Thoughts on iOS 8

With September and October each year comes the arrival of the latest and greatest phone/s from Apple and of course that also means that there will be a new version of iOS for those of us who who be sticking with our old iPhones and iPads.

Ever since moving to Japan I’ve been an Apple device user and so I thought it might be useful to jot down a few of my thoughts and opinions now that I’ve had a chance to play around with the released version on iOS 8.

First off, the change in design direction with iOS 7 is further refined in iOS 8 with several small touches that help to make the overall design feel a bit more coherent. I’m one of those people who really appreciated the move away from using ‘real’ textures in previous iOS versions so every step away from that that Apple takes is a step in the right direction as far as I’m concerned.

Safari has seen a whole raft of added features with my favorite being the shift towards allowing DuckDuckGo to be used as a search provider. Safari also nows lets users add third part apps and extensions to the share menu which means that adding links to Pinboard or Instapaper no longer means having to rely on hamfisted Javascript bookmarks or copy and pasting between separate apps. It’s a smoother experience overall and should be even easy to use for more casual users.

Along with the third party changes to Safari Apple has also introduced third party Notification Center widgets that allow third party apps to display useful information and allow basic interactions with notifications. It can be extremely useful but the only caveat is that there might be so many apps vying for space in Notification Center that a policy of less is better might be worth following here.

There are a myriad of smaller tweaks and other additions to iOS 8 but I’ll leave those complicated sorts of overviews to better qualified people.