TIME Apple

9 Awesome New Camera Features in iOS 8

Apple Worldwide Developers Conference
Apple CEO Tim Cook introduces IOS 8 in the Moscone Center in San Francisco, California, USA, June 2, 2014. John G. Mabanglo—EPA

A pretty good point-and-shoot camera just got better

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This post is in partnership with Fortune, which offers the latest business and finance news. Read the article below originally published at Fortune.com.

Gathered from around the Web. Some of these improvements made it into Apple’s WWDC keynote last week. Many did not.

– Permanent backup. Every photo and video you take is stored forever in the cloud – for a price. See The great photo shoebox in the sky.
– Exposure control. Slide your finger up and down to set the exposure. See Yahoo Tech.
– Photo editing. Crop, straighten, rotate, adjust light and color in the app. See iClarified.

Click here to see the rest of the list.

TIME Advertising

Apple Dares You To Burn the ‘Chicken Fat’ in Latest iPhone Ad

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Ahead of the launch of its own health tracking software in iOS 8, Apple is plugging the iPhone’s capabilities as a fitness companion. In a new commercial, a variety of iPhone 5s owners make use of various wellness apps already available for the device, such as the Nike+ Running app, a golfing app that measures an athlete’s swing and a pedometer app.

The goofy song featured in the spot is “Chicken Fat” by Robert Preston. It was originally recorded as part of President John F. Kennedy’s fitness program and sent to schools around the country to rouse kids into exercising, according to CNET.

Apple’s own health software, called HealthKit, arrives as part of iOS 8 this fall.

TIME Apple

See Ya, Safari: Chrome for iPhone Is About to Get Faster

Good news for people using Google Chrome on iPhone and iPad: Apple is effectively lifting the speed limits on third-party browsers in iOS 8, allowing all of them to enjoy the same performance as Safari.

Currently, Safari uses a performance-boosting JavaScript engine called Nitro to render web pages. Other browsers, such as Chrome, haven’t been allowed to use this engine in the past, making them slower. That’s going to change in iOS 8, according to 9to5Mac. Even if you don’t use Safari, you may notice a bump in other apps that have built-in browsing functions, such as Facebook and Twitter.

Realistically, the policy change will produce just a modest uptick in performance. (I’ve used Chrome in iOS for years, and can’t say it’s ever felt sluggish.) Still, it’s nice to see Apple open up a bit, on this front as well as others.

iOS 8 is coming this fall.

[9to5Mac]

TIME Wearables

iOS 8 Has the Ingredients for a Pretty Good Apple Watch

Apple didn’t announce an iWatch at its Worldwide Developers Conference on Monday, nor was it expected to.

But what happened instead was just as intriguing: With iOS 8, Apple quietly laid the groundwork for what could be a great wearable platform, adding the raw ingredients to compete with Google, Samsung and others.

One of the big new features in iOS 8 is interactive notifications, which allow users to directly respond to e-mails, calendar appointments and social media posts without going into the app itself.

Yes, it’s one of several features that Apple “borrowed” from Android, and this may not be a coincidence given that actionable notifications are the centerpiece of Google’s own wearable platform, Android Wear. Instead of just seeing static notifications on your wrist, Android Wear will let you respond to them while leaving your phone in your pocket. Without a similar system in iOS, Apple would have been at a big disadvantage.

Interactive notifications aren’t the only smartwatch-friendly feature in iOS 8. Apple is beefing up Siri with streaming voice (so you can confirm what you’re saying as you talk), support for more languages and the ability to activate voice commands by saying “Hey, Siri.”

Siri will also be able to control home automation setups through HomeKit, which makes a lot of sense for a wearable device. You don’t want to have to dig out your phone or tablet just to tweak the thermostat or turn down the lights.

And of course, there’s Health and HealthKit, which will allow users to keep track of all their fitness tracking applications. Wouldn’t it make sense to keep an eye on these stats while exercising, without having to strap an iPhone onto your shoulder?

I’ll cheerfully admit that the case for an iWatch isn’t airtight. There are still tough hardware problems to solve, including battery efficiency, fashionability (for both men and women) and pricing, and I can still pick out some things I’d like to see on the software side (such as third-party app support in Siri).

