Apple Unveils iOS 8 Beta: Smarter Homes, Health Data Integration Key Features June 4, 2014 views: 995 Source: Apple Apple yesterday announced its latest operating software, the Apple iOS 8 SDK (Software Development Kit), at its Worldwide Developer’s Conference at San Francisco. The new version gives extensive creative and customization powers to app developers with the release of over 4,000 APIs (Application Programming Interface). What does that mean for the end user? Exciting new apps for the iOSphere. Criag Federighi, Apple’s Senior Vice President of Software Engineering, called it launch the “biggest iOS release since the launch of the App Store.” Here are some key features: HomeKit for Smarter Homes: HomeKit syncs your iPhone and iPad with household gadgetry so you can operate appliances, automated doors, webcams, home security systems and lights with your handheld device. And all this is accomplished through one app for devices from different brands. You can even go hands-free with Siri – Apple’s voice operated personal assistant. The devices can be grouped to suit a mode or ‘scene’. For example, if you tell Siri “Go to bed”, it will turn the lights off, lock the access doors and so on. So far Apple has partnered with brands not prominent in the Indian market, except Philips and Haier perhaps. HealthKit for All-Round Health Tracking: This API connects the various health and fitness apps on your phone to integrate all health data. The Apple release illustrates: ‘For example, your blood pressure app could share its data with a physician app, such as the Mayo Clinic app, so your doctor can provide high-quality guidance and care.’ Metal for 3D Console Games On Phones: Gaming on Apple tabs and phones will leapfrog on the iOS8, thanks to Metal, a new graphics technology that gets more out of the existing A7 chip. Apple claims it will increase the draw speed 10 times, which will allow gaming companies to design console games in 3D for phones for the first time. Photo Edit and Storage: PhotoKit & Other Cam APIs give developers fine grain control over focus, white balance and exposure. The iCloud Photo Library feature will store all users photos and the edits made to each photo across all their devices automatically. This integration will extend to the Apple OS X on desktop. Family Download Optimisation: The Independent reports, “A response to criticism surrounding in-app purchases and children running up large bills, Family Sharing allows up to six family members to share information. Crucially, the app is linked to a single payment card and permission must be granted by a parent for any purchase by a child in the family.” Times Magazine also reports that “Apple is adding the option to preview apps or to purchase them in discounted bundles in its App Store.” The iOS 8 Beta software and SDK are available immediately for iOS Developer Program members at developer.apple.com. iOS 8 will be available as a free software update for iPhone 4s, iPhone 5, iPhone 5c, iPhone 5s, iPod Touch 5th Generation, iPad 2, iPad with Retina Display, iPad Air, iPad Mini and iPad Mini with Retina Display around September. Some features may not be available in all regions or all languages. Get more from the Apple press release here.