Welcome to our iOS 8 release date, rumours and leaked images article. Here, we'll bring you everything we know about iOS 8, Apple's next iOS operating system for iPad, iPhone and iPod touch. This includes speculation about the iOS 8 release date, rumours about the new features that may arrive with iOS 8, and leaked images and mockups of iOS 8 as we see them. We'll update this article frequently, so check back regularly for the latest iOS 8 rumours.
The release of iOS 7 caused a buzz among the Apple community in 2013, as it came with a radical redesign, bringing a new look and feel to the iPhone, iPad and iPod touch software. Now that the excitement has died down a little, users are looking to the future, imagining what could be in store for the next version of iOS, presumably called iOS 8 if Apple's naming convention continues.
We're certainly excited about 2014 as a whole for Apple, not least because CEO Tim Cook recently revealed that the company has "big plans" that it believes we are going to love.
When will iOS 8 be released?
Apple has traditionally used its Worldwide Developers Conference to unveil new versions of iOS, so we expect that tradition to continue this year. WWDC is usually held in June, but we'll update you as soon as we find out specific dates for the conference.
While we expect iOS 8 to be shown off for the first time in June, it's unlikely to be released to the public until the next generation iPhone comes out, probably in September. Between June and September, iOS 8 is likely to be in beta form for developers to test and begin working on their apps ahead of the public release.
iOS 8 rumours: New features
There are several new features that we'd like to see in iOS 8, and we've listed them (and the rumours surrounding them) in our iOS 8 wishlist below.
iOS 8 rumours: Notifications
One of the areas of iOS 7 that we expect to get addressed in iOS 8 is Notifications. We think that it feels a bit clumsy at the moment. For example, replying to an iMessage requires the launching of the app, rather than a simple dialog box as in OS X's Notification Centre.
We'd like to see a universal control to clear all of the past notifications at once. In iOS 7, the user has to manually delete each app's entries.
We love Sam Beckett's interactive Notifications concept, as shown below. It's a perfect example of what we'd like to see in iOS 8 when it comes to the Notification Centre.
We'd also like to be able to quickly unsubscribe from app Notifications that we've accidently signed up to within the Notification Centre.
Apple made an interesting acquisition in 2013, for a small software house called Cue. Cue specialises in smart assistant programming. With Google Now becoming an increasingly impressive service on Android, it's possible that Cue could be how Apple will catch up. It could help Apple add smarter push notifications, providing us with the information we need when we need it.
iOS 8 rumours: Siri
We're sure that Apple will bring some new features to Siri, the voice-activated virtual assistant, with iOS 8. More voices within Siri would be nice for UK users, who currently only have access to a male voice unlike US users, who have the option of male or female.
iOS 8 rumours: Control Centre
We loved the addition of Control Centre with iOS 7, and we think Apple could take it even further in iOS 8. Perhaps Apple will give users more control over the Control Centre, by letting them decide which apps they want easy access to.
iOS 8 rumours: Multiple accounts
A sought after iOS feature from Apple is the ability to add additional accounts to iPads and iPhones. For iPads that are shared among a family, this would allow each member to have their own private iOS account, particularly useful for parents with young children for better parental control.
iOS 8 rumours: Multitasking
Apple made some changes to Multitasking in iOS 7, but we'd like to see these changes go even further.
We particularly like Sam Beckett's Split Screen Multitasking concept. Split screen is something we'd love to see in iOS 8, as it would increase productivity significantly and is a feature we're constantly craving while using our iPad.
We'd also like to be able to close all of the open apps at once.
iOS 8 rumours: FaceTime
FaceTime hasn't seen much love from Apple in recent updates, apart from the addition of FaceTime Audio. We'd like to see Apple introduce the ability to call multiple people at once in FaceTime, for group calls. Skype already offers the ability to conduct group calls, so the addition of the feature for FaceTime would be a big plus for Apple users.
iOS 8 rumours: Default apps
We've been saying this for years, but we'd like to delete the annoying Apple default apps that we're not interested in or never use.
iOS 8 rumours: Subscription service
An interesting idea shared with us by a colleague is the introduction of an iOS iTunes Store and/or App Store subscription service. The service could allow users to pay a set fee per month to get access to unlimited films, TV, books, apps and more (think Netflix or LoveFilm). We think this would be a brilliant idea that we could imagine many Apple users signing up to if it's priced right. It would be a huge blow for competitors, though.
iOS 8 rumours: Default third-party browser
Many of our colleagues use Apple Macs, but almost none of them use Safari as their default web browser; most favour Chrome or Firefox instead. So why does Safari maintain such a stranglehold on iOS? Because you still can't make a third-party browser the default. We'd love to see Apple add the ability to change the default browser to a third-party one in iOS 8.
iOS 8 rumours: Customised autocorrect
Since before iOS 7, we've been asking for the ability to turn off autocorrect on an app-by-app basis, to prevent those embarrassing errors that we so often see.
iOS 8 rumours: Battery life
Battery life issues plague iOS users. We asked our readers what they'd like to see in iOS 8, expecting whizzy features to be the most common answers, but it was battery life that took the top spot.
One of the ways Apple could help preserve battery life is to add a battery emergency feature to devices. How about a set of customisable actions set to kick in when your iOS device reaches 20 per cent power? Instead of just popping up with the warning, the device could be programmed to automatically lower the brightness, switch off 3G, Bluetooth and location services, and generally do everything in its power to stay alive.
iOS 8 rumours: iTunes Radio in the UK?
Since its release back in September 2013, UK Apple users have been waiting for iTunes Radio, a new service from Apple that allows you to stream any song available on iTunes. It's possible that we'll see iTunes Radio launch in the UK before iOS 8, though, with some rumours pointing to an early 2014 launch.
Find out more in our When will iTunes Radio come out in the UK article.
iOS 8 leaked images
There are no leaked images of iOS 8 yet, but as soon as we see them, we'll share them with you here. We'll also be keeping an eye out for convincing mockups that spark the imagination, such as the two concept videos shown earlier in this article.