But Apple’s never been known to tick every feature box at once. Instead, the company tends to take its time building up from a foundation. In hindsight, that’s exactly what Apple did as it built up iOS on the iPhone, before launching the iPad a few years later. With iOS 8, it’s a lot easier to believe that an iWatch is coming next.

TIME Software

Apple’s iOS 8 Borrows Liberally from Android, and That’s Great

Apple

Don't call it a rip-off: Apple adds its own imprint on features that Android users have long enjoyed.

Apple gave its fans plenty to swoon over at its Worldwide Developers Conference on Monday, but it also gave its haters a lot to sneer at.

Although Apple introduced each feature as if it was brand new, some of iOS 8’s biggest additions have been available in some form on Google’s Android platform for years.

To wit:

  • Interactive notifications will let users quickly respond to messages, accept calendar appointments, “Like” Facebook posts and more without having to enter the app itself. Android has offered these kinds of actionable notifications since 2012.
  • Apple will add a row of word predictions above its software keyboard, just like Google Keyboard for Android. iOS 8 will also support third-party software keyboards, which Android has always allowed.
  • Apple has extended iCloud to support all file types, and will let users easily access their files and folders across all their devices. It’s similar to the Google Drive integration found in Android 4.4 KitKat and Chromebooks.
  • Notification Center will support third-party widgets for things like sports scores and breaking news. Google has allowed third-party widgets on the Android home screen for years.
  • The App Store will allow video previews, just like Android’s Google Play Store.
  • Sharing in iOS will be open to all apps instead of just a handful of Apple-approved ones. Android’s Share button already allows sharing to any app that supports it.

If you’re an Android fan, it’s tempting to lampoon Apple for lifting features from its rival. But calling iOS 8 a rip-off of Android would be disingenuous for a couple reasons.

For one thing, Apple isn’t just copying Android features verbatim. It’s adding its own spin. Notifications, for instance, will be interactive straight from the lock screen, which is not currently the case on Android. The addition of widgets in the Notification Center also shows an Apple-like touch: It lets the home screen stay as simple as possible, while moving more advanced functionality off to the side for power users.

Even app-to-app sharing is more advanced than what Android offers. It’ll allow developers to create photo filters within the main Photos app (this feature is actually borrowed from the “Lenses” function in Windows Phone), and extensions such as text translation or document watermarking that work across many apps.

Taking concepts from Android and refining them is not a new approach for Apple. Although Android was first to allow multitasking, Apple’s version had tighter controls on how apps could run in the background, saving system resources and battery life. Android was first to allow copy-and-paste, but Apple’s version was better-executed when it finally arrived. Google, in turn, tweaked Android over time to better handle system resources and to make copy-and-paste more consistent.

Meanwhile, Apple is adding plenty of other features to iOS 8, including HomeKit to make home automation simpler, HealthKit to unify all your health tracking apps, and a bunch of ways to make all Apple products more connected.

This is exactly how competition should work. Instead of just blindly copying Android, Apple has found ways to improve upon key Android features, while adding other things that are entirely new. Now it’s Google’s turn to try and do the same.

Whether you prefer iOS or Android, that’s a very good thing. Over the last couple years, mobile operating systems have felt stagnant, with only minor tweaks to the way we use them. The new features in iOS 8 are a sign that there’s plenty of room left to innovate. I have a hard time getting snarky about that.

TIME Apple

iOS 8 and OS X Yosemite: Fit for a World Where Apple Rules

Apple's latest software makes the case for leaving all your Android and Windows devices behind.

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While wrapping up the keynote at Apple’s Worldwide Developers Conference on Monday, CEO Tim Cook used a familiar refrain: “You’ve seen how our operating systems, devices and services all work together in harmony,” he said. “… This is something only Apple can do.”

Cook has brought up the “only Apple” talking point before, but it’s never felt this accurate. iOS 8 and Mac OS X Yosemite don’t merely ask that you use nothing but Apple hardware; they also suggest that your family and friends should do the same. You’ll all have a better experience, Apple argues, when everyone’s using iPhones, iPads and Macs.

