WWDC 2014 Rumour Round-Up

June is always an exciting time of year to be an Apple fan. The World Wide Developer Conference (WWDC), Apple's biggest event of the year, is on again, heralding new software and hardware announcements.  Last year, the updates to the Mac Pro, MacBook Air, Time Capsule, OSX, and iOS were announced. This year? We are almost 100% guaranteed to see new versions of iOS and OSX, iOS 8 and OSX 10.10 respectively. What else? Who knows, but as always the rumour mill is ablaze.

By Alex Choros

 

June is always an exciting time of year to be an Apple fan. The World Wide Developer Conference (WWDC), Apple's biggest event of the year, is on again, heralding new software and hardware announcements.  Last year, the updates to the Mac Pro, MacBook Air, Time Capsule, OSX, and iOS were announced. This year? We are almost 100% guaranteed to see new versions of iOS and OSX, iOS 8 and OSX 10.10 respectively. What else? Who knows, but as always the rumour mill is ablaze.

 

OSX 10.10

Code-named "Syrah", rumours suggest that OSX 10.10 is going to bring a complete visual overhaul of the operating system. Headed by Apple's senior vice president of design, Jonathan Ive, it's expected the transition will be similar to that of iOS6 to iOS7. What this likely means is we'll see the little remaining skeuomorphism in OSX stripped away, and a flatter, more minimalist interface implemented.

 

Click here for a convincing mock-up of what we could expect from the update, by designer Danny Giebe.

 

In terms of new features, reports suggest that Apple is planning to add Siri to the next version of OSX. While the friendly personal assistant has made its way from iPhone to iPad, it has yet to reach Apple's desktop operating system. OSX already has dictation integration, suggesting that a full Siri implementation isn't just wishful thinking.

 

AirDrop between iOS and OSX is another likely addition. While iPhones can easily share photos to iPads through AirDrop and vice-versa, iOS devices currently can't share files with Macs. I've found AirDrop to be a godsend, and would love to see cross-compatibility within the Apple ecosystem.

 

iOS 8

One of the biggest rumours for iOS8 is the addition of Healthbook. Healthbook is an app that will be used to collect data such as the number of steps you've taken, how many calories you've burnt, and the distance travelled. It will also apparently be able monitor hydration, blood pressure and heart rate. In turn, this has added fuel to the iWatch fire, suggesting Apple might be looking to directly compete with other fitness trackers such as those from Fitbit, Jawbone and  Nike.

 

Other rumours include the ability to run two applications at a time, in split screen, increasing iOS devices' multitasking potential; and of iOS as a smart home platform, where control of smart appliances such as Hue or LIFX bulbs would occur from one central location.

 

iMacs and MacBooks

iMac shipping times around the globe have lengthened to 3 to 5 days on Apple's Online Stores. More often than not, this is a clear indicator that Apple has slowed down production of the current line due to the release of a new model. This could be a simple as a spec upgrade, but the existing iMacs already feature Intel's latest processor on the market, which isn't due for an upgrade until later this year. It's possible we might see a lower cost iMac, or alternatively, a higher end iMac featuring a Retina display.

 

Despite the fact that Apple recently upgraded its MacBook Air line, upping specs and cutting prices, there is speculation of a MacBook Air with a Retina screen. While it may seem unlikely that Apple would release a new model of a product it updated just  month ago, stranger things have happened. This would however mean that all of Apple's portable products, from iPhone to MacBook Pro, would be equipped with the option for a Retina Display.

 

iPhone 6

While there have been many iPhone 6 rumours, suggesting a thinner form factor and larger screen, it is likely we might have to wait until September for an official announcement. However, Apple is known for the unexpected, so we might be surprised. Personally I've got my fingers crossed, as my iPhone 5 is definitely in need of an upgrade.

 

iWatch

As aforementioned, the rumours of Healthbook have certainly increased the speculation of an iWatch. Despite the speculation, the fabled smartwatch is still for the most part, a mystery. Two other facts that suggest its existence are that Apple owns the rights to the iWatch name in several countries, and that there's an Apple patent application that details a wearable computer with a flexible display that can fully wrap around the wrist to become a watch. If the enigmatic iWatch does exist, I'd expect it to be announced along the iPhone 6 at the earliest.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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