Apple has announced iOS 8 at WWDC, confirming a number of rumoured features and adding a whole lot more.

Apple confirmed that iOS 8 will launch this fall/Autumn as a free upgrade for iPhone 4s, iPhone 5, iPhone 5c, iPhone 5s, iPod touch 5th generation, iPad 2, iPad with Retina display, iPad Air, iPad mini and iPad mini with Retina display.

The company was rumoured to be working on an app called Healthbook, but instead revealed Health and Health Kit, new apps and systems to share health and fitness data. Apple is working with Nike and major US healthcare companies to link together the data in numerous apps and services.

iOS 8 Healthkit

Notification Centre now has interactive notifications for messages, calendar appointments and other apps such as Facebook. Users can reply to messages and appointments and interact with apps without having to open them.

One of the biggest new features in iOS 8 is Continuity, which brings OSX and iOS closer than ever before. Features include being able to answer calls on a Macbook or iMac and instantly transfer work from one Apple device to another. Click here for details of Continuity on OSX and iOS 8.

Apples OS X Yosemite

Double-tapping the home button will now also open oft-used contacts as well as open apps. Tapping a contact reveals options to call, message or FaceTime that person.

Major cosmetic and feature upgrades have also been announced for Safari and Mail on both iPhone and iPad. Appointments and reservations in Mail can now be quickly added to the calendar, while it is also easier to mark messages as unread, flagged or delete them.

Messages being composed can also be quickly minimised, making it easier to copy in new content.

Spotlight in iOS 8 has also been revamped, allowing people to search for places, movie listings, content, web results and more besides. Searching in Safari also shows Spotlight suggestions.

The iMessage app now supports group messages, names threads, message blocking and locations sharing.

iOS 8 share locationApple also announced QuickType, a new keyboard for iOS. The new keyboard will change how it behaves depending on who you are talking to.

Apple gave the example of formal and informal styles, with the keyboard suggestions changing accordingly. Support for third-party keyboards was also announced.

Photos can also be searched by location, current location, time and albums setup on the phone. New editing controls can adjust light, colour, auto-straightening and cropping.

Older updates and rumours about iOS 8 appear below.

iOS 8 release date

WWDC kicks off later today and it is widely expected that Apple will announce iOS 8. You can watch the keynote address from WWDC by clicking here. The conference kicks off at 10am PDT (6PM BST).

Apple itself appeared to confirm that iOS 8 would be shown at WWDC. Banners being hung at the Moscone Centre show a large ‘8’ floating underwater.

ios 8 banner

This could suggest a ‘deep dive’ on iOS 8, with Apple going in-depth with developers about features in its new operating system. Another banner has also been hung with a giant X on it, with Apple expected to announce a new version of its desktop operating system OSX.

The exact release date of iOS 8 is still unknown. Hopefully Apple will clear things up later today. Apple could wait until September to launch iOS 8, even after giving us a sneak peak at WWDC.

A September release would also mean that iOS 8 will launch at the same time as the iPhone 6. This would certainly follow the trend of Apple’s past iOS launches.

In early May it was reported that Apple may delay major new features in iOS 8 as it rushes to get the latest version of OS X ready.

It had been suggested that Apple may show off iOS 8 at WWDC in early June, but if it does many of the more anticipated features may be delayed. The new Healthbook app and iOS versions of TextEdit and Preview are all expected for iOS 8.

Many of these features may now have been bumped to iOS 8.1 as Apple has started transferring iOS team members to the OS X division in order to finish up the latest version in time for WWDC.

According to 9to5Mac, OS X 10.10 is codenamed “Syrah” internally at Apple and could arrive as 10.10 Yosemite to the public.

iOS 8 on the iPad – split-screen multitasking

You could soon be running two apps side-by-side on your iPad, if a rumoured iOS 8 update is to be believed.

People familiar with the development of iOS 8 said that the feature will allow two apps to run side-by-side at the same time.

According to 9to5Mac apps will be able to interact with one another, allowing users to drag and drop text, video and images between compatible apps.

Split-screen multitasking has been a hotly demanded feature for iPad users but it is yet to make an appearance. The latest iOS 8 rumours suggest the new multitasking feature will only support the full-size 9.7in iPad, with support for iPad mini unlikely. Split-screen multitasking will also only work in landscape mode.

A concept video posted on YouTube in December 2013 showed a mock-up of how split-screen multitasking could work in iOS 8.

iOS 8 features – what will iOS 8 look like?

A lot like iOS 7. Apple won’t want to rock the boat too much after it made wholesale changes last time out. Expect the same icons, the same layout with most the changes being made behind the scenes or on features like Siri. Also expect some new apps from Apple – more on that later.