There are a few layers to this strategy, and you can see them play out in iOS 8 and Mac OS X Yosemite:

  • On the personal level, if you have an iPhone, you can use a Mac or iPad to make phone calls or send text messages. You can also start doing something on one device–for instance, editing a document in iWork or writing an e-mail–and immediately pick up where you left off on another device with one click or swipe. Apple is also launching a new iOS Photos app that syncs your edits across all devices, with a Mac version coming later. Apple refers to these features as “continuity,” and they only work when you own several Apple devices.
  • On the family level, iOS 8 will allow a group of users to share calendar appointments, photos, reminders and even purchased apps. If you have children, they can ask you for permission to buy an app, and you can approve the purchase remotely from your iOS device. The idea is that you’ll have a stronger family unit when everyone’s on the same computing platform.
  • Beyond you and your family, Apple has come up with more ways for Apple users to communicate among themselves. In the Messages app for iOS 8, users will be able to exchange brief audio messages and share their locations on a timed or indefinite basis. Much like FaceTime for video chat, these communications exclude users of other platforms, and they’ll likely become extremely popular regardless.

The common thread here is that all these features get better as more people own more Apple products. Although Apple has benefited from network effects before–most notably in the virtuous cycle of the App Store–this is a bit different. Apple has essentially found a way for its own popularity to fuel features that no other platform has.

If I sound both excited and alarmed, that’s intentional. As impressive as Apple’s new software sounds, I’ve always tried to avoid being too invested in any one platform, and have instead relied on services that are readily available everywhere. By doing this, I’ve made it easy to adopt whatever hardware suits my needs, whether it’s an extra-large phone, a smaller tablet or a touchscreen laptop. I’ve never had to wait for Apple to release the kinds of devices I want.

But with iOS 8 and OS X Yosemite, Apple is taking an axe to that approach. It’s come up with entirely new kinds of services that can only exist across Apple hardware. If you want those services, you need to go all-in with Apple. Tim Cook’s words ring truer than ever.

TIME Videos

Here’s What’s Next from Apple (in Under Two Minutes)

Apple's WWDC keynote just wrapped up. Here's what's coming from the tech giant this fall.

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More WWDC coverage here.

TIME technology

Hallelujah—You Can Now Escape Annoying Group Texts Sent to Your iPhone

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Apple CEO Tim Cook reaches for iPhone as he speaks at Apple's Worldwide Developer Conference (WWDC) AFP/Getty Images

RIP irrelevant group text conversations. We won't miss you

You can now officially say goodbye to the inevitable feeling of dread that overtakes your body upon realizing you’ve non-consensually been added on to an irrelevant group text conversation.

Lot’s of stuff happened Monday at Apple’s WWDC. But one of the developer conference’s most exciting moments wasn’t har-harring with the Twitterverse when exec Craig Federighi showed off OS X Yosemite’s phone features by screening a call from his Mom and opting to dial Dr. Dre instead. It was when Apple announced that in iOS 8, users can finally unsubscribe from the endless pings of group chats. Because as happy as you are to know that your four closest friends and three randos with unfamiliar area codes are getting drinks Friday, you’re out of town and really don’t want to be a part of the painstaking pro-cons of West Village versus Williamsburg.

Up until now, there was no opt-out policy of group iMessages, the chain email of our era. There’s now a safe exit from a group text with a new do not disturb feature, which will silence the thread. If you aren’t one for subtlety, you can also just leave.

Sure, this might not be the most innovative thing at WWDC—your phone can now act as a remote control for your entire house with HomeKit and track your medical stats with HealthKit—but this development might save some phones from getting thrown out windows at times of complete annoyance.

TIME Companies

Apple Unveils New Mobile Operating System iOS 8

Long-rumored health and smarthome features introduced

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Apple introduced a new version of its mobile operating system, iOS 8, at its annual Worldwide Developers Conference on Monday.

CEO Tim Cook described iOS 8 as “a huge release” comprised of new features for end users as well as additional capabilities for developers. For users, iOS 8 will include an interactive notification center, an improved email inbox, a revamped keyboard with predictive typing, and a number of features for businesses. For developers, Apple announced a new programming language, dubbed Swift, to make it much faster to create apps for iOS.

