The rumor-mill has indeed been on hyperactivity in the last couple of months in anticipation of what Apple is cooking up as competitor companies such as Samsung launched products in wearable tech and its latest flagship which is the Samsung Galaxy S5. Finally, Apple kicked off Worldwide Developers Conference by confirming some of the speculations that has been going around starting with its announcement ahead of the conference, to acquire the headphone and music streaming company Beats Electronics for $3 billion. During the conference Apple also revealed its new mobile operating system, iOS 8 which will make it easier for you to share and search. This new operating system, which will be made available for download in the fall of this year, also includes Healthkit, a hub for storing and sorting health information such as vital signs, keep track of your diet and sleeping habits. Healthkit can be used with other third party applications such as those from Nike and Mayo Clinic to help you and healthcare providers alike to keep tab of your health much easier. It also allows you to choose which application will have access to your health information to protect your privacy.
Apple also announced its much-anticipated smart home technology offer called HomeKit, quite an expected move for Apple into the Internet of Things. HomeKit allows you to take control of selected gadgets and appliances at home such as lighting, door locks and thermostats. According to Craig Federighi, Senior VP Software Engineering, Apple worked with leaders in home automation devices and has come up with a kit that has a common network protocol and secure pairing to ensure that only your iPhone can access your door locks. In addition to being able to unlock doors, with HomeKit you can control individual devices in your home and group these devices, change them into scenes, and with Siri integration you can command these devices to do specific tasks following certain control settings using your iPhone.
Another highlight of the conference is the new Mac operating system Yosemite, and iOS software getting new designs and better ways of exchanging files. Mac and iOS are two identifiably separate systems however, Apple CEO Time Cook says that these systems have been engineered to work seamlessly. Mac and iPhone can now use AirDrop to exchange files directly. A new handoff feature is also introduced, which allows effortless switching of devices. This feature also allows Mac to receive caller identification on an incoming phone call on your iPhone and allows you to use your Mac as speaker.
One major difference in this year’s Worldwide Developers Conference is the lack of new product announcement. Typically Apple announces new iPhones around September and iPad products after that. Speculations still abound as to what comes next of the very popular smartphone. Rumors had it that the next iPhone will have 4.7 and 5.5 inch screens as reported by the South China Morning Post, but these remained mere speculations as of this point.
Nonetheless, analysts and developers remain optimistic that these software advances made by Apple will catapult the industry for more life-changing innovations.