If there was a common theme for WWDC 2014, Tim Cook articulated it at the end. He said what's great about Apple products is that their operating system, devices, and services work together in harmony, creating a seamless experience for users. And that seamless experience was expanded in dramatic fashion today, with the announcement of new technologies such as HomeKit, HealthKit, iCloud Drive, and Continuity. Apple also announced a ton of new features for built-in apps in iOS 8 such as Mail, Messages, Photos, and Safari.
As expected, Apple introduced HomeKit, a platform to standardize new and existing home automation systems. They didn't announce any new hardware, but that's probably for the best. Rather than stifle competition, HomeKit can help encourage competing vendors like Lowes, Schlage, Google's Nest and others by making it easy to work together. Lights, locks, thermostats, garage door openers from different manufacturers can now be controlled by Siri or third-party apps, as long as the devices leverage iOS 8 and HealthKit.
Touch ID has been very successful on the iPhone 5s, increasing both security and convenience. It's rumored that Touch ID will now be on all new iOS devices, including the forthcoming iPads.
Apple made two significant announcements related to the iOS keyboard today. One is predictive capability, called QuickType. Depending on context, iOS is now smart enough to predict words as you type.
Siri will have a couple great new features in iOS 8. One is hands-free operation, such that you can simply say "Hey Siri" and Siri will respond. This, of course, will be especially useful if you're in your car.
Apple announced their new HealthKit platform and Health app. The main idea is that HealthKit is a single comprehensive repository for all your health and fitness information. The announced platform goes far beyond the rumors.
Apple's vision is stunning. A new feature being demoed right now is Continuity. You can make a call on your phone and then as you sit at your Mac, you can continue the phone via your Mac.
While iPhone Lifers are interested in iPhones, iPads, and iPods, the "halo effect" means Macs are important too. As customers become Apple users for the first time, they appreciate the quality, performance, design, and finish that Apple provides; and when it's time to purchase a computer, a Mac often ends up on the short list. Of course, iOS app developers have to use Macs, so iOS and Mac devices are linked together. Finally, Apple has been combining the best features of iOS with Mac OS, and vice versa. With that in mind, let's look at the Mac news from today's WWDC keynote.
As reported now on several tech sites, the attached parody video (which is a scream, by the way) will make you indeed wonder why you need another premium Apple gadget on your person. But then I had to muddy the waters by adding a mind-blowing tech video from Carnegie Mellon University that demonstrates some stupendously cool things that are possible on your wrist. You won't believe it.. Read on to see it!
Blogger Kevin McNeish has been writing his Unleash Your Inner App developer series for over a year now, sharing his app development expertise with nonprogrammers who have a great idea for an app but don't have the programming skills to build it. The series has been very popular as a result of Kevin's easy-to-follow, in-depth instructions. Now the series is being updated to reflect the most recent version of iOS 7 and we'll be posting an updated post every weekday starting today.
Apple's stock continues to jump up, and there's a tremendous amount of enthusiasm as everyone looks ahead to Apple's keynote on Monday at the Worldwide Developers Conference (WWDC). Stock analysts and fanboys have been wondering if Apple still has its mojo in the post-Steve-Jobs era, and CEO Tim Cook has continued to promise that new product categories are coming. Everyone seems to be anticipating we will indeed get something new on Monday—if not hardware, then almost certainly a new platform or two. Let's take a look at what we know is coming, what seems likely, and what's rumored.
The worst-kept secret in Apple's recent history (post iPhone 4 leak) has been the multi-billion dollar acquisition of Beats by Dre. It finally was announced, yesterday, just days before Apple's Worldwide Developers Conference. This gave the newest Apple employees, Jimmy Iovine and Dr. Dre, a chance to participate in the Re/code conference. Iovine spoke with his new boss, Apple's Eddy Cue, on a range of topics.
It's probably snowing in Hades right now. The rumors turned out to be true; Apple has purchased Beats for $3 billion dollars, and they are about to officially place one of the most popular and profane rappers of the genre on their executive board. As Apple's Tim Cook said in an interview with the New York Times; Dre and his partner Jimmy Iovine (who was also hired in this deal) are "really unique" and that it's "like finding the precise grain of sand on the beach. They're rare and very hard to find."
Apple has announced it will televise its WWDC Keynote, which will take place at 10 a.m. Pacific time on Monday. Specifically, the announcement will stream to Apple TV users via a channel that will appear Monday morning. And visitors to Apple.com can watch it using recent versions of Safari on a Mac or iOS device, or Quicktime 7 on Windows. If you have the WWDC app and an iOS or Mac OS developer account, you should have access the keynote as well as all the videos of the conference sessions, once they are posted.
As my fellow blogger Todd Bernhard discussed in this post, there was a report out Monday from The Financial Times saying that Apple will be announcing a new Smart Home platform during next Monday's keynote at the Worldwide Developers Conference (WWDC). Apple has been working on an integrated home system for at least several years, with a number of patent applications indicating what they have in mind. In this post from January of 2012, for example, I pointed to a patent application that described a single device that would automatically detect appliances available for it to control. This would include TV, video disk player, stereo, computer, and home device controls, such as security, lighting, thermostat, and a wide range of other devices that are now Internet connected, such as the intelligent thermostat from Nest and smart light bulbs from Hue.
Apple has switched processors before. Apple switched Macs from the original Motorola 68000 series of CPUs (Central Processing Unit) to the PowerPC RISC (Reduced Instruction Set Computing) chip codeveloped by IBM and Motorola, and later to the Intel x86 family made popular by Windows PCs. But it was not without controversy, and they had compelling reasons to do so, such as performance and availability. As if by clockwork, there is another rumor that Apple might do it again, this time with the ARM chip used in their iOS product line. Apparently, according to Apple Insider, Apple is testing a MacBook Air type device running with an ARM chipset.
Lately I've been writing a lot about the rumored acquisition of Beats by Apple. In fact, I'm one of the few pundits who has focused specifically on the nature of Apple possibly joining forces with Dr. Dre. If Apple expected anything other than controversy from the good Doctor then I can only suggest that perhaps they did not fully vet their candidate for their executive board. In any case, Apple executives are said to be hot under the collar about Dr. Dre's release of a celebratory video in which he and actor Tyrese are toasting to the Apple acquisition and Dre's status as hip hop's first billionaire. This flies blatantly in the face of Apple's notoriously tight-lipped, and understandably controlling policies on disclosure. Now the same Internet that was all abuzz just days ago about the impending buyout, is all abuzz with rumors that the delay in an official announcement could signal that the deal (or at least Dre's part in it) is in serious jeopardy.
Apple's WWDC (Worldwide Developers Conference) is less than a week away, and while most of the anticipation is around the rumored Beats acquisition, Apple may have "one more thing" to surprise us with. Apple TV is due for an update; and rather than focus just on entertainment, according to the Financial Times via MacRumors, it looks like Apple is working on a Smart Home platform, and the Apple TV could be one component of that. TV-based competitors like Time Warner offer "Intelligent Home" that lets customers control smart devices such as lights, thermostats, and webcams from apps. Apple already has a section on its online store labeled "Connected Home."
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