDrop now works between iOS devices and will work with the latest version of Mac OS X – Yosemite which is scheduled to be launched soon, so Mac owners would find it pretty easy to backup files between their Mac and iPhone or iPad.

With the new iOS update, users are bound to find hidden benefits integrated with each of the new features. Barring a few chinks which are going to be resolved by Apple in some days, the new update is destined for glory, according to analysts.


Chirag Leuva is the CEO at Yudiz Solutions, a leading iOS game development company. He has been in this industry for five years and likes to share everything related to mobile applications.