San Francisco: Apple’s annual World Wide Developer conference revealed loads of software and app innovations, but left us wondering when the eagerly awaited new iPhone 6 will be released.
On that pregnant point the best guesses now suggest a September release of two new iPhones, one with a 4.7-inch screen, as on the iPhone 5 , and a second range with a 5.5-inch screen. Both are touted to have more power, more capable cameras, and apps and electronics to take advantage of the extensive software innovations that dominated the WWDC opening session.
The big announcement for both developers and Apple customers was of two new operating systems: Mac OSX 11 for Mac desktop and notebook computers, and iOS8 putting considerably more power and capability into Apple’s mobile devices.
The new MacOSX version, twelfth in the series, has been dubbed Yosemite.
Apple CEO Tim Cook said the two new operating systems would allow close integration between the Macintosh platform and mobile devices, including allowing calls to be received on an iPhone by clicking on a toolbar icon on the Mac. For the first time all Apple devices that a user has on their Apple ID will be aware of each other, seamlessly exchanging data, images and files, and enabling access to all the user’s data stored in iCloud.
The mobile operating system also comes with HealthKit and HomeKit. HealthKit coordinates in a single application the many health monitoring apps people maintain on their iPhones and iPads to keep track of heart rate, blood pressure, nutrition, exercise and so on. HomeKit is designed to coordinate apps used to control lights, appliances and surveillance cameras.
Apple has already gained support for HealthKit from a number of major US medical institutes, among them the famous Mayo Clinic whose president, Dr John Noseworthy, said he believed “Apple’s HealthKit will revolutionise how the health industry interacts with people.”
Of HomeKit, Apple's head of software development, Craig Federighi said: “It delivers a common protocol, secure pairing and the ability to easily control individual or groups of devices throughout the house including integration with Siri, (the vocal “servant” in every iPhone and iPad).
“For example, you can tell Siri you are ‘going to bed’ and it could dim the lights, lock your doors, close the garage door and set the thermostat on your heater,” Federighi said.
Improvements have also been made to Calendar’s interface and function, linking information such as contact names and addresses to appointments. Spotlight, the MacOS internal search feature will now open apps and documents and include details of events.
Mail’s powers have also been boosted with the ability to handle mail attachments as large as 5GB, sending the data through iCloud Drive in much the same say as large files are moved through Hightail and Dropbox.
Mobile devices will gain a swipe keyboard with iOS8 and a feature called Markup, with which documents may be amended by writing a signature on the device’s touch screen and then adding it to a document.
Garry Barker attended WWDC as the guest of Apple.