Apple's iOS 8 introduces extensions, a feature we're particularly excited about getting on our iPads and iPhones this autumn. It came as quite a surprise for us, after all, Apple doesn't traditionally open up its operating system like this.
With iOS 8, apps will be allowed to talk to one another, and for the first time, Apple will allow third-party developers to create extensions and widgets that run in other apps across iOS. See: iOS 8 vs iOS 7 comparison review
"We're giving developers more ways to help you do more," says Apple on its website. Extensions, or 'Actions' as they're also sometimes called, can relate to sharing, photo editing, the keyboard, and lots more.
The announcement of extensions got us thinking about what apps we hope will take advantage of this feature. We've come up with a list of six apps that are high on our wishlist – we want them to talk to each other. See also: Apple reveals the future of apps.
iOS 8 extensions wishlist: Video
Macworld's Online Editor David Price suggests that the Videos app in iOS could talk with other video media apps.
"I find it slightly annoying that a lot of the video media on my iPad is split between different apps, and I'd like it if there was a single all-encompassing app that has access to all of them (and all their login details, in the case of streaming apps," David explains.
"If Videos could access streaming video in my Amazon Instant Video app, catch-up and streaming video on ITV Player and iPlayer, Netflix content and its own iTunes video library, it would be easier to look at a glance at all the TV shows I could be watching, or all the films I could be watching."
Similarly, Macworld Editor Karen Haslam would like to be able to read books she purchased in the Kindle Store within iBooks, though she points out that it's highly unlikely that this particular wish will come true. See also: 8 new features in iOS 8 that we can't wait for.
iOS 8 extensions wishlist: Maps
Karen also suggests that Maps should be able to link into your travel apps such as National Rail and TFL.
Extensibility could be used in Maps in other ways, too. For example, you could link it with your favourite weather app to see what the weather will be like where you're heading. You could also link it with apps such as Trip Advisor to find out which restaurants, hotels and attractions nearby are the best. The Calendar could be included in Maps extensions as well, adding pins to represent the location of upcoming events, perhaps.
iOS 8 extensions wishlist: Facebook
Macworld contributor Lucy Hattersley suggests that Facebook extensions would be high on her wishlist, and even those could work with Maps in some cases.
"Apple Maps could show where roughly all my friends are posting from (without the accuracy/creepiness of Find My Friends)," she says. "Facebook messages could appear alongside iMessages in Messages and you could have proper integration of Facebook events in Calendar."
iOS 8 extensions wishlist: Photos
We already know that, thanks to Extensibility, developers will be able to embed their filters and editing tools directly into the Photos app, but Macworld contributor Nick Spence would like to see Instagram, Camera+, Snapseed and Hipstamatic's Oggl in particular, to edit photos using all of those apps' filters and effects without leaving the Photos app.
"I would also love to see a better dialogue between the photos you take on your iDevice and Maps, or in an ideal world Google Maps," Nick adds. "Having used dozens of photo apps, it's very hit and miss wen trying to retrieve location data.
iOS 8 extensions wishlist: Calendar
Macworld contributor David Bradforth simply wants extensions that mean Google Calendar, Bing Calendar and Facebook Calendar all come into one place with events and occasions from each properly imported.
iOS 8 extensions wishlist: Games
David also hopes that games will adopt Extensibility in iOS 8. "I'd like the ability to have multi-part games where once you complete the first part you can go straight to another game (which may not even be in the same series) taking with you the skills/attributes you've earned in the earlier game. This would certainly add something to RPGs," he says.
What apps would you like to see talking to one another? You can let us know your suggestions in the comments section below.
For more information about iOS 8 read:
- iOS 8 release date rumours & preview
- Everything you need to know about iOS 8
- 10 cool new features in Photos for iOS 8 and Mac OS X Yosemite
- How to get iOS 8 on your iPhone and iPad right now
- 8 new features in iOS 8 that we can't wait for
- How to find things quickly on your iPad or iPhone using Spotlight