iOS 8 screenshot (Healthbook, Preview, TextEdit icons, tessaer 001)

As a prominent iOS developer noted on Twitter, looks like Apple is actually toying with a standalone iTunes Radio app, as previously suspected.

In addition, Apple looks to be prepping new stock iOS 8 apps – TextEdit and Preview – as well as potentially enabling third-party Siri access.

Code hooks and hidden assets discovered in the iOS 8 Beta code seem to support these findings, largely corroborating much of the earlier findings by prominent Apple blogger Mark Gurman.

Note that this is no guarantee that Apple will roll out these features – that is, it will only introduce them when they’re ready for prime time. For example, The New York Times previously reported that split-screen functionality didn’t make the cut in iOS 8. With that in mind, it’s fairly safe to speculate that Preview, TextEdit, third-party Siri access and a standalone iTunes Radio could be slated for the iOS 8.1 update

iOS developer Hamza Sood discovered mentions of the rumored Preview iOS app in the .plist file which defines default app mappings for the Continuity feature.

Previe iOS 8 code hook (Hamza Sood 001)

The same file makes a passing mention of TextEdit for iOS.

TextEdit iOS 8 code hook (Hamza Sood 001)

And a standalone iTunes Radio app.

For good measure, the .plist file also mentions GarageBand for iOS (available in the App Store) so you’ll be able to seamlessly transition between mobile and desktop GarageBand app, too, using the new Continuity feature.

As for Siri controlling other apps, Hamza speculated that the new ‘UIApplicationLaunchOptionsSiriTaskKey’ string could quite possibly be part of a Siri API aimed at third-party apps.

Third-part Siri iOS 8 code hook (Hamza Sood 001)

He went on to caution that this string may not have do to anything with Siri’s ability to control various home automation features through Apple’s new HomeKit smart home platform.

What’s particularly interesting is the mention of the Healthbook app Gurman was talking about in the run-up to WWDC 2014.

Healthbook iOS 8 code hook (Hamza Sood 001)

As you know, Apple revealed a new Health iOS 8 app last week with a different user interface than that mocked up by Gurman and friends over at 9to5Mac.

The name change put Gurman on the defensive, prompting him to give the following explanation:

While Apple did, indeed, announce a health tracking application and an API for partners to hook into, the interface did not match up with our screenshots from March.

The reason, a source confirmed this week, is that Apple revamped the user-interface and dropped the “Healthbook” name late in development due to the leak. While the icon and interface is new, the entirety of the earlier reported functionality and in-app graphics are identical.

The young blogger went on to suggest that many Apple employees he spoke to agreed that the original (leaked) Healthbook UI is “far superior in usability” versus the current look.

This prompted prominent Apple pundit John Gruber to opine on his Daring Fireball blog that it doesn’t work that way:

Let me get this straight.

Apple completely scrapped a superior interface to Health because Mark Gurman published screenshots back in March.

That is to say, Apple cared more about the surprise of revealing a never-before-seen Health interface during the keynote than they cared about the actual design quality of an interface that will be used by hundreds of millions of iOS users for years to come.

Gruber contributed Gurman’s explanation to his youth, which “has led him into the solipsistic trap of thinking that his personal perception of Apple — as a guardian of secrets — accurately reflects Apple’s actual institutional priorities, when in fact nothing, not even secrecy, trumps design in the halls of Cupertino”.

Back to the aforementioned findings.

Third-party access to Siri has been years in the making, according to multiple sources, so we do expect that Apple will at some point permit third-party developers to hook into Siri.

Apple could also release Preview and TextEdit apps as optional downloads in the App Store, but that would fly against the decision to include iBooks, currently an optional download in the App Store, as part of the stock iOS 8 offerings.

Hamza also found other interesting strings in the iOS 8 SDK hinting at scrollable Control Center toggles and a customizable Lock screen, (possible) support for theming in iOS 8, a car-finding feature in Maps, the useful split-screen view for apps and more.

Anyway, what do you guys make of this?

  • Mozaik

    Siri api , plz plz plz.

    • Anmol Malhotra

      Didn’t you watched WWDC14? They were already introduced by Apple during keynote. For your kind info they have also provided the TouchID api

      • This is accomplished through HomeKit, not true third-party access to Siri

      • Tony Trenkle Jr.

        Siri API? Umm no they didn’t announce that at WWDC…

  • Linton Findlay

    would actually use siri if i could go, use tomtom app to navigate to x or facebook message someone saying

  • Anmol Malhotra

    Hamza Sood : the pirate of iOS 😀
    He keeps on searching for new features in iOS which were not known to public.

  • jaysoncopes

    Anyone else notice that there was no com.apple.Notes? Has anybody considered the possibility Notes being replaced by TextEdit? That would make a lot of sense since Apple is rolling out rich text editing in Notes through the betas.

    • Could make sense, yeah

    • neez

      I think that Notes and TextEdit may/should merge somewhere in the future, and only one app will/would be kept. The same to Preview, iPhoto and the Photos app. Doesn’t it make more sense? Take the new ability to place pictures in Notes for example… IMO this should be a natural evolution to make apple OSes to work seamlessly: get rid of redundancies and build a more cohesive ecosystem.

  • Sachin

    I think there are many hidden features which will be announced alongside iPhone 6.

  • Framboogle

    Sounds like the final build of iOS 8 will bring lots of new features!

    • John Wickham

      I can’t imagine that any new APIs (a Siri API) will be available in iOS 8. Since they’re not available in the betas, developers will not be able to implement and test them.

  • Matt Taylor

    Wow, Apple are going all out… Scary times for Jailbreaking coming our way.

    • The only thing Apple could do to kill the jailbreak scene is to allow system tweaks, custom themes and full access to the filesystem – which won’t happen (bar the themes, maybe) – No matter what Apple implement into iOS, jailbreak devs will always think of something different.

      • ✪ aidan harris ✪

        Plus Apple disapproves of many apps which are only obtainable through Cydia or by having a Developer Account with Apple e.g Moviebox, XBMC, Emulators, etc…

  • Alex Marwaha

    what can third party Siri API do for us? im sorry but i dont understand what it is.

    • Basically something like “Siri, play Pompiee by Bastille in Spotify”. At the moment, the closest it can do is “Siri, open Spotify”

    • jaysoncopes

      Or, in other words, it would allow developers to add their own Siri commands. Spotify is one really good example, another might be something like “Make a new note in Evernote” and it might bring up a widget with the new iOS 8 widget API.

  • hkgsulphate

    so the leaked pic was real lol
    Healthbook sounds better