Apple’s WWDC is Coming With New iOS Anouncements

Apple rumors are constantly swirling, but there are only two times Apple makes official announcements, and one is fast approaching in June.

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Although most iPhone 6 rumors point to a fall release, when Apple typically releases new iPhones, Apple usually gives developers the first official look at the new version of iOS at their World Wide Developers Conference.

Just like with Google I/O, more and more rumors and leaks will surface as we approach WWDC on June 2nd. There have been no official comments from Apple regarding any unannounced details from the iOS beta, AKA Okemo, but the following is a list of the most likely included updates and additions.

Visual

Unlike the jump from iOS 6 to iOS 7, the visual look designed by Jony Ive is likely to stay mostly the same. There may be some slight tweaks along the lines of the changes we saw in iOS 7.1, but outside of some changes to smooth out the edges, there likely won’t be many significant visual changes.

Healthbook

Apple released the Passbook feature with iOS 6. Passbook is mostly a collection of information from other apps such as coupons, tickets, and loyalty cards. Leaked screenshots for the Healthbook app appear to be very similar in look and function.

healthbook-book

Healthbook will likely merely display data gathered from other apps and tracking devices from 3rd parties such as Fitbit and Jawbone. It would make sense for it to function with data brought in through Apple’s rumored iWatch, but we won’t get any details on that until the iWatch is official.

In addition to providing activity and nutrition tracking, Healthbook will likely also collect all relevant health information to be displayed on a single card for easy reference, as well as an “Emergency Card” with important identification and health information such as blood type and medications, very similar to traditional medical ID bracelets. A card of that nature will likely be accessible from the lock screen so emergency workers can access it if the owner is unconscious or otherwise unable.

healthbook-emergency

iTunes Radio

iTunes Radio launched in September 2013, but has not caught on as quickly as Apple had hoped. The app is currently built in to the standard iTunes app, but the service will likely be spun off into its own standalone app to get more attention, much like how Apple created a standalone app for Podcasts.

itunesradio

Apple intends for iTunes Radio to compete with Pandora, Spotify, and other such internet radio applications, so it only makes sense to add a standalone app so the icon can be front and center before most users go downloading alternative music sources.

Apple Maps

Apple Maps was released initially for iOS 6 in September 2012 on the iPhone 5. Prior to the launch of Apple Maps, the Maps application was powered by Google Maps. Apple Maps was immediately bashed upon launch as there were many issues with inaccurate data and flawed turn by turn navigation.

One of the way Apple Maps collects its data is through iPhone geolocation data. In short, when you use maps on your iPhone, Apple Maps gets more accurate real world data. In addition to the crowdsourced data improvements, Apple has purchased several mapping companies to bolster the broken data.

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In addition to the massive planned data fix, Apple is also adding a sorely missing feature: public transit. Google Maps has always been a reliable source for real-time public transit information, making it an indispensable tool for anyone that doesn’t drive themselves around all day. The absence of public transit data has alienated many Apple users from Apple’s own mapping service, so the addition of this feature will likely lure many people away from Google Maps.

Carplay

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In addition to the mapping improvements, a big change coming for Apple CarPlay to allow for connection via WiFi (in supported vehicles). Currently CarPlay can only be utilized via a lightning connection, which seems a little old fashioned. What would be really nice is if Apple found a way to enable the feature over Bluetooth, which has much wider support, but since CarPlay requires more bandwidth than Bluetooth can currently provide, WiFi is the way to go.

VoLTE

Although it doesn’t yet have widespread support from US carriers, Apple is also expected to enable VoLTE for iPhones.  It may not immediately be available, but it does position Apple to possibly provide their own service over WiFi or LTE down the road, similar to Google’s rumored plans. Apple already has in-house messaging and voice capabilities through iMessage and Facetime.

iMessage

Currently, messages will store in iMessage indefinitely, until the phone has no more space. Just about every other phone operating systems, all the way back to flip phones with T9 text entry, have had an auto delete feature to remove messages after a certain date or over a certain cap. supposedly, Apple will finally bring this feature to the iPhone. Although it may not be as relevant with modern hardware, this is still a long awaited improvement.

Notifications

cue

The smartphone notification game seems like everyone is mostly chasing Android. iOS 5 was the first time the drop down notification curtain appeared for iPhone. It got several new features and tabs in iOS 7, but it looks like it will be simplified again for iOS 8. Apple acquired App Cue last year and those features will likely be used to bolster Apple’s notifications, but it will still be basically an attempt to match services offered through Android’s center and Google Now.

Game Center

Game Center was heavily revamped in iOS 7 to do away with the former skeuomorphic poker table design in favor of a flattened UI that more closely fit with the rest of iOS 7. Despite the fact that iOS is popular for gaming, few people actually use the Game Center itself, though, so it is possible the application will be removed in favor of more integrated support for the existing Game Center features, such as leaderboards.

App Integration

Apple’s “walled-garden” approach currently makes many apps feel very segmented and, while some apps do share data, the experience can feel disjointed at times. Apple is working on a new API to allow more data sharing and, therefore, better app integration and communication.

Although iOS 7 may have initially been a shock to many people, the apprehension faded with time and initial updates such as iOS 7.1.  iOS 8, AKA: Project Okemo, will likely continue that trend. Many of these features could be considered minor, but they all serve to buff out rough spots and close gaps in functionality.

Source: 9 to 5 Mac

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