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Apple held the World Wide Developers Conference (WWDC) keynote this morning and the speculated announcements of the iPhone 6, iWatch, and updated Apple TV were missing. Apple instead focused on the followup to OS X Mavericks and iOS 7. One tease to the audience was a speakerphone call to the company’s newest employee, Dr. Dre, however no mention of Beats Electronics of Beats Music was made.
OS X Yosemite took the stage first for Apple. The followup OS to Mavericks will be available for free in the fall of 2014. At first look Yosemite appeared to be just a refined Mavericks release. However, as the keynote went on, it was apparent that there was more under the hood of Yosemite and more features added to the OS or improved upon. Notifications Center was revamped to offer more customization to give users a better view of the day ahead. The Spotlight tool received a total redesign that appears to become a much better tool for searching a user’s computer, email, web and more. Both Mail and Safari received some interesting updates that could potentially sway users away from third party applications.
The major news from Apple with Yosemite was the more inclusive tie in to iOS. Users will find a new ability to answer a call to an iPhone from a Mac desktop or MacBook computer. When a user’s iPhone rings, a notification pops up on the desktop of the Mac, showing caller ID and allows the option to answer right from the desktop, even if the iPhone is in a pocket, across the room charging, or elsewhere nearby. Searches done in Contacts or on the web can give users the ability to call from the computer connected to an iPhone to the phone number selected. No need to jot the number down on a piece of paper anymore.
The anticipation was growing with near 6,000 developers in attendance as the keynote switched from Yosemite to iOS 8. Speculation going into the WWDC keynote was that Apple would reveal the new iPhone 6 and possibly the iWatch. The iPhone maker showed off a number of refinements to the newest iOS, bringing in some of the same updates to Safari and Mail that OS X Yosemite offered. One interesting addition to iOS 8 may be the ability to also answer the iPhone with the iPad in a similar way to answering in Yosemite. As the basic introduction of iOS 8 shifted to applications, no word was made on new devices.
Next up for Apple was the HealthKit app. The rumored Healthbook iOS application ended up being much more inclusive for users than anticipated. The rumors around the app were accurate leading up to the keynote, offering the collection of users vitals, daily exercise, and a tease of a digital wearable kept hope alive for a larger announcement that may come. The app went beyond the rumors with the announcement that users will have the option to share the data collected to doctors. A number of different health care providers have already signed on with HealthKit. This will give healthcare providers the ability to use patients HealthKit data to provide more precise care. Along the introduction of HealthKit, Apple revealed HomeKit that allows control the electronic devices in users home with the iPhone and iPad.
As the keynote moved into the next section, those hoping for Kobe Bryant to walk out on stage sporting a new iWatch were instead taken to a iOS application development talk. Information on new app design programs that are now available to developers led to the end of the iOS introduction and ended the WWDC keynote. No new Apple TV, no iPhone 6 and no iWatch. The keynote was directed at software only, leaving speculation open for when Apple will announce new hardware.
By Carl Auer
Observations from the WWDC Keynote