Here’s Everything New About The iPhone 8, Your New Virtual Assistant
The latest iPhone fulfills its promise of features and fun, and a few extras for safety, too.
When the first iPhone launched in 2007, were you one of the consumers waiting in line to get your hands on the latest technological innovation? With its user interface incorporating a multi-touch screen and virtual keyboard, the iPhone combined the best of an iPod, a desktop computer, and a basic mobile phone – it started a revolution.
The powerful trio in your pocket allowed users to “cut the cord” in so many ways – we were now instantly connected to everyone, and everything, we needed to be and at any time. This has become both a blessing and a curse, as business operations can be conducted any hour of the day we deem necessary, but boundaries tend to blur. Busy professionals see the upside: endless productivity.
Every time an upcoming keynote is announced, we hear rumors and hints of what features might be included in the next update. Each iPhone iteration has come with a variety of improvements, and Apple keeps the focus on what your iPhone can do for you, adding fantastic features and high-tech hardware to the line-up with each release. The latest – iPhone 8 and iPhone 8 Plus – are no different, with a loaded list of camera feature upgrades, and a new iOS packed with ways to help you make the most of your time and maintain efficiency – after you master the changes, of course!
Make the most of your iPhone 8 features
This latest round of updates can best be classified into three distinct areas: setting refinements, safety improvements, and camera upgrades – topped off with a sprinkling of extras.
Note that Apple has made it extremely easy for iPhone users to upgrade from one version to another – even easier than a sync using iTunes! The new Quick Set-up feature allows you to point your old iPhone’s camera at your new model, and the two iPhones will recognize each other and connect. After a few quick taps to enter the passcode that you used on your former iPhone into your new iPhone, and the data transfer is complete.
Once you’ve finished the Quick Set-up process, take some time to get to know your new phone. In iOS 11, iPhone users may have to hunt for settings whose locations have shifted in this update. Personal information, and settings for iCloud, iTunes, and the App Store have been centralized within Settings.
What iPhone 8 users need to know:
- One-fingered typists need no longer struggle with the standard built-in keyboard; a tap-and-hold on the emoji icon opens options for one-handed typing modes, for both right-handed and left-handed users.
- A customizable Control Center puts you in control of your new iPhone. Try 3D Touch on each item, and see even more settings: shortcuts for features you use and delete those you don’t.
- You can adjust your True Tone display. This uses a light sensor to match the lighting of your surroundings and dynamically adapt the color of your screen. If you find that this feature ends up being more of a hassle than help, it can be turned off.
For years, auto manufacturers have been employing extreme measures to enhance the safety of drivers and passengers alike. Airbags, rearview cameras, built-in navigation systems, and a myriad of other high-tech safety assistance features have all been added, and more passenger vehicles are coming with options like Bluetooth connectivity for hands-free communication to minimize distraction.
Unfortunately, fancier mobile devices have the opposite effect on drivers. Earlier, we mentioned that the ability to stay in touch and the resulting perpetual productivity that smartphones enable. The temptation of a quick text message (reading or replying!) at a stoplight, or the allure of checking your email while in bumper-to-bumper traffic doesn’t seem like a life-or-death situation at the time.
- Did you know that the leading manufacturers of residential smoke detector units have changed the standardized notification method for unit alerts? Instead of the old-fashioned high-pitched “beep beep beep” we’re used to hearing, newer models of smoke detectors now also shout “Fire”! This is partly because young children have adapted to hearing assorted “beeps” from video games and smartphone alerts, but have been found more likely to respond appropriately alarmed to a stranger’s voice.
The ways in which we’ve incorporated technology into our lives have necessitated adaptation of safety features. A quick review of key safety features on your new phone:
- We strongly encourage you to enable a new feature – Do Not Disturb While Driving. This detects when you’re attached to in-vehicle Bluetooth (or detects movements with sensors) and silences notifications until you reach your destination. People in your Favorites list can override this feature for texting you in case of emergencies, and hands-free calls can still reach the user.
- The great thing about any smartphone is that the user typically carries theirs in a pocket or somewhere very near them, which is why we love the new Emergency SOS feature called “Auto Call”. Pressing the power button rapidly five times will call emergency services. Just in case this was accidental, your iPhone won’t start dialing right away, but the option to call will appear. Touch ID will also be disabled temporarily until you enter your passcode.
- To enable, go to Settings > Emergency SOS and toggle Auto Call to “on”.
- Another great emergency safety feature is the Countdown Sound, which plays a warning sound while the setting is counting down to call emergency services.
- Maps now incorporate a popular feature that Google Maps has long included: lane navigation, reducing the chance you’ll need to cut over at the last minute and risk your safety and that of those around you. As an extra for those of you who still enter brick-and-mortar shopping centers, this latest update also helps you avoid hunting for a store directory with a built-in map features for shopping malls and airports.
We finally come to the fun part of the update! iPhone users love their cameras. Whether you’re sharing a picture of your food on social media, snapping a selfie, or FaceTime-ing with family while on a business trip, your iPhone and your camera have become critical to maintaining connections.
What exciting upgrades await you?
- Filters! Instagram lovers, rejoice! Filters are fun and can add more pizzazz to photos. Gone are the days of taking a roll of film to the local drugstore for development and waiting about a week to see the shots – hope you didn’t accidentally cover the lens with your thumb. Today, seeing the images right away isn’t enough – we want to spice up our shots, and iOS 11 now allows photos to be treated with vivid, dramatic, or even black-and-white filters to make those photos pop.
- Screen recordings! Screenshots are so last year. A favorite of techies and app testers is Screencast, helping mobile users record video of screen activity without the use of another smartphone’s video camera to record you using your own phone.
- You can now also save an animated GIF without taking a video on a separate device!
- Virtual reality and augmented reality are hot new trends, and apps are allowing import of your videos into a software overlay to give the user a catered and customized experience. The iPhone 8 has a higher level of precision for optimizing the use of these apps.
- Amateur and professional photographers alike will love new features and effects, including lighting and spotlight for dramatic focus, controlling the resolution at which you can take video, slow sync leaving shutters open for longer to light up foregrounds in dim shots, being able to edit lighting even after the shot is taken, and so much more!
There are tons of additional features, too:
- You can now send money to a friend using Apple Pay Cash by linking a debit card to your Apple Pay account to avoid fees and send money through Messages.
- Apple is working hard to make Siri your new best friend, if not, at the very least, your unpaid virtual assistant. Ongoing efforts to make Siri your helpful sidekick include upgraded capabilities, like searching the Apple podcast directory for playback or playing music from Apple’s Music Service with biographical details on music.
- “Qi-pad” charging: The iPhone 8 no longer needs a lightning cable to charge its battery. Batteries don’t recharge quite as fast as they would with a lightning cable, and Apple is working on its own product – another update for which we will eagerly wait!
- Gone are the days where you are limited to copying text from an email and pasting it into a Note. Now you can use drag-and-drop method across multiple apps, like in Messaging or for email attachments.
One more thing: iCloud backup and storage space can now be shared with family members. Files remain private – only space is shared. No more “storage full” messages! This is another setting that must be turned on by the user, but it’s a welcome feature.
We’ve come a very long way since the features included with the first iPhone. This list doesn’t cover every single announcement from the latest Apple release, but these are the elements we’ve been the most excited to see become a reality.
What do you want to see in Apple’s next major announcement?