Apple announced iOS 8 today at WWDC 2014, but as we expected, no real hints about the iPhone 6. With better notification handling, widgets in the notification center, enhanced photo editing, third-party keyboards and more, was there anything about iOS 8 that hints at what the iPhone 6 might look or feel like?
We were hoping that something about iOS 8 would give us clues about the iPhone 6 - maybe something that hints at a better camera or bigger display. Anything to satiate our curiosity and borderline unhealthy obsession with iPhone 6 rumors.
Unfortunately, we have nothing except all the cool features iOS 8 will have. Maybe we're not so unfortunate after all.
If we were to take a step into fantasy land, which is what we always do when we entertain rumors, we can probably anticipate an improved camera in the iPhone 6. Perhaps somewhere in the neighborhood of 8-10 megapixels for more detailed photos. A better imaging sensor and optics would help tremendously, and would go hand-in-hand nicely with Apple's big leap forward with its Photos app.
After all, image editing in Photos has been drastically improved, and more photos are accessible through the cloud now than before - all with your iPhone or iPad.
Another feature on iOS 8 that we know we'll love is the option to install third-party keyboard. Swype is my favorite keyboard on Android, and I have been dying to have it ported over to iOS. This is great. This might also mean that the iPhone 6 could have a bigger display. After all, more keyboard options, especially ones like Swype or Swiftkey, help a lot when your phone's display is bigger.
For entertainment's sake, we can also say that the display will get larger and retain very high resolution thanks to the upgrade in speed and graphical power. Otherwise, these upgrades would've made little sense for the current displays.
Lastly, as apps get bigger and we take more photos and videos than ever, we could see a larger-capacity iPhone. Perhaps it's not hard to imagine a 128GB iPhone, and I know many of us would love that. After all, the cost of memory gets cheaper every year, and if the iPad can have it, why not the iPhone?
Otherwise, everything iOS 8 offers is going to work well with iPad models and the iPhone. For that reason, it's hard to pinpoint anything that could lead to obvious features on the iPhone 6. Besides, Apple is smarter than that, and it's not going to give anything away.
But as leaks have gotten better over time, the iPhone 6 might look like the leaked photos we've already seen. The iPhone 5, for example, was hardly a surprised when it was announced. It's a little bigger, it looks like it might be slimmer, and the edges have gotten their curves back.
What's more important than anticipating what the iPhone 6 will look like is what I jokingly called the "Androidification of the iPhone." I never thought I'd see widgets on iOS, and now here they are right in the notification center. The news of third-party keyboards was a pleasant surprise, too. Additionally, Siri will behave a little like Google Now, and that's a good thing.
Moreover, interactive notifications make handling things like text message more like what other manufacturers are doing on Android. The ability to interact and respond to notifications immediately is great because you don't have to leave an app to handle them.
What's more important is the trend and direction of smartphone OSes. Windows Phone 8.1 took on a pull-down notification system like Android and iOS, and iOS is now taking some cues from Android, too. Eventually, there will be fewer big distinctions from OS to OS. They'll still look different, and behave a little differently, but the experience between them all will share big similarities.
Perhaps that's good news since it means the overall user experience will only get better. I think that's more important than wondering what shape the iPhone 6 will take and whether it will look prettier than the last version. Allow me to spoil that for you: it probably will, and it'll be marginally better than the iPhone 5S in most ways. There.