Apple iOS 8: Release date, news, apps and design

All the latest news on Apple's mobile OS upgrade

Apple have unveiled their new operating system, iOS 8, and we've rounded up all the latest news and featuresin one place.

Apple's new operating system has been drumming up rumours all year, and it's finally been announced at Apple's WWDC. Apple has taken another step up from iOS 7, further streamlining the Apple experience, especially with integration and syncing between iOS devices. Here's a rundown of the top iOS 8 new features revealed at WWDC.

If you want to see exactly what's new in the latest iOS upgrade, head on over to our iOS 8 vs. iOS 7 preview.

iOS 8: Notification Center

You can still pull down notifications from the Today view, but iOS 8 allows you to respond to banner notifications as you receive them by swiping on the notification at the top of the screen and typing a quick response, no matter which app you have open.

This also goes for notifications in the lock screen, so you can quickly respond to messages or notifications that need immediate attention.

iOS 8: Spotlight

Moved to the top of the screen with iOS 7, Spotlight has been made even more intelligent with iOS 8 – it now not only searches on your device, but also searches the internet and offers suggestions based on what you've typed. Spotlight will now pull up apps in the App Store, content from iTunes, Wikipedia definitions and movie listings in your local area.

iOS 8: QuickType

Taking a leaf out of Android's book, iOS 8 introduces smarter word suggestions appearing just above the keyboard. Messages suggests its language based on the conversation you're having, so it won't come up with casual language for a conversation with your boss.

iOS 8: HealthKit

This serves as Apple's hub for health tracking and fitness apps. It hosts Apple's own monitoring app, Health, which is working with health organisations including the NHS to sync your health data when you add a new reading and alert your doctor if there's anything out of the ordinary, for example unusually high blood pressure.

HealthKit will also group together other health and fitness apps, such as Nike+, which is adapting to fit into the new health hub, making HealthKit a one-stop-shop for your personal fitness and health data.

iOS 8: Messages

Incessant notifications from group message threads are set to become a thing of the past, as iOS 8 enables you to set message thread notifications to 'do not disturb' on individual threads. You can also name threads, add or remove people, share your location with thread members (either for an hour, a day or indefinitely) and easily view all the media shared in the thread.

You'll also be able to quickly reply to messages with an audio message, by recording a voice message and sending it as an audio file within the thread.

iOS 8: Mail

When composing a new message, you can swipe down to hide the message, access the rest of your inbox and mail, and swipe up on the email to retrieve it and finish composing. Apple has also introduced single-swipe moves for deleting messages and marking them as unread.

iOS 8: Family Sharing

Up to six devices can be set up as a family unit, all sharing a common photo stream, calendars, reminder lists and purchases from the App Store. Find My Friends will also be configured to help the family unit keep track of each other, and although the family unit will be set up with one shared credit card, parents can rest easy, as kids will have to send a request to their parents' device before they're allowed to make any purchases.

iOS 8: Siri

Siri gets even smarter on iOS 8, with Shazam integration so any song will be identified and you'll be able to purchase the song with iTunes immediately. You don't even have to touch your device to activate Siri, and in a move that earily apes Google's search command, you just need to say "Hey Siri" from the homescreen and it'll spring to life.

iOS 8: Continuity

Working across devices just became much easier, with apps automatically syncing between devices and alerting you if any changes are made, so you can pick up from exactly the same spot on another device with the same programme. You'll be able to pick up and make phone calls using your iPad and Mac, as long as your phone is nearby. There'll also be no need to configure personal hotspots between devices.

iOS 8: HomeKit

As tech creeps ever-further into our homes, Apple get ahead of the curve with HomeKit, that brings all your automated devices in one place and allows you to sync them to certain scenes and settings. Devices such as your lights, garage door, and door lock can be grouped and set to certain situations, for example to lock or turn off at 'bedtime'.

Companies such as Honeywell and Philips have already been consulted to ensure compatibility with their products, with surely more to come.

iOS 8: Photos

Apple have thrown in even more editing features, with autocropping, autostraightening and smart editing for light and colour all on the Photos app.

iOS 8: App Store

Finally, the app store just became a whole lot friendlier, using a scroll system to view different apps, a much more natural alternative to the current swiping. 'Trending searches', 'related searches' and 'explore' tabs will be added, making it easier and quicker to find and download new apps.

When Apple announced iOS 7 in June last year and launched it with the iPhone 5S, it ushered in the biggest visual change the operating system had seen since its inception. Designed by Jony Ive, the UI had been given a flat, 2D overhaul with bold bright colours, new icons and a cool parrallaxing effect.

There were also new features introduced like iTunes Radio and AirDrop. Most recently, Apple introduced CarPlay - revealed at this year's Geneva Motor Show - in the form of an iOS 7.1 update.