The most credible iOS 8 leaked image to date (not that there’s much competition) is this one nabbed from Chinese social network Weibo.

iOS 8

It looks an awful lot like iOS7, with the same layout and the same apps and icons. Three new apps caught our attention: Healthbook, Preview, TextEdit and Tips. While we’re dubious about the authenticity of this leaked image, one new feature that seems certain for iOS 8 is a big tie-in with fitness.

A mocked-up video on YouTube suggests that Apple should make notifications more interactive in iOS 8. The video shows someone receiving a text message, tapping Reply and composing a message before the notification zooms off the screen. This would certainly be an improvement on the current, somewhat clunky implementation of notifications in iOS 7.

iOS 8 interactive notification

In April leaked images claimed to show iOS 8 running on an iPhone 5s, suggesting Apple’s latest mobile operating system will be available for existing devices.

The biggest surprise of the new leaked images is Watch Utility. While there are no details of what the app might do, it seems safe to suggest that it has something to do with the much-rumoured iWatch. Healthbook also makes an appearance.

Preview and TextEdit, long present on OSX, will also make the move to iPhone and iPad in iOS 8. The new apps will be integrated into the sharing feature in iOS 8, allowing people to preview and edit compatible files and web pages.

As well as showing iOS 8 running on an iPhone 5S the new screens also reveal new icons for both Preview and TextEdit. The previous icons looked obviously fake, but these latest leaked images have a more credible design.

Siri on iOS 8

Siri could see more changes than any other aspect of iOS 8. Apple has been busy acquiring speech recognition firm Novauris and it is very likely that Siri will get a major update. Novauris might not be a recognisable name, but the company was formed out of Dragon Systems and has a long history in dictation and speech recognition.

The company claims its technology “identifies complete phrases from start to finish” rather than recognising words in sequence. This reportedly makes the technology more accurate.

One of Siri’s biggest failings is its lack of support for third-party apps. While it is well integrated into iOS 7 and select apps such as Facebook and Twitter, it can only work with other apps if Apple does some legwork to add support. That’s a major stumbling block and something that will hopefully be fixed in iOS 8. Expect the updated version of Siri to be smarter, quicker and be able to understand a huge range of commands for just about any apps on iOS 8.

Bloomberg reports that Apple is planning to add a track ID feature to iOS 8. It will work with Siri to identify any piece of music, with Apple partnering with Shazam to make it happen.

Two people “with knowledge of the product” confirmed the plans but didn’t give exact details of how the new feature would work. It also isn’t clear what Siri voice command will trigger a search for a song, or if a voice command will be used at all. Song identification would be built into iOS 8 in the same way that Twitter are in iOS 7, meaning smartphone and tablet owners won’t have to manually download the app first in order to start looking up songs.

Shazam integration for Siri in iOS 8 would give Apple an edge over streaming music competitors like spottily, just in time for a UK launch of iTunes Radio.

iOS 8 Siri

Will iOS 8 be available for the iPhone 5?

Yes, almost certainly. But you might not get iOS 8 if you have an iPhone 4 or 4S, or an older iPad.

When iOS 7 was released it supported the iPhone 4, iPhone 4s, iPhone 5, iPhone 5c and iPhone 5s. It also supported the 5th generation iPod Touch and the iPad 2, 3rd generation iPad, 4th generation iPad, iPad Mini, iPad Air and iPad Mini 2. It might be the case that Apple will not release an iOS 8 update for the iPhone 4 and iPad 2 as both devices are now old and slow compared to more recently released Apple devices.

iOS 8 health and fitness apps

With the much-rumoured iWatch in the works, it is expected that iOS 8 will also have lots of health and fitness features. Samsung has already stolen a march on with the Gear 2 and Apple will be keen to catch up. Apple is reportedly working on an app called Healthbook, which will have a similar interface to its Passbook app. Healthbook will work in a similar way to a lot of other health and fitness trackers and measure steps taken, calories burned, distance travelled and weight loss.

iOS 8 healthbook

Speculation has also suggested that the new Healthbook app will be able to track blood pressure, blood sugar, heart rate, hydration and respiratory rate. The iPhone doesn’t currently have sensors that can detect this sort of information and it seems unlikely that the iPhone 6 will be able to do the job. That makes it even more likely that the iWatch will be packed with tech to track and monitor your body.

Mobile payments on iPhone 6 and iOS 8

With TouchID and Passbook already available, Apple is reportedly working hard to replace your wallet with your iPhone. Apple has reportedly met with key industry executives to discuss paying for physical goods and services using iPhones and iPads, while long-time Apple exec Jennifer Bailey has moved into a new role to build a payment system for iOS.

The Wall Street Journal reports that Apple has already developed and then dumped a wallet app over concerns of implementing it with retailers. Speculation is now mounting that Apple will launch such an app for iOS8 and couple it with TouchID and other authentication technology and sensors to make mobile payments for physical products more secure and widely used.

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