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Apple’s WWDC 2014 Conference is scheduled for next week, from June 2-6, and, like always, brings the famous question: what can we expect to see at Apple’s big developer conference?

Apple’s WWDC 2014 Conference will bring new iOS 8 and other app improvements. Mac OSX 10.10 will soon have an official name and we might get a glimpse of the iWatch.

As usual, we can always throw in iOS, Apple’s mobile operating system for iPhone, iPad, and iPod Touch, as well as OS X – Apple’s desktop PC operating system. This year is no different, but the surprises should be tweaks and modifications to Apple’s already-formidable platforms. Let’s get started with iOS 8.

iOS 8: HealthBook and Mobile payments

HealthBook is rumored for a WWDC 2014 introduction, seeing that we’ve seen a number of photos with HealthBook integrated into iOS that have been circulating the web for several weeks now. Seeing that iOS 7 brought the largest overhaul to iOS since the introduction of the iPhone back in 2007, it’s likely that HealthBook (and possibly something along the lines of mobile payments) may be the only new features introduced into iOS this year.

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What can we expect in HealthBook? From iWatch concepts we’ve seen, it seems as if Apple’s likely to integrate sensors into its iWatch that can monitor heart rate, blood sugar, hydration, blood pressure, body temperature, sleep activity, medications, diet and nutrition, other notes, health status, and so on. Apple has been working with medical researchers and experts in the last few months – a sign that the company looks to make a consumer product that will aid in cases of a medical emergency (or health in general). The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) met with Apple Senior VP Operations personnel Jeff Williams, Software Technology VP Bud Tribble, Michael O’Reilly, and another unnamed employee from Apple’s government affairs department in between December 9-13, 2013. The topic of discussion in this so-called secret meeting was “Mobile Medical Applications,” listed on the FDA’s Public Calendar for December.

Apple-medical-application

Passbook was introduced alongside of iOS 6, and many see it as a way to pull up your “virtual wallet” to pay for plane tickets, coffee, and other valuables. Former Apple employee Scott Forstall implemented excellent animation features into Passbook and captured accurately the vision of Steve Jobs. While many iOS users applaud the contemporary look and design to iOS 7, not everyone agrees. Impressions of iOS 7 seem unanimous according to small-group surveys, but a number of other consumers (not surveyed) believe that iOS 6 provided a bridge between the virtual and the real – and they believe iOS 7 detracts from life-like genuineness. Passbook, however, is Apple’s starting foot into the world of mobile payments, considering that Apple’s App Store app now provides customers with the ability to pay for any iDevice by way of their iPhone. Passbook will likely gain some more functionality at WWDC 2014 if Apple seeks to dive more into mobile payments. Healthbook will likely feature the same setup as Passbook:

“The Healthbook application is said to take multiple user interface cues from Apple’s own Passbook app, which is software for storing loyalty cards, coupons, and other materials normally stored in physical wallets. The new health and fitness application’s interface is a stack of cards that can be easily swiped between. Each card represents a different fitness or health data point. The prototype logo for “Healthbook” is similar to Passbook’s icon, but it is adorned with graphics representing visual signs.”

Maps transit integration and other improvements

Apple’s been making inroads (pun intended) with its Maps application that was launched with iOS 6. It’s been two years since Apple’s Maps fiasco went public, but the company has updated its Maps and brought an improved experience to the one application that many iOS users deemed the worst in the iOS experience since 2007.

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Maps looks to gain some “smarts” this year at WWDC 2014, where Apple will likely integrate transit information into the iOS 8 Maps app. Apple acquired transit companies Hopstop and Embark last year, but we’ve yet to see these acquisitions make their mark on Apple Maps. Sources say that this is the year to see the inclusion of transit information right alongside of driving and walking directions in iOS 8 Maps.

OS X apps TextEdit and Preview coming to iOS

Apple has stated time and time again that the company doesn’t intend to merge OS X and iOS into some sort of hybrid OS, but that doesn’t mean that Apple won’t bring some of OS X to iOS. It seems as though Apple may bring TextEdit and Preview apps to iOS, but this statement must be explained further.

ios8-screen

In OSX, Apple’s TextEdit and Preview apps allow you to type notes and crop pictures to your liking. Apple doesn’t intend to bridge OSX and iOS with these apps, so you won’t likely get to crop photos on your iPad or iPhone by way of Preview. Instead, these apps will be allowed into iOS with the goal of allowing you to view and edit images saved in iCloud. OSX has already been optimized to view Preview and TextEdit files on OSX (in Mountain Lion), but has yet to bring it to iOS. With Preview and TextEdit apps coming to iOS, Apple is expanding iCloud abilities – the same thing the company started doing with OSX Mavericks last year.

iTunes Radio

Before the 2013 iOS7 announcement, sources stated that Apple would introduce iTunes Radio as the company’s Internet music radio service – and that it would come with its own separate app. Interestingly enough, Apple debuted iTunes Radio with its own icon, but the Internet radio application was placed within the current Music app in iOS7.

Sources close to Apple say that the company intends to create a standalone app for iTunes Radio in iOS 8. With the icon Apple has used publicly to refer to iTunes Radio, it makes sense. It’s likely that some iOS users may have struggled to remember where iTunes Radio is located in iOS. Placing iTunes Radio in its own separate app will help iOS users remember where it is without searching for it – and Apple to promote its music service.

Game Center

The iOS 7 Game Center app received some transformation last Fall, but Apple’s not done with it yet. Sources say that Apple will likely eliminate the Game Center app in iOS 8 because it’s not used by most consumers. There are remnants of Game Center that will remain, but Game Center will be confined to game apps that already utilize Game Center. iTunes Radio and Game Center are tied together in Apple’s iOS 8 plans: the Game Center app will be eliminated, making room for the new iTunes Radio app.

