updated 11:24 am EDT, Fri March 14, 2014
Many changes still up in the air, sources say
On top of new apps, Apple is also considering a number of improvements to existing apps and under-the-hood technologies, sources claim. An example of the latter is Notification Center, where Apple is allegedly interested in simplifying panels from "Today," "All," and "Missed" to just "Today" and "Notifications."
Apple is also said to be testing a better inter-app communication framework, including an API that would allow apps to more readily share data; a given example is a photo editing app pushing finished files to the Facebook or Instagram apps for upload, instead of incorporating its own Facebook/Instagram hooks. The API has reportedly been in development for the past two years, and might have been included with iOS 7 but was pulled from the final code.
For CarPlay, which was only just introduced with iOS 7.1, Apple is testing connecting devices via Wi-Fi, instead of via a Lightning cable as is currently required. This change may be highly likely, since Volvo has promised that its own CarPlay implementation will eventually be wireless. A more radical difference in iOS 8 could be the removal of Game Center as a dedicated app. The platform would remain in supporting games, but otherwise invisible. The app is largely ignored by gamers since it merely functions as a nexus for things like achievements.
The iOS 8 development team is also said to be working on speeding up iOS 8. Already the OS is said to launch and close apps more quickly, and offer smoother and more stable system navigation.
In terms of app upgrades, Voice Memos may rearrange controls, particularly to make it more obvious which buttons play recordings. Messages could gain an option to automatically delete threads after a month or a year. This would prevent iOS storage from being clogged up by unwanted backups, though messages would still be saved permanently by default.