The new, more productive iOS 8: Spotlight and Notification upgrades make it well worth downloading

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Yesterday Apple unveiled the new iPhone 6 smartphones and the upcoming Apple Watch. The new iPhones will be available soon, but even before they hit the street, the latest version of Apple's mobile operating system, iOS 8, will roll out. 

Of the many new and updated features in iOS 8, two in particular will help people be more efficient: the new Spotlight search, and Notification Center. Both help you find what you need to find, and do what you need to more simply, and with fewer swipes and taps.

First, let’s look at Spotlight. In iOS 7, when you swipe down the middle of the screen to use Spotlight, the search field displays text that reads “Search iPhone” (or “Search iPad,” as the case may be). In other words, it's a quick way to find apps, messages, contacts, or other information, but only as long as it resides on your device.

The new Spotlight expands the horizons of the search capability to include the world beyond your device. Instead of “Search this iPhone,” it will now say, “Spotlight Search.” When you enter your search terms, instead of just looking at the content of the iOS device, it will also consider your location and the context of the query, and provide relevant results from Wikipedia, news, nearby location information, the iTunes store, movie showtimes, suggested websites, and more.

In iOS 7, the Notification Center let you display things like text or iMessage messages, Facebook updates, and Twitter tweets in a banner at the top of the display. It lets you stay informed no matter which app you’re in at the time. If you want to interact or respond, though, it’s not quite as useful.

iOS 8 makes Notification Center more efficient. You can swipe down on the banner to reply to the text or iMessage right there, rather than opening up the Messages app. You can also swipe down to comment on a Facebook status, or retweet something witty without opening the individual apps.

The new predictive typing keyboard is another new features of iOS 8 that will enhance your efficiency. If you use an iOS device—be it an iPhone or iPad—for business, you'll want to install iOS 8 as soon as it’s available, so you can start to take advantage of these new features and get more done with fewer swipes and taps.

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