Apple will release iOS 8 – the latest major version of its mobile operating system – today.
The downloadable update will come two days before the new iPhone 6 and 6 Plus handsets go on sale. In addition to the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus, iOS 8 will run on iPhone models dating back to the 4S, tablets as old as the iPad 2 and 5th generation and later iPod Touch gear.
Apple introduced iOS 8.0 earlier this month when it showcased the new iPhones and the Apple Watch wearable at a party serenaded by Irish rockers U2 – and then shoved the band's new album into everyone's iCloud libraries.
We're told iOS 8 can automatically filter, straighten and crop snaps, and it eases the process of sharing photos and others files with people – with your permission, we assume, as opposed to recent unintended sharing. It'll also record time-lapse videos, if you want. And the iOS Messages app will be updated to include location info, video and voice records, and self-deleting vids, apparently.
Hold the camera button in iOS 8 and you can send a video iMessage. Apple's trying to be the next Snapchat. pic.twitter.com/xeWbBRJbT7— Jonathan Zdziarski (@JZdziarski) September 16, 2014
Other features include supposedly better predictive typing for the on-screen keyboard, and Siri apparently works better with getting information from maps and news. Not all the features will be available in all countries, however. Siri's ability to reserve restaurant tables, for example, will only be offered to people in North America when the OS launches.
And, of course, the update will use the iPhone 6 smartphone and 6 Plus' NFC hardware as a cash substitute thanks to Apple Pay. That service is supported by many of the largest banks and credit card companies – although third-party app makers are frozen out of the party.
Apple's rivals have been quick to point out that many of the iPhone 6's selling-point features have been in Android devices for years. That message didn't carry much weight with Apple fans, who are once again expected to line up in record numbers to get their hands on the new shiny stuff from Cook and Co. ®