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My Take on iOS8


IOS7 made me feel like I just bought a new phone. The graphics overhaul was a major leap- like going from OS9 to OSX for the first time on a Mac. After I downloaded IOS8 on my iPhone 5C (don’t judge me!), I didn’t have that same sense of “WOW!”. But as I dug deeper, I found that there are a TON of 'common sense', much needed, often wished for improvements to IOS7! I am very happy with it so far. As for stability- I have not had any issues… and installing it (almost exactly when it was released) went a lot smoother than the IOS7 update. I had a false start- but I'm sure it was just the system being slammed.

Here are just a few changes and updates I love so far:

  • "Hey Siri!" Best thing ever. Now my phone can sit on my windshield mount and take orders while I drive. It works most of the time. I've had to intervene a few times when it wouldn't go back to my WAZE properly after being told to skip a song that was playing.

  • The ability to trash mail as it comes in is pretty great!

  • The previous Weather app was pretty… but I never used it. I found that The Weather Channel app did a much better job, had a longer range forecast and was more accurate. WELL- the ISO8 Weather app now gets it’s data FROM The Weather Channel. It also gives a longer range forecast.

  • All of the Messages updates are great. If you’ve spent any time using Facebook messenger- you’re already familiar with adding video, pictures and audio clips within the app. You can also send your location in a message too now, which is pretty great! Just click “details” to see the options.

  • Predictive typing. Much smoother and less annoying than the previous method. Love that it gives options above where you type. I wish this was implemented across the board though. It doesn’t come up when typing in Safari for example.

  • Siri is now your Shazam. All you have to do is ask “What song is this?” while it’s playing. Let me know how that works out for you in a loud bar or club though. It also takes a lot longer than using Shazam directly.

  • There are a bunch of great improvements and additions to the Photo app. While it’s great that they have borrowed a lot of the features of the iPhoto app for the basic Photo app- I thought I recalled them saying Instagram integration would be available right inside the app. Maybe I was mistaken. It does, however, seem to integrate other apps directly into the share tab. For example, I have added a tab for Day One, the journal app/ personal timeline. Now I can send a photo directly into the app. Also not pleased with little publicized killing of IPhoto for iOS. While the new editing features in the photo app are nice- it's a pretty lite version of what IPhoto was. Not to mention I had paid for that now missing iPhoto app! Apple- you owe me now.

  • Speaking of Day One- it’s one of the first apps I added into the pull-down notification window as a new widget.

  • The whole pull-down widget feature is becoming a very useful thing now. A nice way to see a lot of information without having to dig through apps. Nice updates here!

  • The Camera app has nice improvements. My immediate favorite is the TIMER! Now you can give yourself 10 seconds to run into frame. You can finally put your phone on a steady surface and take a nice sharp picture like with a traditional camera. Also added is a new shutter feature when you tap to focus. They’ve also added a really cool time-lapse feature. Nice improvements here.

After getting familiar with all the improvements to my iPhone, something struck me. IOS8 could not have come at a better time. People still feeling the aftershocks of Facebook’s awful decision to force it’s messenger app on us- which has in turn caused a lot of people to stop communicating via Facebook and move over to texting and other options. At the same time, Apple is buttoning up it’s features and connectivity within the Iphone/ Apple garden walls in a way that, for some, might loosen Facebook’s grip on us.

The coolest features of Facebook Messenger are now available in the IOS8 Messages app- record audio notes, send location, send pics, etc. So if you’re concerned about your privacy using the Facebook Messenger app (which was really blown out of proportion and not all that bad)- problem solved! Especially if you have unlimited texting!

Are you one of those people who are freaked out about the ownership of the copyrights of your photos when posting to Facebook? Well- maybe it’s time to start using the sharing features in the Photo app. You can control who sees what. Friends and family that YOU INVITE can see, 'like' and even comment on your photos. So- that takes care of that (even if it’s an unnecessary worry).

'Find Friends' is a very fun and useful feature. It’s not quite the same as checking in somewhere on Facebook- but it’s great if you want to keep up with where friends and family are- plus a lot of other cool features built in. For example, I use it to track family when they’re coming to visit. I get an alert when they’re almost at the house (so I can hide the vacuum and shove all the laundry somewhere). I also use it to make sure older family members made it home OK without having to call them. My phone also sends my wife an automatic email when I pass the train stop before ours so she doesn’t have to ask if the train is on time. I’ve also used it to check to see if someone is driving before sending them a text. It’s a powerful app- and I suspect it’s underutilized.

I am a frequent Facebook poster. I like to share articles, post quick observations… or just share the misery of my morning commute to everyone that can appreciate it. Facebook has served as a sort of journal for me- marking where I’ve been, what we were doing and adding picture. I could always set posts to private just to have them and continue to use Facebook, but I’m finding that the Day One journaling app for iPhone is a really great private way to keep notes. When you add a photo to it, it automatically notes the location, time, date and even the weather! So you truly have a sense of the day. You can share postings from Day One to social media- or just email to friends and family. It’s a great alternative to Facebook… and looks a lot cooler too!

So the point is this: almost every function of Facebook that you use and enjoy exists within your iPhone. If you’re concerned that Facebook is over-reaching or you’re upset about your privacy- replace it. IOS8 takes everything great about the iPhone and improves upon it… without tracking your every move and throwing ads in your face all day.

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