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Apple Loop: The iWatch Is Coming, Swift Is Here and WWDC 2014 Is Over

Jun 7 2014, 1:55pm CDT | by

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Apple Loop: The iWatch Is Coming, Swift Is Here and WWDC 2014 Is Over
 
 

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Apple Loop: The iWatch Is Coming, Swift Is Here and WWDC 2014 Is Over

Taking a look back at WWDC; with thoughts on the upcoming iWatch, iPhone, iPad, and iMac hardware that were not announced; the flexibility of Continuity; bringing order to the chaos of home automation and health tracking; the Beats/Lightning combination; why Apple TV is ready to bring iOS gaming to the living room; and don’t forget The Talk Show! Apple Loop is here to remind you of a few of the very many things that have happened around Apple over the last seven days.

What Did WWDC Tell Us About Apple’s Upcoming Hardware?

This week is, naturally, dominated by Apple’s WWDC, the news that came out of the developer conference in Moscone West, and the hardware that didn’t. The great thing about WWDC is that it leaves just enough breadcrumbs in June to hint at the product line up due in the Fall.

Get Your Wrist Ready For The iWatch Fitness Tracker

…starting with a wearable Apple device. Arguably the iPod Nano with a wrist-strap was one of Apple’s first wearables, but like many commentators, let’s skip over that one. Apple’s reveal of HealthKit provides a standard interface for wearables, especially fitness trackers, to work with. It also allows Apple to gather a fair amount of user data on interaction and engagement without having to look at the medical data. Any Apple wearable is going to hook into this system and with details on how the competition ins perceived by a user, Apple will be a tough competitor to work alongside.

As for the hardware, Yuichiro Kanematsu (writing for Nikkei Asian Review ), points to October for the launch of a wearable fitness tracker from Apple. Nothing mentioned at WWDC would get in the way of an October release, which would satisfy the markets , not that Apple has ever been one to follow the market suggestions.

Subtle UI Changes in iOS Will Allow Creativity To Drive The Platform Forward

Beyond the option to alter the screen size in the SDK  (and thus opening the way for an iPad Pro or large scree/phablet iPhone) Apple didn’t show much in the way of hardware for their iOS devices. The biggest change in practice is going to be through notifications and widgets, especially with the ability to answer notifications from the UI without having to open up the application. Apple showed off some basic demos on the WWDC stage, but once developers get a hold of this, their imagination will drive it forward significantly.

The biggest change in user workflow with iOS 8 and OSX Yosemite will come through Continuity . Using the iCloud service, users will be able to ‘hand-off ‘ work between all their Apple devices at the touch of an alert button. Moving draft emails from phone to desktop, power points from Mac Pros to iPads, and more. As long as you buy into Apple’s technology for every moment of your life, you’ll be able to work incredibly efficiently with all your hardware and one set of syncing data between all the devices.

Still Waiting On Bigger And Cheaper iMacs

While Mavericks has some hooks in the code for new GPU configurations on the iMac range, we weren’t shown any hardware that would use those hooks. Again, it feels like a “wait until the Fall” moment, but with more hooks found in Yosemite for 4K display support , iMac is getting ready for a refresh that at the very least, is going to come with a number of new ‘retina level’ screen sizes.

And The Beat Goes On With Some Lightning

It’s worth noting the speculation around Apple’s acquisition of Beats in the week before WWDC. Forbes contributor Gordon Kelly  notes the headphone company’s ambitions as well as Apple’s nod towards supplying digital audio through the lightning connector. While it might seem very premature to signal the death of the 3.5mm stereo headset jack on the iPhones and iPads of the world, the opportunities, the implication of improved audio and another reason to but a set of Beats headphones was on show at Moscone West.

Shall We Play A Game?

Speaking of joining up bits and pieces from WWDC and extrapolating them out to new product lines, the inclusion of the Metal API for better 3D gaming, along with controller forwarding from third-party controllers combined with iPhones, and passing these to an iPad or Mac, points to some very interesting opportunities around gaming. Could the next Apple TV be ready to take over a gamer’s room ?

Open The Garage Doors, Hal….

As well as providing a central app for the collation of health data, Apple also announced a common framework for the wide range of connected home appliances . Be it light switches, thermostats, and other controllable elements, there is a lot of fragmentation out there, and Apple hopes to unify these under a ’Made For iOS’ program for the connected home.

A Modest Proposal Called Swift

Where better than a developer’s conference to announce a new programming language. The jury will be out on Swift  for some time, but anything that gives more  options for developers and speeds up the process of coding will be welcomed by them. Swift’s developer talks about the language  and what it can offer.

It’s a subtle lock-in for developers, but it is there. If Apple can bring developers to iOS (and Mac) and stop them straying, that allows more unique experiences to be made, and they will remain in Apple’s playground.

If It’s Good, It’s Worth Talking About. There’s a A Lot Of Talk Around WWDC

Finally, it’s worth pointing out John Gruber’s “The Talk Show” and the regular live recording from WWDC. There’s a lot of in-depth chat, Apple needing, and fun times for your ears.

The annual live audience episode of America’s favorite two-star podcast, from sunny and warm San Francisco on the second day of WWDC. John Gruber will be joined by a cavalcade of special guest stars, including the ATP triumvirate — Marco Arment, Casey Liss, and John Siracusa — and hotel magnate Scott Simpson.

You can listen to it here .

Apple Loop brings you seven days worth of highlights every weekend here on Forbes. Don’t forget to follow me so you don’t miss any coverage in the future. Last week’s Apple Loop can be read here !

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