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In Depth: WWDC 2014: What to expect


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In Depth: WWDC 2014: What to expect

Apple's Worldwide Developers Conference (or WWDC for acronym fans) kicks off on 2 June and runs through to 6 June - if you're an Apple fan and want to get a taste of what's coming up, well, that's your week sorted.

While the company has been predictably quiet about what we'll be seeing, it's pretty easy to take some educated guesses, so here's what we expect to be seeing in San Francisco:

iOS 8

In recent years WWDC has been all about software and what Apple software launch could be bigger than iOS 8? This is likely to be the star of the show.

We don't expect a total visual overhaul like we got with iOS 7 but there could still be a lot to get excited about. From the rumors we've heard so far it seems that iOS 8 will have a big health and fitness focus with the addition of a new app known as Healthbook.

Healthbook

This will apparently track everything from steps taken, distance travelled, weight lost and calories burned to blood pressure, blood sugar, heart rate and respiratory rate, though presumably much of that will require some new hardware too.

iOS 8 is also expected to include an overhaul to Apple Maps, giving it increased accuracy and new features such as public transport directions, as well as a new look to make streets more visible.

Siri is likely to see some improvements too. We've heard that Shazam might be embedded into it and that it might be able to interface with third party apps without Apple's assistance.

iOS 8

We've also heard that iRadio might be given its own app, rather than staying as part of the Music app and that there might be two other new apps in the form of Preview and Text Edit, which would let you easily view any PDF's, images and text files that you have stored in iCloud.

While some apps will be added we've also heard that Game Center might be removed, with the functionality being built directly into games instead.

The iOS 8 update may also allow for split-screen apps on the iPad and there are likely to be a number of minor app updates. For example it's rumored that Notification Center will be streamlined and that CarPlay will be made to work wirelessly.

OS X 10.10

While iOS tends to overshadow OS X these days it's thought that OS X 10.10 could see the operating system get a total redesign, much like iOS got with version 7. It's a safe bet that we'll see OS X 10.10 at WWDC and if some massive changes are in store then it might even overshadow iOS 8.

OS X

Intriguingly it sounds like OS X 10.10 may even borrow some ideas from iOS 7, as 9to5Mac has reported that it will incorporate iOS 7's toggle design, with sharper window corners and more defined icons.

However while OS X 10.10 might start to resemble iOS a little more it will still perform like you'd expect OS X to, as features like Finder, Mission Control and multi window support apparently won't be going anywhere.

Beats

It's official, Apple now owns Beats. But while the deal is done there are still a lot of questions regarding just how Beats will fit in to Apple's ecosystem.

The suggestion so far is that it will be separate but complimentary and that Beats itself will continue to operate independently, but we're sure Apple has some visions for the future of the company and we may well hear about them at WWDC.

New iMac's

While WWDC tends to focus on software there's a good chance that we'll also see some new iMac models at next week's show. Stock for the current 21.5 and 27-inch iMac models is dwindling according to AppleInsider and historically that tends to suggest that a new model is on the way.

MacBook Air

If we do get new models then the rumor boat points to the possibility of one of them being a 12-inch MacBook, while the MacBook Air could do with a Retina Display and the Mac Mini is in desperate need of an update, though what form that update might take, if it happens at all, isn't known.

Smart Homes

Sources speaking to The Financial Times claim that Apple is working on a new software platform which would allow iOS devices to control smart homes.

Apparently the software will be built into iPhone's but open to third parties, so in theory any company could make its smart appliances compatible with it.

Connected home

This could allow users to manually control things from their iPhone, for example turning off an alarm, changing the air conditioning or turning lights on and off, but could also lead to some automated functions, where for example lights might automatically turn on when a user carrying an iPhone that's paired to the system enters the room.

It makes sense that Apple is working on this as Google is trying to get into the smart home game itself what with its purchase of Nest and Apple would understandably want to beat the search giant to the punch. Better yet, we may see the fruits of Apple's labour at WWDC next week.

Mobile Payments

There have been hints lately that Apple could be working on some mobile payment solutions. For example the company has reportedly partnered with China UnionPay to integrate its banking service into Passbook.

While earlier this year The Wall Street Journal reported that Apple was looking in to launching a mobile payment service of its own and Tim Cook claimed to be 'intrigued' by the idea of mobile payments during an earnings call.

None of which is concrete evidence of anything, but if Apple has been cooking up some mobile payment solutions then WWDC would be an ideal time to announce them.

iPhone, iPad and iWatch

With its focus on software it's incredibly unlikely that we'll see any major hardware launches from Apple during WWDC, but that hasn't stopped people from speculating. Ming-Chi Kuo of KGI Securities reckons there's an outside chance of seeing the iWatch at WWDC, but we reckon Apple will save it for later in the year.

iWatch

He also claims that an 8GB model of the iPhone 5S might be debuted and that's a little more likely as it would be a very minor update, but the iPhone 6 and iPad Air 2 will almost certainly be announced at separate events later this year.

Apple TV

There hasn't been any specific suggestion that Apple TV will get a revamp at WWDC, but it has been rumored that Apple will be revamping its set-top box at some point, by giving it a new interface, more content and a faster processor.

Apple TV

It was even rumored that the new version could arrive as soon as April and while that didn't pan out a WWDC launch would only see it arrive around a month late.

Don't get your hopes up too much though, as recent reports claim that Apple won't be discussing the refresh at WWDC.

One More Thing

If even half of this stuff makes it to WWDC then Apple is going to have a pretty full plate, but we wouldn't rule out a surprise or two as well. What those might be is anyone's guess, but with the event kicking off on 2 June we'll know soon enough.













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