In Brief: iOS 8

Apple released iOS 8, “the biggest iOS release ever,” and as with most Apple releases everyone went for it at the same time. If you’re still waiting for the download, here are some posts that explain what you’ll get.

Oh, but read this first if you have an iPhone 4S or iPad 2 and haven’t updated yet.

Re/Code Highlights

For its review of iOS 8, Re/Code took the Problem/Solution route starting with texting using your voice. I may be an Android user, but a good deal of my family — check that, all but myself and my Dad — have iPhones. My sister-in-law sends messages that sometimes have errors, because she is using the iPhone’s text-to-speech feature while she handles three kids under the age of 10 coming to and from piano lessons, school, or chasing the bunnies around the yard. With iOS 8, as Re/Code puts it, Apple lets you send “short recordings of your voice that the recipient plays to hear — in place of texts.” It only works on iMessage, though, so I’m out of luck. But the rest of my iPhone family is not.

Also included in iOS 8: family share options so families can more easily share music and apps with each other, and some features in Mail that will make lawyers happy:

Mail now lets you swipe to the right on any email in its list to mark a message as Unread or Read. Swiping hard to the left immediately trashes a message, which helped me to quickly clean out emails I didn’t want. At the top of each email message, iOS 8 prompts you to add a person’s information to your contacts. For example, if you don’t have a phone number that a friend lists in her signature, select Add to Contacts at the top of the message — or just tap Ignore if you don’t want to save that number.

Re/Code also gives a teaser in its description of Continuity features, most notably Handoff, which will be available with the Yosemite update.

Image courtesy Apple Inc.
Image courtesy Apple Inc.

Ars Technica Deep Dive

Ars Technica offers the most in-depth, comprehensive review of iOS 8, so while you wait for the update to finish, have a look. When Ars says its going to “give you a thorough rundown of iOS 8’s new features today,” it means THOROUGH. To help wade through it, they provide a Table of Content, starting with which devices are supported under iOS 8.

Ars runs through everything, from UI design changes to Extensions, iCloud to a grab bag of topics like privacy, Siri and Passbook, notes on battery life and usage, before finally coming to a conclusion that lists The Good, The Bad and the Ugly.

iOS 8 freshens up the underpinnings of the operating system, opening an unprecedented number of things up to third parties without sacrificing the things that define iOS. iOS 7 was transformative on an aesthetic level; iOS 8 is transformative on a functional level.

FYI for IT Departments

Computer World explains how IT should prep for iOS 8.

It outlines things to revisit for BYOD policies as iOS 8 puts more control into the hands of users. With HealthKit, for example, Computer World makes note that companies may be inclined to let employees use HealthKit as part of corporate wellness plans, and suggests

Policy updates should be coordinated with human resources and legal teams to ensure compliance with other employee policies as well as federal, state and local laws. 

HR needs to be closely involved if an organization has an employee wellness program that uses mobile apps and/or fitness tracking devices that integrate data with HealthKit or, perhaps more significantly, pull data from HealthKit. The goal is to ensure that policy and technical safeguards are in place and may involve discussions with benefit coordinators, insurers and outside companies. Since employee participation in these programs is now a bargaining chip when it comes to health insurance costs, a third-party company that collects or manages data for a wellness program should be involved.

It also provides a good overview of Enterprise Mobility Management, what has changed and what has improved. There is a section detailing changes to extensions and data sharing, potential uses of Touch ID in the enterprise as a replacement for passwords or login credentials and  S/MIME encryption for individual messages in Mail.

So, is your wait over? Good. Share your feedback on iOS 8 and the apps you use to run your law practice in the comments.

Featured image: Lester Balajadia /

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