What’s coming in today’s release of iOS 8.1

As detailed earlier today, Apple Pay is the biggest feature in today’s release of iOS 8.1. Along with Apple Pay and a variety of bug fixes, here are three more things you’ll see in iOS 8.1:

Instant Hotspot:

Instant Hotspot is another facet of Continuity that will be enabled with iOS 8.1. This feature lets a Mac remotely activate the Personal Hotspot capabilities of an iPhone when the two devices are near each other. The Mac can automatically detect an iPhone with Hotspot and users can connect to a Hotspot via the Mac’s Wi-Fi menu without needing to remove the iPhone from their pocket.

iCloud Photo Library:

iCloud Photo Library is designed to store all of a user’s photos and videos, making them accessible on all of their iOS devices. iCloud Photo Library is tied to a user’s iCloud account, using the storage space of their iCloud plans. With iCloud Photo Library, photos are kept in the cloud with a smaller version available on iOS devices, taking up less storage space. iCloud Photo Library will also tie in to the upcoming Photos app for the Mac, but until that is available, iCloud Photo Library will only be available on iOS devices.

And my absolute favorite, SMS Relay:

With SMS relay, both Macs (running Yosemite) and iOS devices like iPads are able to receive SMS messages that have been routed through a user’s iPhone. Currently, while iPads and Macs can receive iMessages, SMS messages are limited to iPhones. When SMS relay is functional, an SMS message that has been received will be forwarded to iPads and Macs, and users will be able to answer all of their messages on any device. It’s also possible to start SMS-based conversations directly on a Mac or iPad.

I do the vast majority of my writing on my Mac and I love the fact that I can respond to iMessages on my Mac. I can type faster on my Mac and, if my current workflow is on my Mac, I can copy and paste links and other content into a message. When I get an SMS message, I have to pull out my phone, my typing is slower, and I don’t have access to the data in my workflow. With SMS Relay, I’ll have seamless access to SMS. Fantastic.

  • nmpraveen

    Instant hotspot is already there is 8.0.2. Here is the screenshot: http://i.imgur.com/04Reb17.png

  • Terry

    Those who use Telegram already have synced messaging on their pc’s and phones, and it’s a 100% cross platform (OS X, Windows, iOS, Android). Works great.

    • awesome. never heard of it and not relevant to me or this release.

  • lkalliance

    I went in to the Apple Store yesterday to chat with staff about Photos and where things were going with iCloud Photo Library.

    Currently, iPhoto is still my photo hub, and before iOS 8 it was pretty simple: all my DSLR photos went to iPhoto, and if I launched iPhoto at least once a month I was certain to get all my photos from My Photostream automatically downloaded, so I could delete them when I wished from my phone.

    While we transition from an iPhoto-based hub to iCloud Photo Library, it’s a little more confusing. RIght now when I shoot a photo with my iPhone it does go up to My Photostream, which is visible in iPhoto as always but not visible on my phone. When I delete a photo on my phone, it disappears from My Photostream on iPhoto, but not (appropriately) from my downloaded photos in iPhoto. But that means that if I want iPhoto to get the photos, I have to make sure they’re downloaded before I delete them from the phone (which was not the case pre-iOS 8).

    I realize that we’re transitioning to iCloud Photo Library, but as far as my Mac is concerned that transition is a few months yet from completion, and in the interim it’s a little chaotic.

    What concerns me about iCloud Photo Library is that the storage requirements will generally only go up. It doesn’t ever reset to zero. If I need a 20-GB plan now, then unless I’m pruning the library I will need a bigger plan later. And then bigger, and then bigger…the price tag only goes up. I will be very interested to see what happens when Photos for Mac comes out. Will there be an opportunity to download photos locally and remove them from iCloud to maintain library size?

    (this, btw, I consider one of the recent items that has somewhat shaken my enthusiasm for iOS. I used to be able to explain to my family how to use everything on their iPhones, in part because it was simple. I have only felt that it’s getting less simple. That iPhone didn’t have everything Android has was a strength, not a weakness.)