Even with this recent upgrade, plenty of rumours are starting to circulate about what Apple could have in store for its next major update - iOS 8 - that many predect will be revealed to us in the next few months. And, chances are, could be launched with the iPhone 6 at the end of this year.

We've sorted through the internet rumour mill to bring you the latest news and rumours on what Cupertino could have planned and, more importantly, when we could see it.

Apple iOS 8: Design

Given the visual overhaul that Apple went through with iOS 7, it's unlikely we'll see such a big change happening again. Part of the reason Apple redesigned iOS 7 was to launch it alongside the colour-themed iPhone 5c. So we're reasonably confident that, in terms of the UI, very little will change.

That hasn't stopped designers uploading concept ideas to the internet. The one below is the work of Vilim Pluzaric and was brought to our attention by It continues the flat design of iOS 7 and the standard grid layout of the apps.

What we can also be reasonably sure of is that Apple won't be embracing the widgets that have made Android so popular.

Apple iOS 8: Apps and Healthbook

One of the biggest developing trends in mobile tech this year is likely to be the integration of health and fitness features.

Manufacturers are using the sensors in smartphones to give us metrics on all manner of health-related issues. For instance, Samsung has included a heart rate monitor on the recently-released Samsung Galaxy S5.

Several rumours have hinted at a new app called Healthbook that Apple is reportedly developing to run on iOS 8. The app will collect and organise information about your fitness collected from the new M7 processor inside the iPhone 5S and - possibly from a wearable device such as the iWatch.

First reported by MacRumors, the Healthbook app will apparently take its look from Apple's Passbook app.

"The new health and fitness application's interface is a stack of cards that can be easily swiped between. Each card represents a different fitness or health data point. The prototype logo for "Healthbook" is similar to Passbook's icon, but it is adorned with graphics representing vital signs," the site reports.

Apple iOS 8: Siri

Apple's digital assistant will reportedly become much smarter in iOS 8 as the company is planning to open the feature up to more third-party developers.

Currently, all Siri requests need to be routed via Apple's own servers. Only a handful of third party service providers currently link into Siri's servers. They include information provider Wolfram Alpha and US restaurant booking service OpenTable.

Other changes mooted for Siri include allowing data to be displayed in a more constrained space. An example given by The Information includes while a user is jogging and has their running app displayed.

Another example was actually bringing the running app to “the fore when a user starts jogging”.

Apple's main goal appears to be making Siri less gimmicky and more useful.

Apple iOS 8: Maps

Cupertino is understood to be putting some serious work into its Maps application for the upcoming iOS 8 upgrade. Apple acquired plenty of Maps-based companies last year, including the likes of Embark and Locationary. The latter produces crowdsourced location data on local restaurants and other venues.

According to a report in 9to5Mac, Apple will be adding public transport directions to Apple Maps for iOS 8. The site quotes sources that state: "Using data acquired via acquisitions and various partnerships, transit will be deeply integrated into the new maps application."

Unfortunately, it looks like this service will only extend to major US cities like New York and LA at present, but we're hoping that the UK gets its own version in a timely fashion following an iOS 8 launch on these shores.

Source: 9to5Mac

Apple iOS 8: Mobile Payments

Apple appears to be building a mobile payment solution slowly but surely through the likes of Passbook and the TouchID scanner on the iPhone 5S.

When it comes to iOS 8 though, we could see even more mobile payment functionality according to a report by the Wall Street Journal.

The WSJ claims that Eddy Cue - Apple's senior VP in charge of Internet Software and Services has been meeting with companies to discuss handling payments in real brick-and-mortar retail stores.

Whether this will be through the Bluetooth-based iBeacons, like in existing Apple stores, remains to be seen. But its certainly an intriguing idea that could be making its way into iOS 8.

Source: WSJ

Apple iOS 8: Release date

As usual with any Apple news, we have no official confirmation of when we might see an operating system upgrade. But, looking through the history of the company's announcements, we can make an educated guess.

It's likely Cupertino will first reveal the new operating system at its Worldwide Developers Conference, which kicks off on Monday, June 2nd. In which case, it's a mere three months until we can have some kind of official confirmation that Apple is working on a successor.

So, when are we actually likely to get it? Well, Apple usually partners its new mobile operating system with some new hardware, which likely means we won't get to use it until the autumn.

Again, looking at past releases, we can anticipate the new OS arriving with the iPhone 6 sometime in September or October. Less likely is that Apple could decide to launch it with the iPad 6. But, since we have no clear idea when that will be either, it's unlikely to be before the end of October.

As ever, we'll be keeping our eyes and ears open for news of iOS 8 and will keep this page updated accordingly. If you hear anything, or want to add in your own thoughts - you can let us know on Twitter or through Facebook.