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WWDC 2014: 10 things to expect from Apple

However, there are likely to be plenty of minor tweaks designed to improve
usability, as well as app updates. There is also some suggestion that OS X
apps like Text Edit and Preview could make their way over to iOS.

Healthbook

One of the most widely-rumoured features of iOS is a new Healthbook app, which
is expected to monitor blood pressure, heart rate and other vital signs in a
renewed focus on health and well-being.

The iPhone 5S has an M7 motion coprocessor, which is capable of capturing some
of that data, but it is likely that the Healthbook will likely function more
as a centralised hub for fitness apps, with data feeding in from wearable
devices such as the Nike Fuelband, or even a yet-to-be-announced iWatch.

Split-screen mutitasking

Split-screen multitasking would allow iPad users to run and interact with two
iPad applications side-by-side, much as Microsoft’s Surface line of tablets
allows users to “snap” applications next to each other on the screen.

It could also allow apps to interact more easily, according to the sources.
For example, a user may be able to drag content, such as text, video, or
images, from one app to another.

Split-screen multitasking is particularly popular feature among business
users, who often need to handle multiple tasks at the same time. The feature
has been requested by iPad fans for several years.

Siri improvements

iOS 8 is also expected to bring improvements to Apple’s Siri voice command
service with third party app partnerships.

Competition is growing from from the likes of Microsoft’s Cortana, and Apple
may be keen to incorporate some of the more popular features of these rival
services, such as reminders and “proactive” assisting, such as
telling you the weather every day instead of waiting for you to ask.

Maps update

Ever since its botched debut in 2012, Apple’s engineers have been working hard
to improve the accuracy of its Maps app, and bring it up to the standard of
Google Maps. It has made a lot of progress, but we’re expecting to see some
new enhancements.

Based on acquisitions and rumours, Maps will finally get directions for public
transit. It will also get better points of interest, including airports,
parks and highways, according to 9to5Mac.

OS X 10.10

While last year saw a major redesign of iOS, it is thought that this year
could be the turn of OS X. Apple’s mobile and desktop operating systems have
never looked more different, it it would make sense for the two to be
brought back into line.

Updates to OS X could therefore include a more ‘flat’ design, with more
‘layering’ of windows over backgrounds. Apple may also refresh the basic
user interface of popular desktop apps like iTunes and iPhoto.

Smart home software

Last month it was reported Apple was planning to announce ‘connected home’
software, turning iPhones and iPads into remote controls for lights,
security systems and other household appliances.

Rivals Samsung and Google have made significant moves into that area in recent
months, launching internet-enabled washing machines and fridges and smart
thermostats respectively.

Apple has already made a bid for customers’ living rooms through its digital
media player Apple TV, making the automation of homes and living spaces a
likely focus for the company in the next few years.

Headphones

Apple’s acquisition of Beats Electronics has only just been confirmed, but Dr
Dre is expected to attend WWDC, and could reveal more details about the
collaboration between the two firms at the conference.

A post on anonymous secret-sharing app Secret last month suggested that
Apple is planning to release a set of headphones which monitor your heart
rate and blood pressure. The ‘earpods’ will use Apple’s iBeacon technology
to locate them if they are misplaced, and will be require the lightening
jack to work, according to the message.

HD audio

Currently, iOS 7’s stock Music app cannot play high quality 24-bit audio files
that contain a sampling frequency beyond 48 kHz, and even third-party apps
that are capable of playing such files are limited to onboard playback at a
16-bit rate.

Apple is also said to be preparing an upgraded Lightning cable to accommodate
high-definition playback on Made For iPhone (MFi) audio accessories, and a
new version of its in-ear headphones to accommodate high-quality audio
playback.

iBeacons

Apple’s iBeacon system allows a store to install transmitters that could then
wirelessly connect to an iPhone when a customer walks near a certain
product, providing updates and additional information such as pricing.

Apple has moved cautiously with iBeacon, in part because it might raise
concerns about being tracked. However, its support for the technology could
propel the concept into the mainstream.

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