A lot of new iOS features were introduced to us on Monday during the keynote presentation at Apple's annual Worldwide Developers Conference (WWDC 2014); among them was the ability to customize the Notification Center in iOS 8 by adding widgets.
The ability to add widgets to the Notification Center was demonstrated by Craig Federighi during the keynote. He downloaded the ESPN Sports Center app, then pulled down his Notification Center. Under the "Today" view we saw the default widgets:
Popular accessory maker ZAGG is holding a three day Father's Day sale for its iPhone and iPad accessories. You can save up to 70% on iPad and iPad mini keyboards, Bluetooth speakers and iPhone cases. The sale begins on June 4, 2014 and ends on June 6, 2014. Here are a few examples of what's on sale the next few days.
iPad mini Keyboard: Only $30 (normally $100) - While any external keyboard makes typing easier on your iPad mini, Zagg promises you will love its "unique hinge" system that allows you more viewing angles than the competition. The keyboard cover features a reversible reading option for when you're not typing, backlit keys and Bluetooth support. Zagg also claims that its mini keyboard is "one of the thinnest keyboards available" on the market.
The theme of "continuity" was ever-present at yesterday's WWDC 2014 keynote presentation. The ability to pass unfinished work, phone calls and messages between Apple devices was a highlight of both iOS 8 and OSX 10 (Yosemite). Airdrop has been expanded to allow for file and communication syncing between iOS and OSX. A new feature, called "Handoff," facilitates seamless transitioning between your iPad, iPhone and Mac.
If you've ever started an email on your iPad and wanted to switch over to your Mac, for a better keyboard if nothing else, Handoff was created specifically with this in mind. Your iOS 8 device, when in the vicinity of any of your other iOS 8 devices, will notify you and ask if you would like to continue on the second device. So you would be halfway through an email on your iPad, walk into your office with it, and your Mac would recognize it and ask, via a notification in the corner of the screen, if you wanted to finish up on the desktop. This works for a multitude of apps, including the iWork suite, Safari, Maps, Calendar, Reminders and more.
iOS users who are not interested in Apple's new sentence finishing QuickType keyboard will be happy to know that there will be many other alternatives when iOS 8 launches this fall. Apple has opened the door for popular Android apps such as Swype and Swiftkey to join the iOS ecosystem by allowing users to download third-party keyboard apps from the App Store. Both Swype and Swiftkey have already released statements to Re/code announcing their plans to release versions of their products to iOS.
“I think it’s obviously a wonderful day for anyone who wants to be productive and use iOS devices,” said Joe Braidwood, chief marketing officer for SwiftKey.
Aaron Sheedy, vice president of product marketing at Swype said he "couldn’t be more excited" to bring his keyboard to iOS users.
Even though it has been officially retired by Apple, the iPad 2 will support iOS 8 when the new OS is released this fall. Normally discontinued Apple products do not support the latest iOS release, but the second-generation tablet is listed as one of the comptible devices at the bottom of Apple's iOS 8 preview. The older iPhone 4s and 5th generation iPod will also support Apple's new operating system. Here's a complete list of all the iOS 8 compatible devices:
- iPod Touch: 5th Generation
- iPhone: 4s, 5, 5c and 5s
- iPad: iPad 2, iPad with Retina display (3rd and 4th generation), iPad Air, iPad mini and iPad mini with Retina display
With WWDC 2014 set to kickoff in San Francisco this coming Monday morning, search based advertising firm, Chitika, announced that the iOS 7 adoption rate among iPad users is 84.8% and 89.7% among iPhone users.
The report is based on Chitika's analysis of millions of U.S. and Canadian iOS users' online ad impressions between May 22 and May 28, 2014. The results were broken down between iPhone and iPad iOS 7 versions. Although the iPad's 84.8% is a bit lower than the iPhone's, it represents a 6.3% increase since Chitika performed a similar study in February. The iPhone's iOS 7 usage increased by 5.4 percentage points over the same period.
The iPad's lack of multitasking ability has been a constant source of attacks by rival tablet makers' TV ads, and a much requested feature by iPad users. Several weeks ago a rumor surfaced that Apple would add multitasking functionality with the release of iOS 8. Now, according to New York Times technology writer, Brian X. Chen, it appears unlikely that the multitasking ability will be unveiled at WWDC 2014.
In a recent tweet, Chen said that he had been told "the split-screen feature isn't ready yet and won't be shown at WWDC," apparently it is still a work in progress. This is far from a death knell however, as 9to5Mac reports that "iOS 8 is likely to supercharge the functionality of Apple’s iPad with a new split-screen multitasking feature, according to sources with knowledge of the enhancement in development."
Earlier this month, IDC (International Data Corporation) predicted an industry-wide slump in tablet sales for 2014 and into 2015. The market research firm's pessimism stems from disappointing sales and a dwindling year-over-year growth. Even Apple (NASDAQ: AAPL), which still leads in overall sales, saw a -16.1% year-over-year growth from Q1 2013 to Q1 2014. Now IDC is lowering expectations again.
IDC released new projections on Thursday in which it lowered its expectations on 2014 sales of tablets and 2-in-1s from 260.9 million units to 245.4 million. This would represent a 12.1 percent year-over-year growth, which is a far cry from 2013's 51.8 percent.
On Wednesday Apple (NASDAQ: AAPL) and Japan's largest mobile carrier, NTT DOCOMO, announced that the iPad Air and iPad mini with Retina display would both be available on the DOCOMO network early next month.
According to the press release, both models will officially be available on June 10th, but pre-orders will begin on June 2nd through the carrier's website.
The move has been anticipated by industry analysts ever since NTT DOCOMO added the iPhone to its lineup last September, after having initially held off. A growing exodus of customers changed the company's decision.
iOS accessory maker Case-Mate is offering 40% off all its iPhone and iPad accessories this Memorial Day Weekend. The sale begins today and ends on Monday, May 26, 2014, 11:59 EST. You can take advantage of this deal by visiting Case-Mate.com and using the promo code AFMD40 at checkout.
Case-Mate does not offer a lot of options for the iPad Air, but it does carry several cases and stands for the second-, third- and fourth-generation iPad, both iPad mini models, plus it is home to a plethora of iPhone offerings.
Case-Mate's iPhone cases range from the basic to the over-the-top. For example, the "Brilliance" case features genuine crystal with a premium leather accent and retails for $80.