Monday marks the beginning of Apple’s Worldwide Developers Conference 2014. The conference will be kicked off by a Keynote address at 10AM Pacific / 1PM Eastern time. What can we expect from Monday’s keynote address? Will the announcements be minor updates to iOS and OS X, or will we see any of the really great things that Apple SVP Eddy Cue recently said are in the pipeline?
iOS 8 is the operating system that runs Apple’s popular mobile devices, the iPhone, and the iPad. (It also will likely run on the iPod touch too, but that device is almost an afterthought at this point.)
“Healthbook” is an almost dead-set lock to make the scene at WWDC tomorrow. The health and fitness app is expected to follow design cues from Apple’s Passbook app, and will collect data from various hardware accessories and third-party apps.
The app will be capable of tracking data such as heart rate, blood pressure, blood sugar, sleep, activity, weight, and much more. Apple is also likely to supply a development framework to allow developers to more easily develop software and hardware.
9to5Mac reports that Healthbook will include an Emergency Card function. The Emergency Card will offer a place for users to store health-related information about themselves. Blood type, birthdate, organ donor status, lists of medications, emergency contact information and more can be stored in this area. The Emergency Card function will supply hospitals, doctors, and emergency personnel with valuable information in case of emergency.
iOS 8 will bring improvements in Apple’s Maps app. Apple’s much maligned mapping and navigation app is believed to have received some much needed development time during the past year. While the interface will keep its current iOS 7 look and feel, the app will receive some love in the form of improved mapping data, and new features.
Maps may benefit from Apple’s acquisitions of HopStop and Embark, allowing the integration of public transit information into the app, allowing users to get directions to use bus service without the need of a third-party app as is currently required.
Apple is rumored to be announcing a push into the smart home industry. While it was initially believed that Apple might actually develop an entire smart home automation system, recent reports say the program will merely consist of an expansion of the “Made For iPhone” licensing program that is already in place for certification of third-party accessories for iOS devices.
You may notice that I say this every year, but please let the Apple gods be listening when I predict that finally, this is the year that Apple will provide developers with access to Siri, Apple’s virtual personal assistant for iOS devices. Maybe Microsoft’s “Cortana” might be the push Apple needs to to finally allow devs the access they need to make Siri even more useful than she already is.
OS X 10.10
While most of the attention of the rumor mill has centered on iOS 8, there have been a few choice morsels about OS X 10.10 that have leaked. OS X 10.10 most likely will carry the moniker of “Yosemite,” if the banners that have been hung in Moscone Center are indicators.
The changes for OS X 10.10 will likely involve a revamped interface. The new look is rumored to take design cues form iOS 7, with a flatter, plainer look. The icons across the system will be more defined, window corners will be sharper, and white space will abound.
While OS X 10.10 will take design cues from iOS, it is expected that the ‘iOS experience” in OS X will end there. The basic functionality of OSX, with multitasking, Spotlight search, and Mission Control, is expected to stay in place.
Also rumored for OS X 10.10 is the possible arrival of Siri, and AirDrop compatibility with iOS AirDrop. (Please, please, please…)
Xcode 6 should make an appearance at the conference. The new version is reportedly a significant upgrade, and sources say it will include a much improved iOS Simulator application that better handles various resolutions and scaling. Other improvements are said to include an improved Interface Builder, rapid prototyping and testing of apps, and the integration of frameworks.
Rumors abound that Apple will debut new hardware at the conference on Monday, but no one seems to be able to pinpoint just what hardware will appear. Guesstimates range from a cheaper iMac, to a smaller MacBook Pro with Retina Display, to a 4K Thunderbolt Display. We’ll keep you posted if any of the above shows up.
We’re sure Apple will surprise us with something. That’s what makes this job so damned much fun.
WWDC 2014 kicks off Monday, June 2 at 10AM Pacific / 1PM Eastern time. Apple will be live streaming the event, and we’ll be right here, covering the event for you, so be sure to come back to MacTrast on Monday for all our WWDC coverage.