Apple has previewed the latest version of its mobile OS, billing iOS 8 as the biggest release for developers since the launch of the App Store at its worldwide developers’ conference.
The updated operating system will have a host of new features including the ability for apps to share information and the new Health app, which is designed to give "a single comprehensive overview of your fitness”. The app also interacts with other fitness apps enabling users to be able to completely monitor their own health.
The OS will also include an updated predictive typing feature which suggests words based on the context of those previously typed in. Photos in iOS 8 have also received an update, giving users the ability to save all images and videos taken by their device to the cloud and share with friends using the new Family Sharing service.
Syncing is a big feature in iOS 8 altogether in fact. The update promises to deliver a more seamless experience for Apple fans with more than one device, with users able to easily pick up phone or SMS conversations on any other Apple device. The iCloud Drive file sharing service will also be available on iOS in this new version, enabling users to work on files no matter what device they are on.
However, perhaps one of the most exciting announcements for developers was the announcement of Swift, a new programming language that Apple say comes without the "baggage” of Objective-C, the language that formed the basis of OS x and iOS.
The new language is said to make it "easier for developers to create incredible apps” by combining "the performance and efficiency of compiled languages with the simplicity and interactivity of popular scripting languages.”
"By design, Swift helps developers write safer and more reliable code by eliminating entire categories of common programming errors, and coexists with Objective-C® code, so developers can easily integrate Swift into their existing apps. Xcode® Playgrounds make writing Swift code incredibly interactive by instantly displaying the output of Swift code,” Apple said .
Swift is capable of working alongside current programming languages used in iOS app development and for those who can’t wait to get started, a 500-page guide is available in the iBooks Store. It’s also available in the Xcode 6 beta which is already available for download by developers.