Note to Readers: Autumn is traditionally Apple harvest time where we see a bumper crop of new products and services from the Cupertino company. Those of you who aren’t interested in All Things Apple should check back in Monday when The Wonder of Tech returns to our regularly scheduled programming.
Today is the day that Apple releases iOS 8, the latest version of its operating system for the iPhone, iPad and iPod Touch. Each new generation of iOS offers advanced features, giving your devices a lot of powerful new tools without any added cost. Updating to a new iOS often makes you feel as if you got a new device without spending any money!
See below for more reasons why you don’t want to update to iOS within the next few days.
Notable Advances in iOS over the Years
We probably take for granted many of the features of iOS that were brought via updates and didn’t exist in the original version. Imagine being unable to use any apps other than Apple’s. Well, that was the case with the first iOS. Take a trip down iOS Memory Lane and remember how the iPhone has evolved over the past seven years:
The first iOS didn’t allow any third-party apps. The only apps you could have on your iPhone back then were ones that came from Apple. No iTunes App Store filled with hundreds of thousands of apps. Just imagine, no Angry Birds or Candy Crush. How did we survive?
iOS 2 brought us a huge leap in tech: 3rd party apps from the iTunes App Store. Suddenly the world of apps opened up to the iPhone, making it a much more powerful device.
With iOS 3 you could copy and paste text on the iPhone as well as use simple voice commands, such as “call Joe Smith.” That update also added video recording, thereby eliminating the market for camcorders.
iOs 4 brought us FaceTime video chat so we could talk to each other face-to-face over the phone without using our monthly voice minutes. The update also gave us the ability to multitask, using more than one app at a time. We quickly discovered the need to Close Your Apps!
We were introduced to Siri, Apple’s virtual personal assistant, in iOS 5. Jokes about what you could ask Siri soon were nearly as plentiful as iPhones.
iOS 5 also brought us iMessage, giving us the ability to send text messages to other iPhone users without using up our monthly allotment of text messages from our carrier. With iMessage we can also send text messages using Wi-Fi when we don’t have cell signal or are traveling internationally. See, iMessage: Team Blue!
My favorite update in iOS 5 was the addition of shortcuts, making the annoying task of typing on a virtual keyboard much easier. See, My Favorite iOS Trick – Shortcuts!
iOS 6 was a rare flop for Apple. The company replaced the native Google Maps app with its own Apple Maps app which was filled with bugs (the computer kind, not the insect kind). Many people, including me, refused to update to iOS 6 until Google Maps became available in the iTunes App Store. See, Google Maps App Returns to the iPhone!
iOS 6 also gave us panoramic pictures and Passbook, which didn’t make up for the loss of Google Maps.
iOs 7 last year added Control Center, a handy feature letting you access important tools with just a swipe. See, 13 Super Shortcuts for Your iPhone – in Control Center
The update also added iTunes Radio, and Touch ID to the iPhone 5s so you could use your fingerprint instead of a passcode to open your phone. With iOS 7 you got the ability to block people, even if they aren’t in your contacts list. See, How to Block Callers on Your iPhone in 2 Easy Steps!
Last year’s update gave us plenty of new features. See, 30 Top iOS 7 Tips and Tricks! for more information about what iOS 7 brought us.
When we get a new iOS, we quickly forget what the old one looked like and which features were missing from it. This infographic illustrates how iOS has changed over the years:
QuickType that suggests words based on your writing style and the content of the message.
You’ll be able to add 3rd party keyboard apps such as SwiftKey and Swype to make typing easier.
Sending Voice Messages within a text message will be possible.
Interactive Notifications arrives so you can act on a notification without leaving an app.
Most Important People so you can save your VIP’s and contact them quickly via phone call, text message and FaceTime
The Mail app adds new swipe gestures so you can deal with your inbox more efficiently.
Enhanced Spotlight Search so you can search for items on your phone as well as in the iTunes App and Music Stores, Wikipedia, Bing, Maps, movie showtimes, and Google.
Better photo editing features will be added so you can crop, straighten and adjust color and lighting.
Siri gets smarter in iOS 8, recognizing songs and helping you make purchases in iTunes.
Advanced gaming graphics based on Metal, a new developer tool created by Apple.
iOS 8 brings you Health Kit to help you keep track of your health information and share it with health care providers.
iOS 8 Availability
The iOS 8 update is available today free for:
- iPhone 4S and later models
- iPad 2 and later models
- iPad Mini and iPad Mini with Retina display
- iPod Touch 5th generation
Predictions based on past years are that Apple will release iOS 8 at 1 pm EDT/10 am PDT.
But Wait, Please
Did I mention that you shouldn’t update to iOS 8 today? In addition to overloaded servers, Apple may be experiencing bugs that you don’t want to deal with. Let others have the headaches.
When it’s time to update to iOS 8, I will publish an article guiding you through the process. Look for that article next week at the earliest.
Yosemite Isn’t Ready Yet
iOS 8 is designed to sync with your Mac with cool features that will let you answer calls from your iPhone on your Mac, start an email on your Mac and finish it on your iPhone, etc.
Just one problem: those features depend on your Mac being updated to the new operating system Yosemite which not only hasn’t been introduced yet, the launch date hasn’t even been announced.
Count on this issue causing problems. TUAW cautions against upgrading to iCloud Drive, Apple’s updated Cloud service, due to Yosemite being unavailable.
Be sure to read the TUAW article, Be aware, be careful, be prepared for iCloud Drive if you’re even thinking of updating to iOS 8 soon.
Turn Off App Updates (for Now)
App developers may be rushing updates through the iTunes App Store so they can claim they are iOS 8 ready. Be sure to turn off Automatic Updates to Apps in Settings.
On your iPhone/iPad/iPad Touch go to Settings => iTunes & App Store => Updates => Off
Do you remember the olden days of iOS? If you have an iDevice, which generation of iOS did you start with? What features of iOS 8 are you looking forward to? Are you waiting to update to iOS 8? Let us know in the Comments section below!
iPhone screen image courtesy of Mat Packer via Flickr and Creative Commons