  • GFYantiapplezealots

    I don’t understand how iCloud Photo Library is going to work when there is no Mac application. So our iPhone and iPad photos will be synced with full resolution to the cloud, but what about pictures added to iPhoto on a Mac from a DSLR ? Will these be photostreamed with the usual lower resolution? How will everything sync up once Photos is available?

    • keithwhamond

      Once the iCloud Photo beta is enabled, there is no more Photostream.

      • lkalliance

        We can’t really know until 8.1 is released today, but until Photos for OS X is out then there may be some Photostream-ish stuff going on in the background, for auto-download of iPhone photos into an iPhoto library.

        • keithwhamond

          Yes we can. I’ve been using iCloud Photo Library for months through developer seeds of iOS 8. Enabling iCloud Photo Library disables the Photostream.

          • lkalliance

            I’ve been using iOS 8 for a week or so, and there is no Photostream, but there is one in iPhoto. Or at least there is something still there named “My Photostream” in the “iCloud” portion of the library. And when I take a photo on my iPhone, that photo appears there in a few moments. And since I have iPhoto set to automatically download from My Photostream on launch, in a couple of minutes it appears, downloaded, in my iPhoto photo library in an event called “[month] Photostream downloads.” This is currently happening (where by “current” I mean using iOS 8.0.2 and OS X Mavericks).

            So we don’t really know what will happen once iOS 8.1 arrives on our phones. Though “My Photostream” is no more, there are hooks in iPhoto that tapped into “My Photostream” and are still tapping into…something.

          • keithwhamond

            Well, OK, yes, “Photostream” will still exist in things like iPhoto, Aperture, Apple TV, etc. etc. etc., well after iOS 8.1 goes live. But your Photostream will cease to update after you enable iCloud Photo Library. I promise!

    • lkalliance

      Until Photos for OS X comes out we won’t really know. I am operating under the assumption that DSLR photos don’t automatically go up, but can be placed up at a user’s option. But then how is your photo library in the cloud?

      I guess we’re at a point where my “photo library” really means “photos you take with your iPhone” and that my DSLR photos are not meant to be mixed in. But I take photos with my DSLR all the time that I want to add to my shared photo streams and to have on my phone. Hopefully this will all become clear in the near term with some experimentation and in the longer term with the release of Photos for OS X.

  • James Hughes

    By the way, It’s now available.

    • John

      And the servers are getting hammered.

  • lkalliance

    So I’ve been confused about something with ApplePay for a while now. As I understand it, the tokenization is one-time-only. My iPhone uses a token that is linked to my credit card by the credit card company. If that token is intercepted by a hacker at the point of transaction, then by the time the hacker has it, it’s useless (since it has already been used and discarded). That’s awesome.

    But how and when does the phone receive the next token? Is it transmitted back downstream during the transaction? Is that not then potentially interceptible and usable for whatever period of time before my next Apple Pay transaction?

    Leaving aside the issue of a hacker having to pair the unused token with a spoofed TouchID authentication…how is this next token created?

    • John

      The phone receives the token only once along with a token-key, CVV, and CVV-key from the provider. These are stored in the phone’s secure element. When a payment is authorized (touch, proximity to NFC device, etc) it generates a dynamic cryptogram and CVV. For the cryptogram it uses the token, token-key, purchase amount, transaction counter, date, etc. This is the “one time” number. The dynamic CVV is generated with the CVV-key.

      The token, dynamic cryptogram, and dynamic CVV (and some additional data from EMV spec) are sent to the merchant who validates the cryptogram, if it is valid then the payload is sent along to the provider who decrypts and validates the information. If all is good then the merchant account is credited and the card holder is debited.

      • lkalliance

        Ah, OK…so when I am doing an Apple Pay transaction, the token that is sent to the merchant isn’t actually a random token or even a single-use token, but it can appear random because it integrates some data that is context-specific (the date, the amount, the transaction counter, etc.). That makes sense,

  • John
  • djr12

    And in true Apple fashion, neither the automatic hotspot, nor the iCloud photo library, nor the SMS forwarding, is working. Sigh.