As widely rumored before the conference, Apple unveiled HealthKit, software for tracking everything from exercise to blood pressure. The system, which Apple said it was working on with the Mayo Clinic, will integrate health data from a wide range of apps and devices. “Up to now, you couldn’t get a single comprehensive picture of your health,” said Apple software engineering chief Craig Federighi.

Another introduction, HomeKit, will allow iOS to connect with a number of smarthome devices. Federighi gave the example of telling Siri, Apple’s digital assistant, that it was “time for bed,” which would signal smart devices, like light bulbs, to change states.

Executives demonstrated an updated Messages app which will let users share their locations with one another. The company is also adding a “tap-to-talk” feature that allows a user to hold down the screen to turn on the microphone and speak a message into a messaging thread. Audio messages are automatically played when a user raises the phone to their ear.

Apple is adding the option to preview apps or to purchase them in discounted bundles in its App Store. TestFlight is another feature being aimed at developers, allowing them to recruit iOS users as beta testers before an app’s final release.

Siri is also getting some upgrades. Much like Google Now, Siri in iOS 8 will be accessible with just a voice command of “Hey, Siri.” The upgraded assistant will also include Shazam song recognition, allowing users to quickly make iTunes purchases.

iOS will be available as a beta for developers today; it will be available to users this fall.

“Apple engineers platforms, devices and services together. WE do this so we can create a seamless experience for our users that is unparalleled in the industry,” said Cook in his closing remarks. “This is something only Apple can do.”

TIME Apple

4 Surefire Ways Apple Can Blow the Doors Off 2014

Apple Introduces iPhone 5
Justin Sullivan—Getty Images

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This post is in partnership with Fortune, which offers the latest business and finance news. Read the article below originally published at Fortune.com.

With over 15 years of hit products under Apple’s belt, it’s a bold statement indeed when one of it executives promises “the best product pipeline” is still to come. But that’s exactly what Apple Senior Vice President Eddy Cue did on Wednesday at the Code Conference in Ranchos Palos Verdes, Calif. “We want to do a few really incredible things,” he said. “I believe certain products we’ve got coming are great.”

We’re not product maestros, but there are a few things Apple could do to make the rest of 2014 a stellar year.

Bring iBeacon into the home in a big way.

One of the biggest futuristic tech trends industry insiders salivate over is the so-called “Internet of Things,” in particular, home devices — TVs, thermostats, and even refrigerators — connected online to make them easier to manage. Last year, Apple introduced a technology called iBeacon that lets iPhones and iPads communicate with other devices via Bluetooth. The technology is still in its early stages. But it may be possible to use your iPhone to control all sorts of home electronics and appliances. One possible scenario? When approaching a TV, your iPhone automatically turns into a remote control that can turn the screen on and bring up show listings.

Release a huge Apple TV software update.

Many people are waiting impatiently for an Apple television set. But they’ll probably wait a while longer judging from comments by Cue that Apple is working on ways to fix the TV experience – but that the fix is “complicated.” Until that day comes, Ross Rubin, principal analyst at Reticle Research, suggests that Apple reinvent the way people use the current Apple TV, which requires users to open up different apps like Netflix or HBO and dive through their menus to find the shows they want. Instead, Rubin suggests a more unified experience that lets users search, view and play media from one set of menus.

More biometrics.

The iPhone 5s, with its Touch ID feature, remains the first and only Apple device that integrates fingerprint technology directly into the device. Expect Touch ID to find its way into the iPad, but imagine touch recognition applied across Apple’s entire hardware ecosystem including computers.

Thinner, faster, more efficient devices across the board.

Perhaps this is the e biggest no-brainer of them all. But if Apple is guilty of anything, it is in falling behind rivals in areas like screen size. Like it or not, smartphone screens are getting bigger – some easily push 5-inches – while the iPhone 5 and 5s remain at a comparably small 4-inches. Also, the well-received MacBook Air hasn’t been redesigned in years – and even the most sympathetic of gadget critics will admit the thin-and-light notebook line could use sharper screens. While such tweaks may not be what most people thought of when Cue made his bold statement, Rubin raises a fair point given ever-improving computer technology. “Over time, products are going to be better than they have been in the past. That could lead many companies to say that they have the strongest products in the pipeline than they’ve ever had.” Even, of course, if those companies aren’t truly innovating.

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