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Digital Life

Eight key announcements from Apple at WWDC 2014

Published on Jun 3, 2014 7:36 AM

SAN FRANCISCO - Despite a lack of major hardware announcements at this morning's keynote address (June 3, 1AM SGT) at Apple's annual Worldwide Developers Conference( WWDC), the company still managed to show a glimpse of its future with several key updates to its upcoming iOS 8 mobile operating system and OS X 10.10 Yosemite desktop operating system that will see a more cohesive integration between devices of both types.

From task switching from a desktop to a tablet, Airdrop between iOS and Mac to sharing of apps between family members, Digital Life sums up eight key changes to Apple's ecosystem.

1) More keyboard support and features for iOS 8.

You are not the only one bored with that lone keyboard on Apple devices. For those of you who envy the slew of gesture controlled keyboards on Android, the most popular one of all, the SwiftKey predictive keyboard, is making its way to iOS 8.

If you prefer the default keyboard, Apple is updating it with a new predictive one with QuickType in iOS 8 that will provide you with better and smarter auto-complete suggestions. It is context sensitive and will give you suggestions based on the content written so far.

For example, when you type "Do you want to go for", it will prompt you with "a dinner" or "a movie".

2) HealthKit.

This is a new app in OS 8 that acts as a hub to store all your personal health and fitness data from third party apps, such as Nike+ Move and Mayo Clinic. The app will allow you to monitor your fitness and information on your health over longer periods of time at one glance, instead of staring at them across multiple apps.

3) Better AirDrop.

Previously, AirDrop - Apple's easy but proprietary way to share files wirelessly - works only between iOS devices or between Mac computers. Now, with iOS 8 and OS X Yosemite, you can share files, such as photos or videos, between an iOS device and a Mac computer. Now, AirDrop is finally really useful.

4) Handoff.

This is a close proximity feature that exists in both iOS 8 and OS X Yosemite, which allows devices on both platforms to be recognised and detected. Users can then continue working across iOS devices and Mac computers. For example, if you are typing an e-mail message on your iPhone and walk near your iMac, your iMac will prompt you to continue writing your e-mail on the computer.

5) iCloud Drive.

Think of this as Dropbox cloud storage, but now integrated into iOS 8, OS X Yosemite, and even the competing Windows operating system. Apple should have done this earlier and it is making up for it by offering iCloud Drive at a highly attractive rate of US$0.99 ($1.24) for 20GB per month, and US$3.99 for 200GB per month. It is free if you are able to keep within 5GB of cloud storage use.

6) Family Sharing.

Family members no longer have to buy the same app multiple times across devices. This feature in iOS 8 allows up to six family members to share iTunes purchases across devices. The catch is that you will need to use one credit card as means of payment across all the iTunes accounts.

And when children buy any app or make an in-app purchases on their device, the Family Sharing feature will prompt the parent to approve or deny the purchase.

7) Enhanced iMessage.

The iMessage in OS X Yosemite is no longer just for sending text iMessages to your friends or relatives on other iOS devices. You can now send SMS messages as well as make and receive calls from your iMac using the speakers and microphone.

8) Refreshed Spotlight.

The new Spotlight is more than just for regular searches. You can quickly launch apps by typing the first few letters that is associated with the app, browse for documents on your Mac, search for contacts or even search everything with Wikipedia within the new Spotlight.