While Windows computer users continue to struggle with the schizoid 8.1 Update interface (“I swear if I go to vertically scroll a full-size window and those #$%& Charms come up one more time, I’m going to put my fist through my #$%& screen”), Apple continues being Apple-y in its user interface design and has just premiered iOS 8. Unlike the last couple of iterations of iOS, this one “seems” to be better thought out and less likely to require massive bug fixes, but as they say “the night is young.” Whether it turns out to be flawless or have more bugs than the Insect Collection at the Smithsonian (35 million specimens in case you were asking) email marketers need to be up-to-the-minute on what the new features mean and how they can be harnessed.

Some of the most significant new iOS 8 features

Here are just the primary changes that allow you to provide your iOS 8 customers with a great user experience… if you can stay ahead of all these modifications!

  • Full screen video element API – You can now get the video elements to play full screen. It’s about time!
  • CSS video layering – Another “it’s about time” is the ability for CSS layering to place other HTML elements atop an embedded video player.
  • CSS can shape as well – The new CSS Shapes allows any designer to create a shape-outside property which will create an auto-flow around the shape, no matter how complex. Beware of overuse of this feature… used sparingly is best.
  • Sub-pixel capability – Designers have been asking for this feature since the Jurassic Era and they now can specify decimal px values and no longer rounded integral ones.
  • Java in the true background – Now when a tab is inactive the JavaScript continues being executed, a task which is facilitated by the latest Apple devices having the CPU power to actually do this without slowing everything else to a crawl.
  • Image source sets – All you need to do is drop in img src=”lores.png” srcset=”hires.png 2x, superhires.png 3x” and presto, you can update your srcset attribute on your elements correctly for both new iPhone 6 devices.

Support for Animated PNGs … finally!

Let’s face it, Animated GIFs were great in the Mosaic years but now that over two decades have passed we’re really fed up with trying to optimize our images to fit the now-absurdly limiting 256 color palette. Cupertino has not been completely deaf to the cries of frustrated designers around the internets, so they have integrated support for Animated PNGs in iOS 8. With the ability for this new format to display alpha transparent 32 bit bitmaps at an even smaller file size than an otherwise identical Animated GIFs, we can all now shed a tear at the funeral of this long-time friend and/or enemy. R.I.P. Animated GIF, we knew you (all too) well…

Hybrid webapp developers will adore the new Web View

Of all these new features the one which is likely to send email marketers, app developers, and their associated designers into paroxysms of ecstasy is the newly overhauled webview on iOS 8. After years of struggling with inconsistent display between OS X and iOS, these user interfaces now dovetail beautifully for hybrid webapps. Therefore now we can all take advantage of new classes we can use to configure the iOS Web View in a way that is essentially catching up to Android’s Web View, as well as having a fully native way to pass data between native code and JavaScript by using the postMessage facility. However, the biggest news might well be the new Nitro Engine, which can increase the speed of executing JavaScript code by a factor of four (!!!) which will allow various web views running simoultaneously to share resources. This equates to faster execution while taking up less memory, and that is music to the ears of every iOS developer and user.

There are plenty more features packed into iOS 8 which will cause champagne corks to be popped in email marketing departments everywhere but remember to use these features wisely, not just to show off what you can do!