iOS 8: Here's all the good stuff

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While it isn't the same overhaul that we saw with iOS 7, iOS 8 promises some great new features.

For years iPhone users have been pleading for interactive notifications and quicker iMessage replies, finally Apple has answered those cries by introducing both features in iOS 8.

Whenever an iMessage pops up in iOS 8 you will be able to down on it, which will then open an option to quickly type a response rather than having to switch over to the messages app. This works with apps like Calendar as well as Facebook.

Apple's senior vice president of software engineering Craig Federighi quickly replied to an iMessage and liked a Facebook notification during Apple's keynote demo.

Users of iOS 8 can also record audio and video messages straight from the Messages app to send to their friends or family. Holding the new speaker icon above the keyboard will record whatever they want to send and then swiping up will automatically send the voice or audio message to the recipient.

Predictive texting has also been enhanced with the new QuickType feature, which will predict words that you might want to input into a message based on what you have already typed. The new feature will also learn the language and typing habits of the user to make predictions quicker and easier. Apple has also for the first time allowed third party keyboards to be installed on the iPhone.

Also the health feature that has been rumoured over the past few weeks has been unveiled under the name 'HealthKit'. HealthKit is going to a be a developer application programming interface (API) that will gather information from other health tracking apps, such as Nike's app, to track everything from your blood pressure to your respiratory rate.

The Mail app has received some improvements too. Composing email is easier than ever - swiping down minimises the composing window so you can look at the rest of your inbox. Events can be added to the calendar direct from Mail and emails can be marked as read just by swiping across them.

Another new feature of iOS 8 that has been requested by iDevice users for many years is 'Family Sharing'. This feature will allow up to six members of the same family to have their own account on an iDevice provided they are using the same credit/debit card.

Families will be able to share photos, calendars, reminders, as well as applications and books. Also in light of a fair few lawsuits being brought against Apple after children have unknowingly spent hundreds if not thousands of pounds on in-app purchases, Apple has introduced a feature that means parents will get asked to approve any app or in-app purchases from their children.

Third Party app developers will also finally be able to take advantage of the security of Touch ID; this could open up the possibility of logging into Facebook or even your bank account simply by scanning your fingerprint.

iOS 8 will support the iPhone 4S and above which excludes the iPhone 4 and any devices older than that. It is available to download for developer only from today, and will be released after beta testing to the public later year probably to coincide with the release of the iPhone 6.