News Column

Apple eyes details in coming upgrade

June 22, 2014

By Jessica Van Sack, Boston Herald

June 23--Apple's next mobile operating system -- slated for release in the fall -- contains a slew of small, new conveniences that should make for a solid upgrade to iPhones and iPads.

I've been testing the beta version of iOS 8, loading it onto an old iPhone that I don't regularly use because prerelease operating systems are, by definition, still full of software bugs that can do permanent damage. But this system is already pretty seamless, indicating a much smoother launch for this system than its predecessor, a hiccup-ridden version of iOS 7 that was released to the public last fall.

This upgrade doesn't contain much in the way of visual design changes. It's the small things -- like a new feature that lets users scan in their credit cards rather than having to manually enter them for online purchases -- that make iOS 8 a crowd-pleaser.

It's like Apple took a step back and thought about what its users need and want. For instance, a new feature for flaky phone users: The phone automatically beams out its last known location just as the battery is about to die. So when you realize your phone is gone and you can't follow the sound of the ring because it's dead, your iCloud account points you in the right direction.

Another feature for iPhone users who like to live on the edge: You can now hide videos and photos that you've taken from sticky-fingered friends and family who swipe through your phone without asking.

For the trigger-happy among us, there is a photo recovery function, allowing users to undo accidental deletions for the first time.

Photo-editing tools giving the user more control over focus and exposure in iOS 8. Apple has finally caught on to the lure of so many photography apps that are sold in its App Store. It's making many of the features contained within them native to the system, in addition to adding a time-lapse video feature that is perfect for all those wannabe videographers egged on by Vine and Instagram.

The next iPhone is rumored to be scheduled for release around the time that iOS 8 is pushed out. Recent reports indicate that the iPhone 6 could resemble a phablet -- a smartphone/tablet hybrid that has, until now, been the province of Windows and Android phones. All signs point to iOS 8 providing a solid software platform for the upcoming debut of whatever hardware Apple has in store for consumers.


(c)2014 the Boston Herald

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Source: Boston Herald (MA)

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