The Busy Man’s Guide to the Upcoming iOS 8 Release

The upcoming OS from Apple is already available in Beta version and with the official release coming in early- to mid-September, by all accounts, we thought it was time to give you a brief rundown of the expected iOS 8 release. For the time being, only registered Apple developers have access to iOS 8, but they have been able to glean some important upgrades already. Here are the biggest features and updates you can expect from the new Apple signature OS; don’t hesitate to let us know in the comments section if there’s any particular one you’re excited about or looking forward to.

·        The iOS 8 release will come with a health app

Apple is massively taking on a health-focused approach, as the release of their coming iWatch is nearing. Since an adapted version of the iOS 8 will also likely be used by the iWatch, it only makes sense that the iOS 8 will feature a ‘Health’ app. This is actually a dashboard of sorts, where users will be able to access all the data collected by health and fitness apps at a glance. There will be several sections like Lab Results, Nutrition, Sleep, Vital Signs, Diagnostics, and so on. In the latest beta version available to registered Apple developers (iOS 8 beta 3), Health was able to natively display the number of steps taken, as the M7 coprocessor of the iPhone 5S was integrated into it.

·        In terms of design, it will look much like iOS 7

The iOS 8 will look quite a lot like its predecessor, but there are several function and form updatesto the new version that add up to subtle differences. For instance, the app switcher interface will feature a whole-new section on top of the open apps, which will allow you to access recent and favorite contacts, making it easier for users to initiate a voice call or a FaceTime call.

·        Notifications get interactive


The new notification center of the iOS 8 release will be interactive. In concrete terms, this means users will be able to do a lot of things, simply by clicking the notification banners that pop up on their devices. In other words, you will no longer have to leave an app you were using, in order to text, write an email, send out an invitation via the calendar, or set a reminder. Some third-party apps, such as Facebook, are also supported for this new feature.

·        Siri and Shazam will be integrated

Ever dreamt about firing up Siri with the casual command “Hey, Siri”? Well, the new iOS 8 release will allow you to do just that. What’s more, a voice command request to Siri, for the iPhone to identify a song, will open Shazam and deliver. Siri will also support streaming voice recognition, iTunes content purchases, and 22 new languages for its dictation feature.

·        (Over)share with your family

In the new iOS 8 release, you’ll be able to create a family group of up to 6 people – if they all have iTunes accounts, they’ll have access to the all-new ‘Family Sharing’ feature. This feature lets up to 6 family members access purchases made with the same credit card, such as apps, iBooks, movies, and music. Even more interestingly, children will be able to initiate purchases off their own devices, which will then need to be confirmed by a parental device. And, of course, the members of a family group will be able to stay connected through sharing photos, videos, calendar reminders, and more. Location sharing will enable parents to track their children’s whereabouts and also locate lost iPhones and iPads.

Has the Chinese Government Banned Apple Products?

A recent report, which came in from Bloomberg in early August, speaks of how the Chinese government banned Apple products for government use. In official terms, the Chinese Commission for National Development and Reform allegedly told the international press that Apple hardware was off-limits for the country’s government institutions. Now, the report itself caused massive controversy, both in terms of responses from the parties involved, as well as from the media. Check out the way the story unfolded, from the report itself to the reactions issued by Apple and the Chinese government.

The truth about Chinese government banned Apple products


Apple has made official statements to explain that it never did intend to make the procurement lists drawn up by the Chinese government, in press releases to Reuters. China drew up several procurement lists for various types of electronics and hardware, among which stands a procurement list for products especially designed to save energy. The representatives of the Chinese government said that Apple never did submit the documentation required by official standards, in order to make the list. However, in response, Apple stated in never planned on making the list anyway. The comment from the company was sent out to the media in an email, which reads as follows:

“Even though Apple has the certification for energy-saving products… it has never provided the necessary verification material and agreements according to the regulations,” said a Finance Ministry fax sent to Reuters on Thursday evening, a statement closely mirrored by the Central Government Procurement Centre in their own announcement on Friday.”

Bloomberg criticized for misinformed report

According to subsequent reports, the news that Chinese government banned Apple products is completely unfounded. In fact, many rushed to criticize Bloomberg for putting out material that was solely designed as click baiting. Government institutions in China are still free to buy Apple products for official use, even if they’re not featured on that list of products that save energy. The official list of approved products can be found on the site of the Central Government Procurement Center; of course, the scandal was not helped by the fact that this website experienced some temporary downtime last week, right around the time of the ban reports. It was later revealed that the site had gone offline simply for some routine adjustments in price.

As many tech and IT commenters rushed to note, Apple cannot afford losing out on a market as large and fruitful as China. Despite a noticeable slowdown in economic increase, China is still a market where Apple has ample room to expand – and, by all counts, it seems to be doing just this. At the moment, Apple has eleven retail location in China, as well as three agreements for partnership with the country’s biggest carriers for wireless. Among them stands China Mobile, a massive network and the country’s biggest, by number of subscribers.

The original report, published by Bloomberg, claimed that ten popular Apple products, among which MacBooks and iPads had been taken off the list of approved products by the Chinese government. Apple has declined to issue any further comments on the report, but did mention that their products were never included on the list. Several suppliers of parts, which refused to disclose their names for fear of losing out on lucrative deals with the Chinese government, explained that the downtime of the Central Procurement Center site was absolutely normal. The same supplier representatives also explained that they didn’t believe the downtime could be chalked up to concerns regarding national security. As of the writing of this article, the most popular Apple product for sale on the government website was a particular laptop model, which had been bought 23 times over the course of 24 hours.

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