Apple called iOS 8 one of the biggest updates for the mobile platform to date. In fact, they believe it’s the biggest update since the launch of the App Store, which was obviously not just a big moment for Apple, but for the entire mobile industry as a whole. So, with that in mind, iOS 8 has to be pretty big by itself, and indeed, it is. There are a lot of changes under the hood, and plenty of new features to show off to friends.
Probably the only thing *not* going for iOS 8 is the fact that all those fancy new features didn’t come with a major UI overhaul, like iOS was introduced to in iOS 7. To be fair to Apple, though, with yearly refreshes already on the table and expected by the populace, shoving a bunch of stuff into one update, and not spacing it out, probably isn’t a good idea in the long run.
So iOS 8 is all about the features, and there is plenty to like. New third-party keyboard support, for example, just in case you really don’t like the stock ‘board for whatever reason. Interactive notifications are pretty great, too, making it easier to do things without having to launch an app to get it done. Changes to make the aforementioned stock keyboard smarter are pretty nice, too.
That’s barely even the tip of the iceberg. There’s a lot to see and do in iOS 8, but it’s one of the changes within Notification Center that has really caught on with me. And it kind of came out of nowhere, because I didn’t think I’d care much about it at all.
For a very long time, I was in love with widgets on Android. I used them all the time, and I loved how different they were to anything else out there. Easily accessible information, right there on the Home screen. And when scrollable widgets really took off, it only got better from there. Of course, widgets these days are vastly more impressive than they used to be, but I guess I sort of fell out of love with them. On my Android devices, I rarely set them up, and simply dig into apps to get the information I want.
I think this is because I like to keep my Home screens widget-free, save for, maybe, a widget for the weather.
I thought I just didn’t like widgets in general anymore, but that’s not the case. The way that Apple has implemented them into the Notification Center, and therefore out of the way yet accessible when I want them, has made me actually like them again. Sliding down the Notification Center to check out the weather, see what’s on my calendar, or even what’s in my reading list is pretty great. And it keeps my Home screen the way I want it.
But, there’s still some work to be done.
Don’t get me wrong, the majority of the widgets that I’m using right now work just fine. They update when they need to, so that when I access them there’s new (and correct) information being presented to me. However, I’ve noticed a few apps focused on news, the apps you’d probably want updated in a timely fashion, just don’t update until you’ve accessed the app directly. So, a widget will show me the same news for a couple of days, until I access the app, which updates (even though background updates are activated), and then the widget will update as well. Basically, this kind of defeats the purpose.
The widget should be updated first, and then I can click into a specific story that I want to read. Having to go into the app, read the stories, then see the same stories in the widget only because I updated the app directly doesn’t make any sense. That’s doing it backwards.
There could be plenty of reasons for this, I’m sure, but the result for someone who is actually trying to use it, well, it’s a bit unfortunate. However, considering how good the rest of the experience is, I’m just going to assume that, some day, it’ll work across the board. It’s a good start! That has to count for something, right?