iOS 8 Design Details
iOS 8 was released this week. As Ted Landau tweeted yesterday, “iOS 8 may not look different from iOS 7 at first. But…good grief…the more you explore, the more you see change is gargantuan…in a good way.“

Two new features are already improving my productivity:

  1. Today widgets in Notification Center
  2. Continuity for phone calls

Today Widgets

As the App Store continues to flow with app updates, many developers are delivering widgets for Notification Center. Remember our discussion about Dashboard two weeks ago? These new widgets offer similar functionality, such as access to information in an app or on the Internet.

Widgets appear in the Today section of Notification Center. Today is now one of only two categories when you swipe down from the top of your iPhone screen. At the bottom of Today, tap Edit to reveal apps that have widgets you can add or remove.

My favorites so far:

  • Asana’s widget shows me the tasks I have due today and offers to link me to the app to find the rest of my tasks.
  • Hours, which I reviewed last month, offers an interactive widget that shows the five most recently used timers in the Hours app. I can start and stop these timers without ever opening the app.

I’m hoping for a widget for Fantastical or 2Do that offers a simpler and more consolidated view of upcoming events and reminders.

iOS 8 Hours Today Widget


iOS 8 and the upcoming OS X Yosemite (OS X 10.10, expected late October) offer deeper integration among Apple devices. One of their new standout features is Continuity.

As iPads go, Apple says Continuity only supports 4th generation models or newer. However, I have already observed my 3rd generation iPad working with some Continuity abilities.

When my iPad and iPhone are on the same wireless network, iOS 8 enables iPad to notify me of an incoming or missed call on iPhone. For either, I can accept or return the call and even carry on the conversation on iPad while the call is routed through iPhone.

I can also initiate a call on iPad by tapping a phone number in Contacts, Calendar, or Safari. In any other app that interprets phone numbers, touching the number reveals “Call with iPhone” as the first choice.

iOS 8 Continuity Calls

The only aspect that does not appear to work is recent contacts. While they are synced between iPhone and iPad and appear in the app switcher on both, only on iPhone can I initiate a phone call. iPad only supports messages and FaceTime.

This may be a bug to be resolved in a future update, as I have also noticed that iPhone shows Favorites to the left of Recents while iPad does not.

This Continuity feature could be a boon for people who are concerned about cellphone radiation exposure. Holding or being next to one’s phone is no longer required.

Continuity will also work with Macs running Yosemite. It may be limited to models from the last few years or perhaps more.

More Productive in iOS 8

As with any major OS upgrade, this one has a great number of new features. All are designed with a lot of thought about users’ needs and many can help you become more productive.

I am excited to continue exploring iOS 8 and see how developers make creative use of its improvements. If you have a device that supports iOS 8, I encourage you to install it and share your experiences.

Macworld has a good guide to upgrading. Let me know if you want help with this process or have questions.