Notification Center

Notification Center in iOS 7 provides Missed Notifications, Today’s notifications, and All Notifications in the iPhone and iPad drop-down window that’s only a swipe away. In iOS 8, Apple looks to simplify the Notification Center experience by removing the Missed Notifications section. From now on, all your missed notifications will come under “all notifications” instead, reducing the number of tabs in the Notification Center. Apple will continue its tradition of simplifying the user experience – as it has done in its iOS 7.1 update.

iMessage

Have you found that your iPhone memory is consumed quickly these days? If so, it’s likely that the iMessage is the culprit. Many an iPhone user has taken to tech forums the world over complaining about their frustrating attempts to remove their iMessages from their phone memory. In some cases, their text messages can’t be removed; in others, the memory remains the same, even if they delete iMessages.

If you’re a frustrated iMessage user, remain calm: Apple has heard your grievances and intends to do something to solve the problem. iMessage will integrate an “automatic delete” setting that removes messages after a period of time so that you can save your memory for other leisure pursuits.

Other iOS 8 expectations

Aside from the iOS 8 expectations already mentioned, sources say that Apple could’ve some surprises in store for both Siri and iOS in the Car. Siri could receive a new music integration feature that allows “her” or “him” (depending on your gender preference for Siri) to provide music details when prompted via voice command. According to Bloomberg News, Apple will partner with London-based company Shazam Entertainment, Ltd. to bring this technology to iOS users.

Apple’s iTunes Radio, while touted for the number of quick iOS adherents, hasn’t ranked as well as YouTube (owned by rival company Google, Inc.), Spotify, Pandora, iHeartRadio, and others, and Apple now wants to implement features that will set its radio service apart from others in the minds of consumers. Saying, “Siri, what song is playing?” will bring Siri’s response of “We Belong Together by Mariah Carey” or “Love Story by Taylor Swift,” for example. Siri’s song-title response will be made possible through Shazam’s own technology that allows the voice command (Siri, in this case) to listen to the iDevice microphone (s) and match the sound against current sounds of songs in a long music database.

As for Apple’s iTunes in the Car program, Cupertino looks to provide Wi-Fi Carplay with the iOS 8 update, bringing the Wi-Fi experience to vehicles as a permanent part of the in-car setup.
Touch ID

Remember Touch ID? It is the new fingerprint registry feature that was implemented into iOS 7 and the iPhone 5s. The goal with Apple’s Touch ID was to help consumers have a more secure-proof way of accessing their content without the fear of locking themselves out of their iPhone. While passwords and passcodes are excellent means of security, they are at risk of being forgotten by consumers. One need not remember his or her fingerprint; just place it on the home button, and gain access.

At the same time, however, the iPhone 5s home button-embedded fingerprint register does have its problems. One major problem consists of the home button’s risk of deterioration with sweat and body oils that can corrode the registry and frustrate the lock screen access. It was also shown that Apple’s fingerprint register in the home button can be hacked. It’s never a surprise when hackers perform such feats, but it does show that Touch ID is in need of some small modification.

Apple will likely include some tweaks to Touch ID in order to make it more stable than it is currently. Another Touch ID rumor says that Apple will implement Touch ID into its iPad Air and iPad Mini lines this year. This isn’t a surprise, seeing that Apple looks to secure all of its devices and prevent the rising theft crimes worldwide.

Mac OS X

There’s much about Mac OS X that we don’t know about, but Apple’s got some surprises in store for us at WWDC 2014.

One thing we do know about Mac OS X is that Apple’s had a few names for the new OS X 10.10 update circling the Web. Apple’s filed trademarks for six names, so we think Apple’s either 1) deliberating which name will follow Mavericks, or 2) Apple will choose one name and use the other five over the next five years. What are the names for which Apple has filed trademarks? (1) Yosemite, (2) Redwood, (3) Mammoth, (4) California, (5) Big Sur, and (6) Pacific. We don’t know which name Apple is leaning towards, but we’ve a feeling that Cupertino will want to follow up Mavericks with a name of a California landmark. Taking this into account, it seems that Yosemite, Redwood, Mammoth, and Big Sur are the top four choices on Apple’s list.

OSX Mavericks has proven to be a popular update, bringing on-screen notifications for important sites, improved security measures to protect your personal data, and so on. It’s likely that we may see some OSX app transformations at WWDC 2014 – so stay tuned for more details as the big announcement arrives.

And the Beat goes on: Beats Music

What will Apple do with Beats Music at WWDC? Or rather, what role will Beats play in the WWDC 2014 announcement? Some have said that Apple will formally introduce Beats Music to Apple developers, and, despite the official announcement this week, Apple may still have this in the store.

Beats Music may be given a brief time on stage to announce what Beats will do to help iOS and Mac users in the future with regard to its music subscription service. Apple purchased Beats Music this week for $3 billion, along with co-founders Jimmy Iovine and Dr. Dre (a.k.a. Andre Young), and looks to retain the Beats subscription service as it is. Apple has said that it won’t rename Beats Music, but has promised an app redesign that may reflect more of Cupertino’s aesthetic style.

As for the service, Tim Cook has already dropped the annual subscription price of Beats from $120 to $100, which may entice users even further to adopt the new Beats Music service. Android users will find this enjoyable as well, and we may just see that iTunes for Android app at some point in the future.

Conclusion

This is just a small table spread of what Apple may give us at WWDC 2014, but the details presented here can’t do full justice to the main event. To find out every little nook and cranny of Apple’s Monday announcements, you’ll have to stay tuned to Apple.com on Monday, June 2, starting at 10AM Pacific Standard Time (PST).

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