Apple has officially announced the first dot update for iOS 8, addressing some of the complaints users had with its newly released mobile operating system. While full release notes won’t be available until Monday, when the update goes live, Apple’s Craig Federighi detailed a bit of what’s new.
First and foremost, iOS 8.1 will officially flip the switch on Apple Pay, making the mobile payments feature available to iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus owners. All 3 major networks -- Visa, MasterCard and AMEX -- and over 500 banks will support paying with Apple’s new smartphones. Given it requires NFC, which was only recently adopted by Apple, users of older iPhones won’t have access to Apple Pay, though they can if paired with an Apple Watch when it’s out.
The update also brings back the "Camera Roll" album to help users find their recently taken shots, and includes a public beta of iCloud Photo Library. The latter lets you synchronise all your photos and videos across Apple devices, in their original format. It uses your iCloud storage, of course, and you can use it as backup or as primary storage to clear up space on your devices.
Another addition is support for SMS Handoff, which the company announced back at WWDC as part of its iOS / OS X Continuity feature but wasn’t available until now. This means you’ll be able to receive and respond to standard text messages from a Mac associated with you Apple account.
Aside from this we can probably expect the usual round of stability improvements and bug fixes. The update will be available for download on Monday -- and hopefully it’ll be a smoother ride this time around.
Apple also took the opportunity to do a quick demo of what’s new in Yosemite -- which the company detailed back in June. While a public beta has been available for weeks, users will be able to get their hands on the final release today for free, alongside updated iWork apps for OS X and iOS.