iOS 8: A Take Control Crash Course
by Josh Centers

Price: $15
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Whether you’re new to iOS and need a primer to the platform, or are a veteran iOS user and want to explore new iOS 8 features, this book will fill you in.

iOS 7 was a shocking overhaul of an iconic interface. Gone were superfluous trimmings like stitched leather and black canvas, replaced by white space, clean lines, and bold colors. iOS 8, at first glance, may not seem all that different. But don’t judge an operating system by its icons—Apple has put important new technologies under the hood and added compelling features that you can enjoy right away.

For example, Extensibility makes it possible for apps to interact with one another more than ever before—say, to open files from one app in another—without sacrificing the security and stability that we’ve come to expect from iOS. And, the new Health app makes it easier to use an iPhone or iPod touch to track and share health data.

In some cases, Apple has borrowed heavily from Android: the iOS 8 keyboard suggests words on the fly, Safari lets you share Web pages with any app that allows it, third-party software keyboards are supported, and third-party widgets can be added to Notification Center.

Other new features in iOS 8 add refinement and address long-standing user annoyances. Thanks to iCloud Photo Library, you no longer have to worry about your photos and videos overloading your device’s storage. The Siri voice-control feature can be used hands-free and understands more commands than ever, the Spotlight search can locate more types of data, the new Family Sharing makes it easier to share iTunes Store content within a family, and the new Continuity features dramatically improve Mac/iOS integration.

All this (and more) means that despite the lack of major visual changes, I’m more excited about iOS 8 than I have been about any iOS release in years. It makes everyday tasks easier and quicker, and it opens a world of capabilities that advanced users have never had—but have always wanted. Whether or not you’re a power user, this book will help you act like one.