For all the new iOS 8 features that Apple announced yesterday at WWDC, there are 11 that the company completely left out of the conversation. Every single one of these 11 new features promises to change how consumers use their iPhones or iPads.
1.) Wi-Fi Calling: Work in an office with poor reception? Just don’t like calling over standard cell networks? Cell networks can be unreliable, drain power, and their quality can vary based on the distance users travel when on a call. Wi-Fi calling connects directly through a home or office wireless Internet network instead of through some far-off cell tower. Before now, only T-Mobile users on some Android devices could make Wi-Fi calls; with its new feature, Apple can guarantee better call quality and more stable calls on the world’s most-purchased smartphone.
2.) iTunes Purchases through Siri: Even after two years, some users still find speaking to an inanimate object unnatural. That may change soon, however, once users are able to make iTunes purchases through Apple’s proprietary personal digital assistant—especially useful for kids downloading media. In fact, rumor has it that Siri will soon make its (her?) way to the Apple TV, so choosing a movie to rent may be easier than ever in the near future. Parents, be warned: set up the feature with Family Sharing first, or else risk a shocking credit card statement.
3.) DuckDuckGo Support in Safari: Today, Safari supports three search engines: Google, Yahoo!, and Bing. DuckDuckGo is a small, independent search engine that many pundits have touted as being more effective than Google, the world’s number one search engine. Yahoo! and Bing are Google’s two biggest competitors, but Apple’s support of DuckDuckGo is a shot straight at the Web search Goliath. It’s highly unlikely that Apple will remove Google as the default search engine, but expect Apple to do whatever it can to give anyone else an edge.
4.) Battery Usage Per App: Ever seen an iPhone’s battery die quickly after trying out a few new apps? It’s almost impossible to figure out which is the culprit. Android has had extensive battery statistics for almost two years now, and Apple is finally catching up. It’s unclear how this feature will work, but expect a new page, possibly in Settings under “General,” to show which apps are using how much power by percentage. This is great for users who have been complaining that their battery all of a sudden lasts only a few hours for no apparent reason; it’s probably Foursquare, or Rove, or something else that constantly scrounges up location data.
5.) Rich Text Editing in Notes: Notes is as bare-bones as it gets. It seems every app developer under the sun has made a note-taking app that does at least 500 things that Apple’s built-in offering doesn’t. Rich text editing means users will be able to use Notes to make bulleted lists, numbered charts, change font sizes, and a number of other simple features that any good note app should have—it’s not a scratchpad, after all.
6.) Travel Time Notifications: Google Now is a great service for everything from showing local events to upcoming calendar notifications. The best feature? “When-to-leave” notifications: Google examines traffic and location data and figures out the best time for users to leave so they can arrive on time. Apple appears to be incorporating the same sort of system so that users’ calendars and notifications will all work perfectly with their schedule.
7.) Camera Timer: The iPhone camera is great, especially the one in the 5s. However, it lacks a ton of features that standard cameras have had for decades, chief among them the camera timer. No more: instead of being forced to take that selfie with everyone’s faces scrunched together, users can actually use a stand, put the iPhone down, and get into position properly. Then again, where’s the fun in that?
8.) Separate Focus and Exposure in Camera: Another big issue with the iPhone camera is that it’s too simple, which is why there are so many camera apps out there, each with more features than the next. The one thing that Apple’s built-in offering really lacks is exposure settings, which adjust how much light is in the picture—according to Apple, that will change with iOS 8. It’s still unclear exactly how this setting will work, but it offers hope that for improved photos with improved light control.
9.) Private Browsing Per Tab in Safari: In iOS 7, if users wanted to turn Private Browsing—the safe, no-history-storing method of secure browsing—they had to set the entire browser to private or standard. Now users will be able to set it for individual tabs. Most people think that Private Browsing is for viewing risqué content, but it’s also tremendously useful for other things as well, such as finances, using someone else’s device, and more. Private Browsing also speeds up the browser significantly because Safari doesn’t have to save any data. It’s not always the most convenient method, but if users are looking for speed, the ability to set any tab they like for Private Browsing can be very helpful.
10.) Panoramic Photos on iPad: A lot of people use their iPads for photography—especially, it seems, at concerts. While this can get a tad annoying for fans stuck behind an avid iPad photo snapper, the device is great for certain photo applications, and Apple’s new panoramic photo offering is set to become one of them. The larger tablet is easier to hold steady and to take big, wide shots with less shaking and fragmentation; it’s surprising that the iPad didn’t get panoramic photography capabilities from the get-go.
11.) In Case of Emergency (ICE) Card: Many mobile users set ICE contacts in their phones—and many mobile users stopped because it became annoying to talk to “ICE #2″ every day instead of “Mom.” Again, it’s unclear how the ICE cards will work, but should users have some sort of accident that leaves a stranger looking through their phone, ICE contacts that are freely available—even on locked iPhones—may be a life-saving feature.
Expect these 11 new functions to be just the tip of the iceberg of new iOS 8 features. Have you heard of any more really useful iOS 8 features that weren’t mentioned here?
Image courtesy of Flickr