There's an old saying; "you don't know what you've got 'til it's gone." Personally speaking that's how picking up an iPhone or iPad after using other mobile platforms – predominantly Android – has felt until iOS 8 came along. But no more. iOS 8 truly is Apple's latest and very greatest, and finally some of the features many of us have either experienced elsewhere or looked longingly at from afar are here. And we should thank Apple for that.
Whatever the reasons for it taking so long to get better share intents, or custom keyboards, or widgets of any variety, isn't important right now. Apple will traditionally wait it out, doing things right rather than doing things first. With all the new extensibility features Apple still retains overall control – like not allowing custom keyboards access to designated password fields – but on the whole offers the same experience you can find elsewhere. Better, in some regards. I don't use widgets on Android because I feel they make my home screen look messy. On iOS I don't use Notifcation Center. The combination of the two works brilliantly. Or so I think, at least.
So, as a frequent Android user – you might have seen me over on Android Central – much of the daily workflow that I've always had over there has been none existent on iOS. There were workarounds for many things, but workarounds aren't as user friendly as just doing something natively. The fact I couldn't directly share an image from my camera roll to Google+ or my favorite editing app, or clip a website directly to OneNote, or any number of other interactions between third-party apps has been insanely frustrating. Sure, I'm not an 'average joe' kind of iPhone user, but that shouldn't matter. The important thing is that Apple has now done it, given us the chance to have a better, more natural experience. All of us. Our iPhones and iPads are now better than ever.
The custom keyboards are another big win with iOS 8. If you've never known anything outside of Apple's own, stock iOS keyboard, you're missing out. It got a lot better with iOS 8 but there's a whole world of different ways to interact with your iPhone and iPad now available. SwiftKey, Swype, TextExpander, Fleksy and many, many more. A more tailored experience. A new keyboard is definitely worth checking out.
There's a ton of really, really great stuff in iOS 8, and the few things I've mentioned here barely scratch the surface. But they're important to me, and they should be important to every iPhone owner out there. Those bad jokes your Android using friends like to crack about your keyboard, or widgets, or the fact you can't just share stuff between apps? Gone. Some have waited longer than others, but with iOS 8 Apple has nailed it. It's the best iOS experience there's ever been thanks to the freedom given to us to do more with third-party apps and services.
More: iOS 8 review
Which iOS 8 features are you particularly excited by? Sound off in the comments below!