Apple today released the third beta of iOS 8 to developers, three weeks after releasing the second beta update and more than a month since unveiling the new operating system at the Worldwide Developers Conference.
The update, build number 12A4318c, is available through Apple’s over-the-air updating system on iOS devices and can also be downloaded via the iOS Dev Center. Apple has also released new beta versions of Find My Friends and Find My iPhone.
iOS 8 introduces a range of new features, including improved integration with OS X through Continuity, a Health app, Family Sharing features, interactive notifications, a new QuickType Keyboard and improvements to several apps like Safari, Mail, and Messages.
A June report suggested iOS 8 beta 3 would be released on Tuesday, July 8, but it appears the beta has come a day early. Today’s update comes just after Apple announced plans to wipe all CloudKit data for the iOS and Yosemite betas, including data from iCloud Drive, iCloud Photo Library, and Mail Drop.
A screenshot of an iOS 8 homescreen with the new Healthbook, Preview and TextEdit icons was posted to China’s Weibo microblog. The source of the screenshot cannot be verified, but insiders close to 9to5Mac claim the icons represented in the image are legitimate.
Preview and TextEdit may debut in iOS later this year as part of an expansion of Apple’s iCloud service. Their icons mirror those of their OS X counterparts, which is unusual as Apple uses different icons for its OS X and iOS apps. This suggests the icons are placeholders and may change before the apps are released. Tips is an unknown app, and its role in iOS 8 is not certain.
Healthbook is Apple’s rumored fitness app for iOS 8 and its icon revealed in the screenshot loosely matches earlier descriptions. It may connect to the iWatch and track vital health and fitness parameters such as calories burned, heart rate and potentially other statistics like hydration and blood glucose levels.
Overall, the screenshot shows the iOS 8 design appearing essentially identical to that of iOS 7, although this may change over time as work continues on the next-generation operating system. Apple is expected to unveil iOS 8 later this year at WWDC 2014 and release it publicly sometime this fall. Besides underlying improvements to services like Maps and Siri, it also is expected to include health and fitness features that will integrate with Apple’s iWatch wearable device.