While it's easy to look back on the decade and remember all the great hardware and new devices that came out from Apple, it's easy to overlook the software that makes the iPhone what it is.
In 2014, iOS 8 was released alongside the iPhone 6, and it came with some huge improvements and new features that would prove to be instrumental in how people use their Apple devices and what direction the company would take in the future.
The start of Continuity
When you ask people why they have stuck with Apple, you'll get a lot of different answers, but one answer you hear a lot is that people love the "Apple ecosystem." The way different Apple devices work hand-in-hand with other Apple devices makes life easier for a lot of people and is a huge draw for Apple. Well, iOS 8 was a huge step forward for Apple's ecosystem since it brought the launch of Continuity.
Continuity is what allows communication between Apple devices. It's the reason you can take phone calls on your Mac and iPad and the reason you can send SMS messages on your Mac and iPad. More importantly, Continuity launched with the Handoff feature, which allowed you to start a task on one device and continue on another. If you started writing a note on your iPhone, you could easily finish typing it on your Mac and vice-versa.
Since iOS 8, Continuity has only become more and more useful, and Apple has doubled down on expanding its ecosystem. The future of how we use our Apple devices (especially different devices together) has forever been shaped by iOS 8.
Apple gets healthy
When Apple launched the Health app (and HealthKit), it may have been pretty barebones compared to what it is today, but there's no question that, when it was announced in 2014, it started Apple on a health journey.
The Health app was about more than just counting steps or how many floors you climbed — which the app would do using the iPhone's internal sensors — but was a place for developers to aggregate health data from different fitness apps. Little did we know at the time that the Apple Watch was going to come out the next year, and completely blow the lid off of Apple's dedication to health.
Over the years, HealthKit and the Health app have gone through a ton of changes, and Apple keeps pumping out new features for iPhone and Apple Watch to help users get a better insight into their health.
A strong year for iOS
You may not think of every new version of iOS is something to write home about, and you'd be right. Plenty of years, the innovation of the newest iOS can feel minimal when you look at it in a vacuum; however, when you look at the bigger picture, something like iOS 8 looks pretty monumental.
Continuity really solidified Apple's commitment to making your workflow feel way more seamless when using multiple devices. The Health app was the very beginning of Apple's commitment to using its products to help people with their health — even if, at the time, it was a little barebones.
Those are only two big changes that were included in iOS 8, plenty of other changes were brought in during the lifetime of iOS 8 that changed the Apple software forever. That's why, when it comes to significant Apple innovations over the years, I'll always remember 2014 for bringing us iOS 8.