Apple’s Worldwide Developer Conference kicks off tomorrow on Monday, June 2nd. A bunch of rumors have been buzzing, some of which might benefit, and others, threaten, Boston’s companies. There’s been particular hype around the next versions of iOS 8 and OS X 10.10, Apple’s current mobile and desktop operating systems, and when we can expect them to be available for consumers.
Screenshots were leaked earlier this year of a brand new health and fitness app called Healthbook. With a Passbook-like interface, the app is rumored to be able to track heart rate, nutrition, sleeping patterns, calorie intake, pace and more. Where the data will come from, however – whether it’s third-party apps, Apple wearables or the iPhone 6 – Apple-savvy sources aren’t sure. The health-focused app will also feature an Emergency Card function, meant to be the single place for users to store information about themselves, like blood type and list of medications, that could save lives in the case of an emergency situation.
A new-and-improved Maps application is also apparently in the works. Apple has stayed fairly hush-hush about the GPS application after CEO Tim Cook apologized for its many bugs back in 2012. This year, Apple is apparently planning to not only polish it up, but also add public transit directions for major cities as well. The new version will include new places of interest and labels for destinations like airports, freeways, parks, train stations and bus stops to make it easier for users to make the switch.
The Cupertino tech giant is also anticipated by some to announce on Monday a split-screen multi-tasking capability for the iPad and iOS 8. The tablet’s supercharged functionality should sound familiar – a feature that allows users to “snap” multiple apps onto the screen has been available on Microsoft’s Windows 8 platform since the launch of the company’s Surface devices.
For both Microsoft and Apple, the addition of side-by-side app multitasking to their tablet lines is a move that takes us one step closer to a laptop-less world. According to 9to5Mac, the feature could let apps interact more easily, letting users drag text, video and photo content from one app to another. Apple is also testing out a new feature that allows people to connect their iPad to their Mac for use as an external monitor.
The iOS 8 update isn’t due till sometime later this year, most likely around September aligned with the launch of the next iPhone. But we’ll probably at least get a glimpse of which of these purported new features will accompany the software when it ships.
OS X 10.10
But the new iOS 8 is reported to pale in comparison to debut of OS X 10.10. Apple readying to introduce a new redesign that’s focused on unifying its desktop and mobile platforms. Basically what that means is that the home screen of your Macbook will look much more visually similar to that of your current iPhone running iOS 7.
The new desktop operating system is expected to feature new icons, sharper window corners and a flatter user interface. Hallmark OS X characteristics like Finder, multi-window multitasking and Mission Control will remain the same, however, so power users needn’t fret just yet. It’s also rumored that the company could be announcing Siri voice recognition for Mac this year.
Keeping in line with Apple’s announcement last year that they’d be dropping the big cat names from their branding, the next generation of desktop software will likely be marketed under the title OS X Yosemite or OS X El Cap.
Sources have yet to report a potential release date for OS X. When it does drop, however, we can expect to read about it in all its glory from Newton, Mass.’s John Siracusa, the heralded author of Ars Technica’s annual OS X review. Check out last year’s 24 page review here.
Image via 9to5Mac