Apple describes iOS 8 as the biggest release since the launch of the App Store

Apple announces OS X Yosemite iOS 8 with new Health app and new apps SDK

At its annual Worldwide Developers Conference (WWDC) in California, Apple announced the details of the next version of its Mac operating system, OS X 10.10 aka Yosemite. In his keynote speech, CEO Tim Cook also revealed iOS 8, the next version of the iPhone and iPad OS, and a new software developers’ kit (SDK) for app creation.

OS X Yosemite has been redesigned to make controls clearer, smarter and easier to understand. The new Today view in Notification Center offers a quick look at everything a user needs to know for the day ahead, with widgets for Calendar, Weather, Stocks, Reminders, World Clock and social networks. The iCloud Drive for cloud storage is located within the Finder and can store files of any type, using simple drag and drop.

Apple’s Safari web browser has a new streamlined design that puts the most important controls within easy reach, including notable security improvements. Mail has been improved to make editing and sending attachments easier. A new feature called Handoff lets a user start an activity on one device and pass it to another, while Instant Hotspot makes using an iPhone’s hotspot as easy as connecting to a Wi-Fi network. Yosemite also allows users to make iPhone calls from their Mac, using the computer like a speakerphone.

“Yosemite is the future of OS X with its incredible new design and amazing new apps, all engineered to work beautifully with iOS,” said Craig Federighi, Apple’s senior vice president of Software Engineering. “We engineer our platforms, services and devices together, so we are able to create a seamless experience for our users across all our products that is unparalleled in the industry. It’s something only Apple can deliver.”

Yosemite is scheduled to become available on the Mac App Store this autumn. The developer preview of Yosemite is available to Mac Developer Program members now and Apple has introduced the OS X Beta Program. Mac users can participate in the OS X Beta Program for Yosemite this summer and download the final version for free. Customers interested in signing up can visit for more details.

In his keynote speech, Cook also announced details of iOS 8. The update introduces iCloud Photo Library, predictive typing for Apple’s QuickType keyboard; Family Sharing, new Messages features, iCloud Drive and the new Health App.

Health will gather information determined by the user from their preferred health apps and fitness devices and iOS 8 offers developers the ability for health and fitness apps to communicate with each other. With the user’s permission, each app can use specific information from other apps to provide a more comprehensive way to manage health and fitness.

For developers, the keynote speech also brought news of the iOS 8 SDK, featuring over 4,000 new APIs, improved extensibility features, HealthKit, HomeKit and the new Swift programming language.

HealthKit combines data to help users take better care of their health. For example, a blood pressure app could share data with a physician app, or a fitness app could pull in other key HealthKit metrics such as sleep and nutrition to build a custom user profile and improve overall health performance.

HomeKit lets home accessories connect to better manage a user’s home. HomeKit delivers a common protocol, secure pairing and the ability to easily control individual or groups of devices throughout the house, including integration with Siri, the iOS voice-activated assistant. For example, a user might tell Siri they were “going to bed”, which could instruct Siri to dim the lights, lock the doors, close the garage door and set the thermostat.

For app development, Apple announced Swift, a new programming language for iOS and OS X. Designed for Cocoa and Cocoa Touch, Swift is intended to combine the performance and efficiency of compiled languages with the simplicity and interactivity of popular scripting languages. Swift coexists with Objective-C code, enabling developers to integrate Swift in to their existing apps. In conjunction with Xcode Playgrounds, writing Swift code becomes interactive by instantly displaying the output of Swift code.

Full details of all the keynote announcements can be found on the Apple website.

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