Apple Just Gave iOS 8 a Few New Tricks

By Adam Clark Estes on at

We've long known that iOS 8 was a powerful (mostly under-the-hood) upgrade. But on its official launch day, Apple announced a few new features that really take the operating system to the next level. And you won't even have to hunt very hard to find them.

Apple Pay

The most significant new thing coming to iOS 8 is a mobile payments system called Apple Pay. For iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus users, Apple Pay will let you place your phone near a beacon and confirm your identity with Touch ID in order to make a purchase. The system stores all of your payment information in Passbook, but it does not store your credit card numbers. Instead, it creates unique device IDs for each card, including the cards you already have on file with the iTunes Store.

Apple Just Gave iOS 8 a Few New Tricks

For other iPhone users, Apple Pay's functionality will be more limited. While the device hardware won't allow for NFC-powered payments, you can use the Apple Pay system to make one touch payments in a whole host of apps and locations, from Disney to Whole Foods to the Apple Store itself. If you lose your phone, you can also disable Apple Pay with Find My iPhone.

New Navigation Features

With the larger screen sizes of the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus, Apple is introducing a number of new features that make it easier to find your way around iOS 8. The most noticeable will surely be the horizontal mode which allows you to navigate the device more seamlessly. The iPhone Plus will also allow for two-pane navigation, and it will get some tiny design tweaks, like showing avatars next to texts in the Messages app.

Apple Just Gave iOS 8 a Few New Tricks

Apple is also introducing a new gesture called Reachability. It's dead simple. If you just double tap the Home button, the whole screen slides down so that you can reach the content on the top of the screen without using two hands.

Health

The new M8 motion co-processor and barometer mean that the iPhone 6 can collect more data about your movements, namely distance. That means that the iPhone 6 will know how far you've walked as well as how much elevation you've cleared. The technology also knows if you're running or cycling or climbing stairs or whatever. More data!

Apple Just Gave iOS 8 a Few New Tricks

Of course, since the new hardware is specific to the iPhone 6, users with older iPhones won't get to enjoy it.


Read all Apple announced at the iPhone and Watch event, plus Giz readers' reactions


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